The Wren 460 traces its history to the Skyshark, a modification of the earlier Robertson Skylark SRX-1, built by James Robertson, son of Robertson Aircraft Corporation founder William B. Robertson, in the late 1950s. The Skyshark incorporated a number of modifications, most notably a canard fitted with elevators in the slipstream behind the propeller. It was a technological success but too expensive to produce.
Robertson incorporated many features of the Skyshark into the Wren Aircraft Company's Wren 460. A conversion of the Cessna 180 or 182 airframe, the Wren 460 featured full-span double-slotted flaps, movable spoilers to assist the ailerons with roll control, and an optional reversible pitch propeller for shorter landing runs. Like the Skyshark, the Wren 460 also featured a set of canards immediately behind the propeller, taking advantage of the propeller's airstream and allowing the nose to pitch up even when the aircraft is motionless. The angle of the airfoil was also changed from 16 to 20 degrees, a modification that would later be incorporated in the standard 182.
The Wren 460, modified from a Cessna 182A, made its first flight in January 1963, and received FAAcertification on June 30, 1964.
Pilots praised the Wren 460 for its STOL performance. Kevin Brown of Popular Mechanics noting that it "lands like a carrier plane", but also noted that such a touchdown was "quite hard". Despite the publicity of its initial release, few were built due in part to its price, which was over twice that of a stock Cessna 182 at the time. Wren Aircraft eventually went bankrupt in 1969 after the United States military rejected its projects.
The type certificate of the Wren 460 was sold to Galen Means, and was again sold to Todd Peterson in 1977. Peterson, the owner of Advanced Lift Systems (later Peterson's Performance Plus), began production of the Wren 460 once again as the Wren 460P, this time modified from used 182 airframes of newer models as opposed to the new, early model airframes of the original. Unlike the original, the Wren 460P did not have the option of a reversible propeller as Peterson believed it offered too little benefit for its cost. By 1986, a Wren 460P cost less than a new 182 by almost $20,000.
Original conversions by Wren Aircraft Company. About 200 modified from new Cessna 180 and 182 airframes.