In current ownership since 1972 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Shooting Brake Coachwork by Harold Radford Registration no. KUK 500D Chassis no. DB5/2047/R Engine no. 400/2918V
The car offered here is one of only 12 DB5 sports saloons converted into shooting brakes by coachbuilder Harold Radford and thus an example of the rarest of all DB5 variants. Eight were right-hand drive and four left-hand drive, and all 12 survive.
In 1965 a new Aston Martin DB5 cost £4,412 (plus an extra £190 if the optional Vantage engine was ordered) to which the shooting brake conversion added a further £2,000-plus. Thus this car's total delivered cost was approximately £7,000 at a time when the average price of a house in the UK was £3,600!
Chassis number '2047/R' was manufactured during 1965 as a saloon finished in light green (California Sage) and fitted with engine number '400/2012' prior to delivery as a finished car to Harold Radford for the factory-commissioned shooting brake conversion. The car was refinished in Caribbean Pearl with red Connolly leather interior and returned to the factory for the fitting of a DB6 Vantage engine, number '400/2918V'. On 19th July 1966 it was registered as a DB5 Vantage Estate to Cyril Williams (Motors) Ltd of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire and then in August of that same year was sold to the St Brides Hotel in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, whose owner was one Charles Cooper.
In August 1968 the Aston was back at Cyril Williams and the following November was registered to C J P Lindon of Kensington, London W8 (owner a Mr McGill). It is believed that the next known owner, a Mr Phipps of Surbiton, Surrey acquired the car around December 1971, by which time it had been re-sprayed Goodwood Green by Works Service following a crash repair.
In June 1972 (at 30,060 miles) 'KUK 500D' was acquired by Denis Roy Smith of Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, the current vendor's father. From 1974 onwards the car was not used for everyday transport due to Roy Smith having a company car, and later an Aston Martin V8. From this date, 'KUK 500D' was continuously garaged and never used in the rain.
Roy Smith had a passion for Astons, and had owned them continuously since 1958 starting with an ex-Le Mans DB2, a DB2/4 MkI, a DB MkIII, an ex-David Brown DB5 and subsequently an AM V8. The DB5 shooting brake was purchased with an extra mortgage on the house, because of its obvious utility and the need for a family vehicle.
Roy Smith was a meticulous record keeper and, as can be seen from the accompanying (copy) detailed mileage record, the DB5's use declined significantly following the company car's acquisition. From then onwards it was used only for high days and holidays. Roy Smith took great delight in tinkering with the Aston and noted every detail of its care. He was a silversmith and industrial designer by training, and every job he did was planned and executed with careful thought and attention to detail. The Smith family enjoyed many annual family holidays in Devon with the DB5, and it would attend many AMOC concours events during the summer months.
Roy Smith's last and long-planned improvement to the car was the fitting of a ZF five-speed manual gearbox, which replaced the original automatic transmission, much to his wife's disgust! The vendor and his father completed the job together but, sadly, Roy passed away in June 1995 having had little opportunity to enjoy all the hard work. Nevertheless, in the few miles that he completed he was pleased that the conversion had dramatically changed the car's performance for the better. Fewer than 1,000 miles have been covered since this costly conversion in December 1992. In June 1995 (at 58,514 miles) 'KUK 500D' was registered in the vendor's name and placed in garage storage.
It is now rare to find a DB5 like this one, which (gearbox change apart) is in totally original condition and unrestored, possessing the unmistakable patina of such vehicles. The leather and carpets are all original and the paintwork, though in need of freshening, is the same cellulose finish that was applied in 1971. The car has led a very sheltered life while in the Smith family's care, having covered only 58,000 genuine miles, and has been meticulously maintained with constant servicing and a 50/50 Bluecol antifreeze mix in the cooling system.
There are meticulous service records and bills on file, the original old-style logbook, copies of Roy Smith's detailed records and MoTs stretching back to the beginning of his ownership, when the car was only six years old. The recent gearbox conversion has its own file, which includes photographs of the work and a record of the hours taken. This conversion, together with the originality, continuous ownership and factory-fitted Vantage engine, makes this car exceptionally desirable. For the past 39 years the vendor has been intimately involved with the DB5, which is of immeasurable importance to the family. Selling it has been a very difficult decision.
'KUK 500D' was carefully re-commissioned and MoT'd in March 2011 by Forge Garage, Sevenoaks, with all fluids replaced and careful attention to oil pressure prior to starting. We are advised that the car suffered in storage only from 'gummy' fuel and literally sailed through its MoT test. The garage concerned remarked on its overall excellent condition, in keeping with a vehicle of such limited mileage, and for the past two months the vendor has enjoyed gently driving the Aston with total confidence in its mechanical reliability. Offered with the aforementioned extensive records, bills, current road fund licence, MoT to March 2012 and Swansea V5 document, 'KUK 500D' represents a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire one of the rarest of post-war Aston Martins and the only 'Vantage' Shooting Brake produced.
This DB5 stems from an era when cars would often be regarded as part of the family and not just 'white goods' as many are now. In the vendor's own words: 'She now needs a good home and, more than that, a new life.'