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ASTON MARTIN IN THE NEWS AT THE CAR EXPERT
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ABOUT ASTON MARTIN
The company was founded as Bamford & Martin in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The first Aston Martin car was named after Aston Hill (near Aston Clinton) where Lionel Martin raced cars, and Martin’s surname.
Production did not commence until after the First World War, and the company went through multiple bankruptcies and changes of ownership in its early years. Bamford left the company in 1920 and Martin in 1926. The company built numerous successful racing cars before the Second World War, but only built a relatively small number of road cars.
After the Second World War, Aston Martin was bought by tractor manufacturer David Brown. Brown also purchased Lagonda and Tickford, and consolidated Aston Martin’s operations at the Tickford premises in Newport Pagnell, near Milton Keynes.
Under Brown’s ownership, the company’s best-known models, the “DB” series, were produced, starting with the DB2 and followed by the DB4, DB5, DB6 and DBS. Brown sold the company in 1972, and it passed through several owners’ hands before Ford took ownership over a period from 1987 to 1991.
Ford invested heavily in Aston Martin, along with its other European brands Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo as part of its ‘Premier Automotive Group’ portfolio. This resulted in the DB7, DB9 and Vantage models, and a massive increase in production. Prior to Ford’s ownership, Aston Martin still largely hand-built its cars in a coachbuilding fashion rather than on a modern production line. Ford established a dedicated Aston Martin engine factory within its huge European facility in Cologne, Germany,
Ford also returned Aston Martin to the racetracks in GT racing with great success, and at Le Mans in the prototype category with far less success against the might of Audi and Peugeot works programmes.
In 2007, Ford sold Aston Martin to a consortium of American and Kuwaiti investors. By 2012, Italian equity firm Investindustrial had taken a 37.5 per cent stake, and in 2013 Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) took a five per cent stake. Daimler and Aston Martin also signed a deal to use Mercedes-AMG engines and other technology in future Aston Martin models; the first example of this relationship is the DB11 which launched in 2016.