The iconic Aston Martin brand has impressively evolved from a small-scale automobile manufacturer to the luxury car company it is today. Discover how this happened by reading our brief but informative history of the Aston Martin.

A history of the Aston Martin: Everything you need to know

Since its inception over 100 years ago, Aston Martin has become an internationally admired luxury brand, producing bespoke sports cars which are recognised worldwide. It should be noted that the history of Aston Martin was not always smooth sailing though, and there have been many difficulties over the years, including two world wars, funding issues and bankruptcy – all causing major setbacks for the company. However, the efforts made to overcome these problems have proved to be worth it as the brand is now tightly linked with the James Bond movie franchise – with the Aston Martin being Bond’s vehicle of choice. Below are some interesting facts you may not know about the reputable car manufacturer:

  • Aston Martin has had many owners throughout the years
  • The first Aston Martin was named after a 1900s household item
  • The Aston Martin DB5 used in James Bond has been missing since 1997
  • The DB models stand for David Brown
  • Aston Martins have appeared in 12 out of 23 Bond films

We will expand on some of these facts in this article, so if you want to find out more about the renowned car brand that is Aston Martin, keep on reading.

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Founded in 1913 by two pioneer motoring enthusiasts, Lionel Martin and Robert Bramford, they had no idea that over a hundred years later they would have created an empire consisting of some of the most sought after luxury cars in the world. Having previously founded the Bamford and Martin Limited Company the previous year to sell cars made by Singer, the car enthusiasts decided they wanted to create their own vehicles. It took significant time for the men to decide what they should name their brand before agreeing on Aston Martin. The inspiration for the name “Aston” came from the Aston Hills where Lionel used to race while “Martin” is the surname of one of the founding fathers of the company.

In terms of branding, the iconic wings badge has been synonymous with the Aston Martin brand since 1927. Previous to this, the logo consisted of a simple merging of the letters “A” and “M” in black colour, inside a black double-line circle. However, once this was completely reformulated, Aston Martin has continued to make adjustments to the logo by designing the wings in a way which incorporates contemporary cues from each era. The logo now compromises of three colours; black, green and white. All of these colours signify qualities such as elegance, uniqueness, originality, excellence and environmental production of the company. A wing is also a traditional symbol of speed, freedom, dreams and exploring boundaries, making Aston Martin a company that reflects the services and goods they provide through their effective and sleek branding.

Early days and the impact of World War 1

The first car to be honoured with the name of Aston Martin was a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini with an added four-cylinder Coventry Simplex engine. Since the creation of their very first car, mass production was the ultimate goal for Aston Martin, but due to World War 1, these plans were forcibly postponed. Despite having created their first car and establishing a business headquarters in Kensington just two years after the company was founded, the start of WW1 meant all of the business’ machinery was sold, and both founders joined the war effort. For their contribution to the war, Martin joined the Admiralty and Bamford joined the Royal Army Service Corps.

After the war ended, it is not surprising to learn that the fledgeling enterprise found commercial life hard, which resulted in Robert Bamford leaving the company in 1920. However, this was not the end for Aston Martin as race car driver and automobile engineer, Count Louis Zborowsk, funded the company throughout the early 1920s. By 1922, one of the Aston Martin racing cars was used to compete in the French Grand Prix at Brooklands, setting world speed and endurance records, thus giving the brand credibilty and allowing it to gain in popularity.

aston martin logo

Bankruptcy and Factory Closure

Only a couple years after its debut at the Grand Prix, Aston Martin went bankrupt in 1924. This led to the company being bought by Lady Charnwood, however, in 1925, the business hit rock bottom once again, and the factory was closed. At this point, Lionel Martin left the company, making it less than a decade that both founding partners had left the organisation.

Later that year, Lady Charnwood along with her son John Benson, car designer Augustus Bertelli and Bill Renwick renamed the company Aston Martin Motors Ltd and moved it to Feltham. Renwick and Bertelli had a lot of first-hand experience and expert knowledge in the auto industry. In fact, they invented the Buzzbox (which was the only car they produced) using their own unique engine design. When they were faced with the opportunity to buy Aston Martin, they gave up plans to sell the engine to car manufacturers.

Aston Martin continued to grow and evolve until the start of World War 2 in 1939, which caused the company to stop production. During the war, it was used to build aircraft components.

Post-War changes

In 1947, two years after the war had ended, tractor manufacturer David Brown Limited bought the company. The very same year, the ccompany also bought Lagonda, which enabled it to create its DB car series. For decades after this partnership, Aston Martin was successful and produced various models. One of the most pivotal point in the Aston Martin was its newly found relationship with the James Bond franchise. The iconic duo first came into contact with each other in 1964 when Sean Connery drove the DB5 in the movie Goldfinger.

However, the success of the company took a downturn in the 1980s, when low sales forced Aston Martin to consider ending production of new cars and providing auto service and restoration services instead. Luckily, this was not the reality of the situation as petrochemical entrepreneur and car guru Victor Gauntlett bought a stake in the company. With his sales expertise, he was able to turn the company around and get things back on track.

vanquish aston martin

The modern day Aston Martin

Thanks to the expertise of Victor Gauntlett, Aston Martin soon became the fastest four-seater production car in the world. Impressively, the company was then recognised with a Royal Warrant of Appointment, which it still holds to this day, by the Prince of Wales. In 1987, Aston Martin progressed even further in the car manufacturing world when they came associated with the well-established car brand Ford. The success of Aston Martin became even more apparent when it began to dabble in motor racing over the next few decades – even launching Aston Martin Racing!

Today, Aston Martin continues to amaze us with the excellent quality cars they have to offer that are not only beautiful but extremely functional too. The company has survived financial and leadership challenges and even two world wars, so it should be admired for its resilience. Aston Martins remain a popular option for car lovers who value high performance, luxury and class. If you are one of those car lovers, why not try our supercar hire in London or luxury car hire in Luton where you can drive around in some of the most extravagant cars in the world.

You be the judge

If learning about the Aston Martin history has inspired you and made you want to test this luxury car brand for yourself, why not rent out our Aston Martin DB11. Its sleek design and impressive performance guarantee you will be travelling in style, so try it for yourself and let us know if the Aston Martin brand lives up to your expectations!