Founded over a century ago by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, Aston Martin is now a bonafide British institution.
This luxury vehicle, beloved by James Bond and royalty alike, has weathered many storms and become synonymous with British excellence.
Warranty Direct charts the evolution of the Aston Martin from its humble origins in a small London workshop to its stature today as an internationally-recognised luxury brand.
Humble beginnings (1913)
In 1913, Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford decided to start making their own vehicles after joining forces the year before to sell cars manufactured by Singer.
The idea for the Aston Martin came from a stretch of road used for racing near Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire. The decision was made to combine this with Lionel’s surname to create the brand we know and love today.
The duo unveiled their first car in March 1915 after acquiring premises in Kensington at Henniker Mews. However, production came to a standstill due to the First World War, with Martin joining the Admiralty and Bamford the Royal Army Service Corps.
Setbacks and successes (1922-1937)
Post-war, Bamford and Martin relocated to Abingdon Road, Kensington. However, this did not guarantee smooth sailing for the fledgling Aston Martin brand, with Bamford leaving the company in 1920.
In 1922, after receiving funding, vehicles were produced to compete in the French Grand Prix. These cars went on to set world speed and endurance records at Brooklands.
However, Aston Martin was hit by major financial setbacks afterwards, which led to bankruptcy in 1924. Lionel Martin also left the company two years later.
Investors took charge in late 1926 and Augustus Bertelli–an Anglo-Italian car designer–became the driving force behind the company, producing vehicles which were mostly open two-seater sports cars.
New beginnings (DB Models)
The Second World War posed a further challenge to the Aston Martin brand, with production halting yet again and the company concentrating their efforts on producing aircraft components.
In 1947 however, fortunes changed, with David Brown Ltd (a privately-owned Huddersfield gear and machine tools manufacturer) buying the company.
This ushered in a new era of cars dubbed DB, which were among the most recognisable models under the Aston Martin marque.
The first DB car was the DB2 which debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 1950. The first 49 produced, featured a chrome-framed front grille in three separate parts and large rectangular cooling vents in the front wings.
This was followed by the DB2/4 in 1953, the MKII in 1955 and the DB Mark III in 1957; the latter becoming the first car to introduce Aston Martin’s iconic front grille, as well as mechanical changes including disk brakes and an optional dual-exhaust system.
The DB Mark III also holds the unique honour of being James Bond’s first official Aston Martin, as this was the vehicle used by the character in the 1959 novel ‘Goldfinger.’C
Changing fortunes (the 1970s and beyond)
David Brown left the company in the 1970s and, while there were bright spots during the period (e.g. the launch of the popular four-door saloon known as the Lagonda in 1976), by the 1980s the company needed money to survive.
In 1987, Ford Motors bought a significant chunk of the company before acquiring full ownership in 1994.
Aston Martin would be back under British ownership in 2007 and would see renewed success with standout models including the Aston Martin Rapide; a 4-door, 4- seater high-performance sports saloon.
Recent models launched as part of Aston Martin’s ambitious ‘second-century plan’ such as the DB11 AMR highlight the brand’s continued ability to marry tradition with modern expectations of increased performance and enhanced driving dynamics.
With prices starting at an eye-watering £174, 995, Aston Martin looks set to remain the ultimate emblem of British luxury.
If your wages can’t quite stretch to an Aston Martin, rest assured that whatever the cost of your vehicle, our extended warranty service has you covered; offering added security if there’s a mechanical or electrical failure with an insured component.