When it comes to motoring, nothing quite says class, performance and power like an Aston Martin.
It’s no coincidence that, throughout the years, this iconic British brand has been the ride of choice for the world’s favourite fictional agent, James Bond.
Since the company was born, the ownership of Aston Martin has exchanged hands many times, but since coming to prominence in the 1950s, its image has remained largely untarnished.
Here are a few things you may not know about the legendary sports car company.
1- Aston Martin is nearly 100 years old
The company has been around for almost 90 years. Contrary to other accounts you may read, the name Aston Martin comes from one of the founders, Lionel Martin, who got together with Robert Bamford. Martin regularly competed in racing climbs at Aston Hill and after Bamford retired from the scene, the name Aston Martin was born and a legend came into existence.
Initially, the business operated in a small West London workshop on Abingdon Road in Kensington. The very first Aston Martin, named Coal Scuttle, hit the road in 1915 and had an incredible top speed of… 70 mph.
2 – Decades pass between new models
The most successful Aston Martin model of all time is the DB7, which was in production from 1994 until 2003. Available as a convertible or a coupe, a record 7,000 were built before it was retired by its successor, the DB9. The car was designed by Scottish car designer Ian Callum, the Design Director for Jaguar, the company that provided most of the resources for the car.
Over the years, the manufacturer has developed a habit of taking its time to release new models. There was a 20-year gap between the V8 range and the arrival of the DB7.
3- Astons are back to being built in Britain
Ford was forced to sell Aston Martin after losing more than $12 billion in 2006. The consortium that bought Aston Martin back into British hands for around £479 million was led by Prodrive chairman and former accountant and professional rally driver Dave Richards, who in 1981 helped Ari Vatanen to glory in the World Rally Championship. Prodrive itself already ran the firm’s GT racing cars and has developed a tarmac rally version of the V8 Vantage.
Richards and the other investors completed the deal in March 2007. Since the takeover, Aston Martin has remained at its purpose-built factory in Gaydon in Warwickshire, which employs 1,800 people.
4- Aston has an owners’ club
The Aston Martin Owners Club (AMOC) has been going for 70 years and is open to non-owning enthusiasts with an interest in the cars. The club organises and promotes national and international Aston Martin-related events and even supplies information on secondhand Aston Martins for sale. The club also has an online member’s shop, which sells bespoke gifts online. The items available include clothing, toy cars, luggage and even cigar cutters. There are over 20 divisions of the club worldwide.
5- There is a £1 million-pound Aston
James Bond was introduced to his first Aston Martin in the 1964 film Goldfinger. Sean Connery was the lucky man who had the opportunity to drive the silver birch DB5. It was a move that proved popular with fans of the films, and the car satisfied 007’s notorious love of gadgets. The car was fitted with accessories that you wouldn’t expect to come as standard from your local dealership, such as: a smoke screen, machine guns, an ejector seat, and revolving number plates. The same car used in the film was originally sold in 1970 for £5,000 before fetching over £1m at an auction in January 2006.