The Aston Martin Rapide Shooting Brake – or the Jet 2+2 as it is officially entitled – is merely a one-off design project that Bertone has created for one of its wealthier customers; a chap who likes his Aston Martins and who goes by the name of Mr Barry Weir.
However, so taken with the car are the folks at Aston Martin that, rumour has it, they are now seriously considering making a small but perfectly formed production run.
If that run is less than 10, then the cars will be made by Bertone. But if it’s more than 10, Aston will build them instead, at Gaydon, probably (not that anyone from Aston will confirm or deny any plans for such a model as it stands…).
Either way, from the moment you set eyes on the Shooting Brake Rapide, you just know that its styling is right. It looks so natural, in fact, that it’s a wonder Aston Martin didn’t come up with the idea in-house.
Putting a price on such a one-off car is hard if not impossible to do, but at a guess you’d have to think that the Aston Martin is worth at least £1.5m, possibly more.
Beneath its elegantly stretched lines the Shooting Brake is “about 70 per cent Rapide” according to its chief designer, ex-Rover man and a very proud Britain who works abroad, Adrian Griffiths.
That means, effectively, that it uses the previous generation's 470bhp V12 and the same rear wheel-drive chassis as the regular Rapide. Mechanically, in other words, it is pure Rapide.
“We basically had to take the car apart and then put most of it back together again” admits Griffiths.
“But we realised early on that we had to lift the rear haunches substantially because the whole car was sitting too low at the back. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved, the client is very happy, and so are the people at Aston Martin.”
In the flesh, the Rapide Shooting Brake looks big but also delicate, and its new tail end contains some quite extraordinarily exquisite detailing in the form of a moveable parcel shelf.
From the driver’s seat the cabin feels much more spacious and airy than the standard Rapide, even though there’s no more legroom in the rear on account of the car being not a single millimetre longer than the standard car.
As a machine in which to waft from one continent to another, four up, with plenty of luggage in tow, the Shooting Brake has few if any real rivals. Inside, it feels worth every single one of the millions of pounds that it costs.
On the road, the Aston Martin Shooting Brake feels much like the car on which it’s based, albeit with a touch less ride refinement in the rear seats, if and when you encounter a really rough road surface. Its performance is strong, the exhaust note rousing and even the steering feels crisp and direct.
To drive, it feels remarkably like the regular Rapide to be honest, which is probably the biggest compliment you could pay the people at Bertone who not only designed but built the car in the first place.
At the moment you can’t because this is the only one in the world. However, if the rumours about Aston Martin being so taken with the car are true, that situation may change in the not too distant future. In which case expect a limited production run to appear at some stage, maybe.
It’d be a shame if they didn’t make a few more because, apart from anything else, the Shooting Brake Rapide is a stunning piece of design that would, you suspect, sit very neatly at the top of Aston's range.
Bertone has already done the hard bit, after all, and now all Aston needs to do is build it.