You would think that Sir David Brown would have been content with his Aston Martin saloon, but the one-time owner of Aston Martin had a problem with the car’s design—he couldn’t fit his polo gear in it. Nor could he carry his hunting dogs in the car because they chewed on the leather seats. That’s why one day Brown came to a board meeting with some of his engineers with his hunting dog and said, “Build me something for him to sit in.”
That’s how the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake by Radford came to be.
The shooting brake was built on a DB5 chassis, but because Aston Martin was too busy building the regular DB5, Brown sought out Harold Radford to assist with building the car. Radford had just opened a new coaching building business and happily took on the project, building 12 DB5 brakes. Of those 12, only four were left-hand drive. The process of converting a DB5 into a shooting brake was an expensive one, coming out to the equivalent price of an English house at the time.
The work involved cutting away the tubular structure and extending it so that a single-piece rear hatchback could be fitted to the car. The interior held rear seats that could fold down to make room for Brown’s polo gear in the more than 40 cubic feet of payload space. According to Radford, the converted DB5 was still capable of a top speed in excess of 150 miles per hour and could brake from 100 miles per hour down to zero in just six seconds.
RM Sotheby’s currently has a listing for one of these rare, left-hand drive DB5 shooting brakes. Originally purchased by Rainer Heumann of Switzerland, the car, at Heumann’s request, also received a power-operated radio aerial, two safety belts for the front seat, a detachable headrest in the passenger front seat, and Heumann’s initials inscribed in each door. The car was sold a couple of times, and was overhauled in 2009. The listing shows the car priced at USD$1,000,000 to $1,400,000.