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Associated with James Bond in his film Goldfinger, Aston Martin is a luxury brand of sports cars. The company was founded by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford in 1913 and expanded into a well-known name as a British icon. However, this manufacturer has dealerships in 53 countries, making it a global brand.
The Early Days of Aston Martin
Martin and Bamford had already worked together with their own company selling cars made by another manufacturer. Martin also raced cars when the duo decided to join forces to build their own vehicles. The first model to bear the name had a 1908 Isotta Fraschini chassis and a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine.
By 1922, the team was producing vehicles to compete in the French Grand Prix; however, the company went bankrupt in two years and was purchased by Dorothea, Lady Chamwood. Financial challenges continued to plague the manufacturer, Bamford and Martin left, and the company was renamed Aston Martin Motors.
New investors, Bill Renwick and Augustus Bertelli, developed a four-cylinder engine with an overhead-cam. They placed it into a production vehicle, later known as Buzzbox, which still exists today. They decided to use the engine to develop a brand-new car and began production on what would be known as Bertelli cars. Most of these were two-seater sports cars along with a few four-seaters and saloons.
Bertelli raced some of these cars, one of the few owners and manufacturers would also be a driver. The models fared quite well in motor racing, including at the popular Le Mans. Unfortunately, financial problems continued to hamper the company, which was sold multiple times.
Rescued Again for Racing
David Brown Limited purchased Aston Martin and began building the classic DB series. This series helped the company develop a solid reputation in the racing world. Financial struggles didn’t end though, and the company was once again bought out to be rescued.
In the late 1970s, several more modern cars were developed, such as the V8 Vantage in 1977. Just nine years later, Aston Martin reconnected with James Bond in The Living Daylights with a Vantage. Ford of Europe took a shareholding in 1987, leading Aston Martin back into the racing world. The DB7 was announced in 1992. It would become the best-selling model with a production of more vehicles than all others in the DB series with 6000 by 2002.
Vantage models would also turn heads with a V8 engine, which would allow the car to compete in larger markets. In 2005, Aston Martin Racing developed as a new division, allowing Aston Martin to compete in races, including the 24 hours of Le Mans.
In 2007, Ford needed to sell Aston Martin, which was purchased by a group of investors. The manufacturer partnered with Daimler AG in 2013, putting Mercedes-AMG engines in the Aston Martin cars. A new plant was opened in 2018 with the first SUV under the brand being produced as the DBX.
Aston Martin Today
Even as Aston Martin continues to make changes to key players and include new investors, the company is still manufacturing luxury vehicles. Currently, the DBX is a luxury sports utility vehicle while the Vantage is a two-door sports coupe. The DB11 is another sports car with a low profile and the traditional Aston Martin signature style. Fans of the convertible will appreciate the DBS Superleggera while the Aston Martin Valkyrie is sure to turn heads with its unique futuristic look. This model is the first hypercar from Aston Martin, powered by a 6.5L V12. With a carbon fiber build, this car will make you feel like you’re flying.
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