About Aston Martins and their Heritage and History back to Homepage

‘Bamford Martin’ would be the badge you read today, had a certain path of history not taken its turn. The company which started on 15th January 1913 was called Bamford & Martin, after its two founders; Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin. However, not long after they founded the company, Bamford and Martin decided that the new venture would be christened ‘Aston Martin’; after Lionel Martin had been successful on the Aston Clinton hillclimb. And so a legend was born.

In 1931, an early Aston Martin was driven at Brooklands, averaging a speed of 76mph and breaking no less than ten world records in just 16.5 hours. In the same year, Aston Martin competed in the famous French Le Mans race, and so the marque became a household name in the UK. Despite this, they went into receivership, with Martin walking out for good. He returned to working with bicycles and, tragically, was killed in a biking accident in 1945.

The company went through a few twists and turns through the years, and, in February 1947, David Brown purchased the company name and its few assets. The ‘DB’ models were introduced, and as the years went on, the DB2 to DB6 were produced under David Brown’s ownership.

By 1972, Aston Martin was some half a million pounds in debt. Brown sold the car company for just £100 to a consortium of Midlands-based businessmen called Company Developments. The new chairman, William Wilson, reduced costs wherever he could and dropped the ‘DB’ model designations. Instead, the updated cars were called Aston Martin Vantage and Aston Martin V8s. These were heavily – and expensively – updated to enable them to be sold in the US market. Despite this, the company again went into liquidation.

1980 saw Aston Martin change hands once again. There were new investors; Tim Hearley and Victor Gauntlett. In 1987, Victor Gauntlett found himself chatting to Walter Hayes, Vice President of Ford Europe, and by September of that year, Ford had bought a 75 percent stake in Aston Martin.

With Ford’s backing it was possible to retire the now 20-year-old V8 cars, which were really starting to show their age. By 1993, Ford had bought the remaining 25 percent of the company, so it now had a 100 percent stake. The DB7 was then created, being very well received by the majority. It broke Aston Martin records – by 2002, a total of 6000 DB7s had been built. By comparison, in 1993, just 46 Aston Martins had been built all year.

The DB7 opened up a whole new market of buyers to Aston Martin – people who wanted a more accessible car that was easy to live with on a day-to-day basis. The new standards of Aston Martin had been set, and the same company ethos had allowed it to be very successful to date, introducing many more recent models including the Vanquish, V8 Vantage and DB9.

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