Is This Aston Martin DB6 Wagon the Greatest Shooting Brake of All Time?
When a racing great needed to move stuff, fast, he built this.
Big wagons were never particularly popular in England, as towns were small and long-distance travel never really became a national pastime. What they did have was a long tradition of building two-door shooting brakes that, as the car of choice for picking up people and luggage from the train station, were the British equivalent of a Chevy Suburban. They also have a wonderful tradition of taking luxury and high-performance sedans and coupes that didn't offer a shooting brake version, and then building a few anyway.
Racing great Innes Ireland (who famously once beat Stirling Moss twice in one day) had the resources and the desire to own a fast, very luxurious car capable of moving four people and considerable luggage at high speeds and over long distances. Ireland had bought an Aston-Martin DB6 in 1967, the Aston already being a somewhat larger car with a back seat (not to mention a 282 hp, 4.0-liter DOHC straight-six with a five-speed). When the occasion for a shooting brake arose he took his two-year-old car to FLM Panelcraft in London, who reached into the future for the greenhouse of a Toyota Camry Wagon and smoothed it into the Aston front end and Kamm tail.
Ireland's daily driver was one of only two or possibly three built by Panelcraft, known for higher quality work than competitors such as Radford. In The Autocar Ireland reported: "The ample boot was full to capacity with luggage for three people, and for the first time on a long trip, I was able to have an opinion on the rear seat comfort. In spite of the fact I had the Selectaride [adjustable dampers] on the maximum and our cruising speed from Antwerp to Eupen was 120 mph, complete comfort prevailed."
Aston Martin Works restored the car a few years ago, and it's been bouncing from dealer to dealer ever since, including not selling at an RM auction in 2012. It's turned up again at Cars International, about 45 miles west of London with no price, but $500,000 would probably suffice. It may be a reverse mullet—party in the front, business in the back—of a car, but it's impeccably restored and still crazy fast. You'd have to get into an Audi RS6 Avant or AMG G63 Estate to beat it, and none of those will likely have been helmed by such a legendary 'shoe. There isn't another wagon in the world like it.