We've all seen the Aston Martin DB5 showcased in the James Bond films. It's featured in five of the famous movies, and several other Aston Martin models join the lineup as well. But, what you may not find yourself as knowledgeable about is the Aston Martin Lagonda Limited company itself. To start, let's be clear that Aston Martin is an automaker of luxurious sports vehicles based in Britain. The company is centered in Gaydon, Warwickfire, and it derives its name from two distinct sources. One portion of the name comes from a single company founder by the name of Lionel Martin. (Robert Bramford, the other founder, is not included in the name).The other portion is derived from the speed hillclimb, Aston Hill, in Buckinghamshire. Aston Martin also engineers and designs automobiles manufactured by Austria's Magna Steyr company.
Aston Martin was formed when Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, two cycling enthusiasts from Buckinghamshire, collaborated on the idea of selling Singer automobiles. Both of these men were excellent mechanics, and Martin was an expert driver. He often raced on Aston Hill, located near Aston Clinton. In 1913, the two men decided to build their own automobiles. The first of these was designed and built by Lionel Martin using a four-cylinder engine and fitting it onto a 1908 model Isotta-Fraschini chassis. The two men bought a manufacturing location in Kennsington and managed to produce their first car in 1915; however, there were social issues to be dealt with. World War I broke out, and Martin joined a branch of the British forces. Bamford also joined the British forces, and the machinery was acquired by Sopwith Aviation Company. Following the War, Aston Martin was reestablished in Kensington and a new vehicle was designed to convey the Aston-Martin name. In 1922, the fresh company produced sports vehicles to participate in the French Grand Prix. These Aston Martins set quickness and length records. Overall, three 16-valve twin cam engined Team Cars were constructed: the 1914 chassis number, subsequently established as the Green Pea; the 1915 chassis number, subsequently established as the Razor Blade record car, and the 1916 chassis number, subsequently established as the Halford Special. From these vehicles, fifty-five cars were built and made available to the marketplace in two variations: long and short chassis.
After this success, we're sad to say that Aston Martin experienced great financial strain and went through many different owners. Aston's best years, though more "mainstream" happened when Ford bought the company in 1994 and placed it in the Premier Automotive Group. In 1995, the partnership brought seven-hundred Aston Martin vehicles into production. By 2006, Ford had decided to sell Aston Martin, and in 2007 it was picked up by Prodrive chairman David Richards. (However, the Prodrive company had no financial contribution to this venture). Richards has gotten both vehicle production Le Mans competitive racing back on track for the company. In September 2008, Aston Martin announced the revitalization of the Lagonda marque. The first "new" Aston Martin production vehicles should come in 2012. We only hope they can be as fantastic as Bond's high-performance DB5.