Driven: Aston Martin DB6 Shooting Brake
You can just imagine the sort of man who’d have driven this car in its day: ex-services (maybe an elite regiment, such as the Paras); a sportsman, very much tweeds and a tie; passionate about cars and engineering; and one who’d enjoyed an exciting life post-active-service, motor racing at the very top level, in Grands Prix and at Le Mans.
In short, someone like Innes Ireland. Now, funnily enough, this DB6 was run as a daily driver by that very man when new. The one who gave Team Lotus its first win in Formula One was a works driver for Aston Martin, and truly personified everyone's idea of the British Sporting Gentleman.
Driving a Ferrari or Aston GT in the Tourist Trophy, he wore slacks, a polo shirt and slip-on shoes. If the original ‘Connery Bond’ had gone motor racing, it would surely have been in the mould of the determined Scot.
Ireland had use of the car when it was owned by the factory and it later featured in an Autocar road test. It was converted by F.L.M. Panelcraft to an estate and is one of a tiny handful of DB6 shooting brakes built, having the company’s characteristic split tailgate – perfect for a shooting party or point-to-point.
As Aston shooting brakes have been in the news recently (Bonhams sold a 1971 DBS Estate, also by F.L.M., for a hammer price of £300,000 last month), I thought I’d pack the Purdeys and a gundog, and take a drive down to Kew to have a look at the Pearl Grey example, chassis DB6/3310R, currently for sale at DD Classics in South West London.
The total restoration carried out by Aston Martin Works Service is superb, the mid-grey paintwork contrasting nicely with the red hide interior. Even the headlining was replaced during the restoration and the whole car is in wonderful condition. There are several touches – such as the beautifully fabricated, chunky chrome handles and locks – that really set the car apart as the ‘most bespoke of the bespoke’.
Stylistically, it works pretty well, the flatter section of the roofline balancing the Kamm tail and spoiler. The extra window aft of the B-pillar is possibly just a little too square but, overall, it’s a handsome grand tourer in the best Aston tradition.
To Vantage specification, the engine revs very smoothly with little spit or woofle from the triple Webers. This is an engine in fine tune – the rev-counter needle really flies round the dial. And, on the brief drive through Richmond, Kew and on to the motorway, the car went very well indeed: no rattles; dials and gauges unwavering; steering-wheel true and steady as can be; and the brakes pulling the car up as you’d expect.
In short, it’s a very good DB6 indeed. Add the special coachwork, its one-of-very-few-in-the-world rarity and the Innes Ireland connection, well, you have a very special Aston Martin.
For further information, see the car in the Classic Driver database, or contact Daniel Donovan on +44(0)208 878 3355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver