Behold the most beautiful car to grace your screen today – this stunning Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake, a two-door wagon version of the iconic Bond car, is set to cross the auction block next Thursday, August 15, at Monterey Car Week.
While the wagon-esque rear end may look like a product of the aftermarket – and, indeed, all DB5 Shooting Brakes started out in life as regular two-door saloons – it was actually a factory-produced effort initially requested for by none other than Aston’s own David Brown.
As noted in the listing on RM Sotheby’s website, the story goes that Brown, who was an avid sportsman, couldn’t fit his polo gear or his hunting dog inside of his regular company car without causing damage to the plush leather seats, and so, at a board meeting some of his engineers were attending, he “plunked his hunting dog down on the table, and said, ‘Build me something for him to sit in.'”
And that, Brown’s team did. At what was supposedly twice the cost of an average English house at the time, a new steel roof structure was fitted from the windscreen back, a single-piece rear hatch was stuck on at the back, and inside, fold-flat rear seats were fitted to allow for up to 1130 litres of boot space.
Upon the big reveal of Brown’s new company car, enough customers were taken by its stunning new long-roofed style for Aston Martin to be tempted into having Harold Radford’s coach-building business complete another 11 of these beauties. Just four of them were left-hand drive builds for export markets, of which the one on offer here is one.
Specified as a shooting brake from new, it was delivered to a customer in picturesque Switzerland – where it spent its whole life up til this point – in December 1965, where the first owner daily-drove it for 30 years, having it repainted Cumberland Grey in the ’80s.
The second owner, who bought it from the first’s estate in 2003, had it refinished again in Grigio Quartz, replaced the DB6 taillights with the original DB5 units as David Brown had on his original model, and had the engine bored out to 4.2-litres and the original automatic transmission replaced with a five-speed manual from ZF.
Finally, the third owner, who purchased it in 2009, brought it up to its current specification, with it returned to its original shade of Silver Birch, and with the engine upgraded again by Aston specialists R.S. Williams, this time to 4.7-litres with three correct SU carburettors. Furthermore, the suspension was overhauled and upgraded, the correct 15-inch wheels were fitted, and the interior was stunningly re-trimmed down to the carpets.
As the rarest version of the DB5 to ever be produced, it’s a remarkable car to behold, as it’s likely that few will even be aware of its existence.
One very lucky – and no doubt incredibly well-heeled – bidder will take this beauty home next week, although they’ll have to be someone in attendance at Monterey Car Week as no online bids can be submitted for this true rarity.
Monterey Car Week kicks off in California this Friday, August 9, and will run until the 18th. The RM Sotheby’s auction will run from August 15-17. This Aston is lot number 108, and is expected to pull as much as US$1.4 million.