- Written by webmin
If there’s anyone at Hemmings who doesn’t dig wagons, they haven’t had the courage to speak up about it. Wagons bring almost the same performance as a sedan version, but were almost always produced in much lower numbers. There were innumerable clever packaging solutions in the back, like jumpseats, two-way doors, sliding cargo trays and more. And of course, there’s always the obvious utility of a vehicle that handles like a car but can swallow weeks of luggage without impinging on the seating area.
You might think the utility is less obvious when it’s a two-door wagon (shooting brake), one of 12 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantages custom-bodied by Radford at a cost of around £7,000 (about $19,500, or one Ferrari 400 Superamerica, plus tax). But after an initial stint with the St. Brides Hotel in Wales, where it presumably functioned as an actual station wagon, it made its way to Aston enthusiast Denis Roy Smith in 1972, who, with a young son, needed a family vehicle. But Radford Shooting Brakes hold their value, and Smith needed a loan to secure it. No problem said the bank, who gave him a second mortgage, “because of its obvious utility and the need for a family vehicle.”
Smith owned it until his death in 1995, installing a five-speed ZF transmission in place of the original automatic, “much to his wife’s disgust.” His son took charge after that, until he offered it at Bonhams’ Aston Martin sale on May 21, where it just about doubled the high estimate when it sold for £430,500 ($704,4oo, which is now-hah! Slightly less than a 400 Superamerica). Smith Jr. had kept it in storage for many years before having it reconditioned for the auction, where it dazzled all who saw it with its original paint, interior and engine, and 58,000 immaculately documented miles. According to Bonhams, young Smith said, “She now needs a good home and, more than that, a new life.” I dearly hope there’s a family out there somewhere with the panache and guts to take a new generation of kids to school in high style.