Drool-Worthy 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake Heads to Auction
Legend goes, the Shooting Brake was originally created to fit David Brown’s (DB) sporting equipment and hunting dog “Candy.”
The DB5 is arguably one of the most iconic cars ever built by Aston Martin—and perhaps even responsible for introducing the luxury British automaker to America thanks to James Bond films. But before the car's importance had been inked in history books, Aston Martin commissioned a dozen examples of its rare DB5 Shooting Brake, one of which is being sent to auction next month.
As the legend goes, the man whom Aston Martin named the "DB" series of cars after—David Brown—became frustrated with his own company-issued DB5. As an avid hunter and polo player, Brown often found himself aggravated at the lack of space in the roadster. His polo mallets didn't fit perfectly, and his seats were showing the signature mark of his hunting dog's teeth.
Brown one day entered a board meeting with his hunting dog, Candy, by his side. He summoned the dog onto the table and turned to his engineers to mutter the words that ushered the creation of the DB5 shooting brake. "Build me something for him to sit in," Brown allegedly said.
Aston Martin, which was busy with the demand of the road-going DB5, ultimately outsourced the creation to Harold Radford, a man who had opened his own bespoke coachbuilding firm to build and customize luxury cars. Radford built a total of just 12 total examples of the shooting brake conversion, a process that was seemingly limited due to it costing nearly twice as much as a typical English house.
Aston aficionados believe that all of the cars built by Radford have survived to this day; and even so, because of its bespoke nature, the Radford shooting brake is the rarest DB5 variant ever built. Now, one particular chassis is being offered at auction by RM Sotheby's next month in Monterey, California.
This particular example was originally owned by Rainer Heumann since purchased in 1965; one of the eight left-hand-drive models commissioned by Aston. It included several optional features, including front seat belts, detachable headrests, a power antenna, and the inscription of his initials on each door.
Heumann daily-drove the Aston for 30 years until his unexpected passing in 1996. The car was sold from his estate in 2001 and ultimately purchased by its second owner in 2003. The car's already repainted Cumberland Gray coating was exchanged for its current Grigio Quartz finish, and several key points of the vehicle returned to stock. However, the new owner opted to set purity aside and also perform some upgrades. An Aston Engineering 4.2-liter engine was swapped in place of the factory 4.0-liter, and its automatic transmission replaced with a ZF-branded 5-speed row-your-own gearbox.
Six years later, the car was sold once again, this time to its current owner who also happened to be an Aston Martin enthusiast. He sought out the help of famous heritage specialist, R.S. Williams, to once again overhaul the car, this time replacing the engine with an upgraded 4.7-liter power plant. The car was then repainted its original shade of Silver Birch and its interior re-trimmed with dark blue carpets. Period correct 15-inch wheels were fitted to the car, and a complete suspension overhaul with R.S. Williams parts was completed.
RM Sotheby's expects the DB5 shooting brake to fetch as much as $1.4 million dollars when it appears on the auction block in mid-August.