8 March 2013

A station wagon that James Bond could love

Despite history, the latest 'shooting brake' did not reach the reserve price at auction


If Commander Bond was a family man I suspect that MI6 boffin "Q" would have selected an Aston Martin shooting brake laden with the usual gadgets to keep the super spy and his family safe from the villains.
The nomenclature"shooting brake" sounds suitable for Bond, but in reality it's merely a highfalutin name for a station wagon, or as they call them in England, an estate car.
The Aston Martin company owner at the time, Sir David Brown, came up the idea of creating a shooting brake out of the thoroughbred sports car; he wanted a vehicle that was capable of accommodating his dogs and hunting gear. He decided to commission the coachbuilding firm of Harold Radford and Company to convert his DB5.
Radford was well-known for converting Rolls-Royce and Bentleys into wagons and for converting the popular Mini, adding luxury styling and equipment for wealthy movie and pop stars.
Radford converted a total of 12 DB5s and six DB6s; the pictured example was offered for sale at the Bonham's auction in Boca Raton last month.
This particular model left the factory in 1965 as a left-hand drive DB6 Coupe fitted with the high performance 325-horsepower Vantage engine, air conditioning, chromed wire wheels with three spinner knock offs, and finished in Good-wood green with a beige interior. It was registered and driven in England before being converted by Radford sometime in 1967 at a cost of £2,000 (the car cost £4,995), which included a colour change to aubergine.
The last Radford converted Aston Martin was the square-shaped DBS model; the factory decided to build a few models themselves which included the Virage and a wedged-shaped Lagona saloon.
Bonham's had estimated a sale price of between $575,000 and $625,000 using the sale of a DB5 shooting brake at their 2011 auction in England, which sold for $680,000, as a yard stick, but it did not reach the reserve price expected by its owner and was a no-sale.

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