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20 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Aston Martin

Aston Martin is a British car manufacturer that is associated with both luxury and speed. They are also known for their beautiful design and many people consider the cars produced by this company as true works of art. Their cars have become a British icon even though it is a global automobile brand. This company has a long history of producing cars for both motorsports and for consumers who want a car that shows their power, status, and wealth. Although this is a car brand that is well-known across the globe, there are many things that people do not know about this company. Here are 20 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about Aston Martin.

1. The Company Was Founded in 1913

Aston Martin has one of the longest histories in the British car industry as the company was founded in 1913. The founders of the company were Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The pair originally joined forces to make cars for Singer. They were based on Callow Street in London and went by the name ‘Bamford & Martin’. They then decided they would prefer to produce their own cars and bought premises at Henniker Mews in Kensington. They called their business ‘Aston Martin’. The Martin part of the name comes from one of the founders while the Aston part comes from a place. Aston Hill is a place where motorsports events took place and Lionel Martin was a keen racing driver. When they began producing cars, he would test drive them at Aston Hill. They produced their first vehicle in 1915. Unfortunately, the war prevented them from beginning production.

2. Their Second car was produced in 1919

Bamford and Martin had a long wait before they could produce their second car. They had to wait until World War I was over and then find new premises at Abingdon Road, Kensington, in the former Henniker stables. It was there that they designed their second car and production of this Aston Martin began in January 1920. Once they had produced this car, Robert Bamford decided to retire from the company.

3. Count Louis Zebrowski Died Racing for Aston Martin

Aston Martin is a company that has seen many highs and lows in its history. One of its lowest points was the tragic death of Count Louis Zebrowski. Aston Martin was making their mark in motorsports during the 1920s. They had been able to continue producing cars and entering them into motor racing events due to the financial backing of Count Louis Zebrowski. They were particularly excited to enter cars into the Le Mans race and into Grand Prix events around Europe. It was in 1924 at the Italian Grand Prix that tragedy struck. Count Louis Zebrowski was racing one of the Aston Martins in the event when he was tragically killed in a racing accident. In addition to the sad loss of life, this had financial implications for Aston Martin. Following the accident, they went bankrupt. Lady Dorothea Charnwood bought the business and put her son, John Benson, on the board.

4. Augustus Bertelli Designed the Cars Between 1926 and 1937

In 1926, Lady Charnwood, Augustus Bertelli, and Bill Renwick took control of Aston Martin. Not only was Bertelli the technical director, he was also the designer of the cars. Every car produced by Aston Martin between 1926 and 1937 was designed by this talented man. The cars produced during this era even became known as Bertelli cars. Some of the models he designed include ‘International’, ‘MKII’, ‘Ulster’, the 2-liter 15/98, ‘Speed Model’, ‘Le Mans’, and ‘T-Type’.

5. Claud Hill Designed the Aston Martin Atom

In 1939, Aston Martin released the Aston Martin Atom. This was designed by Claud Hill who was the lead engineer for the company at that time. It was a four-wheel-drive saloon car that featured advanced switching speeds by Cotal and unitary construction and transmission. Aston Martin presented this model at the 1940 London Motor Show and it causes a furor. Despite the good response, this model did not sell well. This was not due to any problems with the model; it was simply that car sales were generally down as a result of World War II.

6. David Brown Bought Aston Martin in 1947

In 1947, Aston Martin was bought by Sir David Brown for £20,500 GBP. It is believed that he made the decision to purchase this car company after driving an Aston Martin. Originally, he was a tractor manufacturer. This man is responsible for the famous DB models that were produced by Aston Martin and they took their name from his initials. The period in which Sir David Brown was at the helm of this car company were some of Aston Martin’s most successful and profitable.

7. Aston Martin’s Are Widely Associated with James Bond Films

Sports cars are often used in films of all genres in some of the most exciting scenes on screen. Wealthy characters are seen driving beautiful cars and sports cars are the cars of choice for high-speed car chases in the movies. There have been many different car brands used in films, but few are as tightly associated with one particular series of films as the Aston Martin. It is well-known that the fictional film spy James Bond drives an Aston Martin and these cars feature in most of the films in series. In some of the earlier Bond films James Bond does not drive an Aston Martin. However, it made a noticeable debut in ‘Goldfinger’ when Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 was packed full of gadgets by Q. Other films that feature an Aston Martin include ‘Skyfall’, ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’, ‘Casino Royale’, and ‘Goldeneye’.

8. They Were Not Successful at Formula One

Most large car brands try to participate in motorsports events if they can as it is an opportunity for them to showcase the speed and power of their creations. Aston Martin were no different in this respect as they had the desire to become well-known and successful on the motor racing circuit. However, things didn’t really work out as they hoped. They made their debut into Formula One in 1959 and they had high hopes of achieving great success at this event. Sadly, they failed to make their mark at this event. The reason for this was simply that their cars were not good enough.

9. The Aston DB-4 was Launched in 1959

In 1959, Aston Martin launched the DB-4. This was a real supercar of its time and received great critical acclaim within the motor industry. The car was powered by a 3.7 engine and could reach a top speed of 250 kilometers per hour. It also had a cylinder head and a block of cast R.R.50 aluminium alloy, and a double overhead cam straight-6. The DB-4 stood out from previous models and helped establish Aston Martin as a car manufacturer with a good racing pedigree.

10. There Were Several Versions of the DB Series

The DB series of cars was extremely successful and led to several different versions of this model with a range of modifications. One example of this was the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. This was a sports car version of the popular series that had a number of modifications made by the Zagato factory in Italy. Their engineers lightened and improved the performance of the car. Initially, the plan was to produce 25 of these cars in a limited-edition series. However, there were only ever 19 of this model produced. Strangely, all 19 of these cars are still in existence. The DB4 was then further developed and this led to the manufacture of the Aston Martin DB5 which was an evolution of the last car manufactured in the DB-4 series. It was the DB5 that first appeared in a James Bond movie and became famous and desirable for this reason. The car was powered by a 4-liter engine with 282 hp. Despite these modifications, Aston Martin could still not compete with Italian brands, such as Maserati and Ferrari. Therefore, they further developed their designs and created the DBS and the DBS Vantage.

11. Company Development Ltd. Bought Aston Martin in 1972

1972 was an important year in the history of Aston Martin as it was in this year that Sir David Brown decided it was time to sell the car company. The new owner was Company Development Ltd. When they took over the company, they discontinued all the classic Aston Martin DB models. There was an economic crisis at this time and the new management was struggling to cope with the situation. Despite having only just taken over Aston Martin, they seriously considered putting the company into liquidation. This was a situation that lasted for six years at the legendary British company.

12. The Aston Martin Lagonda Was Built Between 1974 and 1990

Between 1974 and 1990, Aston Martin produced the Aston Martin Lagonda. This made it one of their longest-standing models. The car had a rather distinctive wedge-shape that has now become associated with sports cars but was unique at that time. It also boasted some rather impressive engineering. Under the wedge-shaped hood, it housed a 5.3-liter V-8 engine with an impressive 390 hp. This luxury four-door saloon was also equipped with a Chrysler 3-speed ‘Torque Fleet’ automatic transmission. Overall, the car was pretty spectacular.

13. The Company Experienced Financial Problems from the mid-1970s

The 1970s was a turbulent era financially for the motor industry as a whole and it was during the mid-1970s that Aston Martin first began to feel the pressure as they were running into financial difficulties. Although they were struggling with this crisis, the British automaker still managed to produce a series of sports cars. During the 1970s, they used the Volante brand for cabriolet and the Vantage brand for their coupe models. Each of these cars was powered by a 5.3-liter V-8 engine. This gave them phenomenal power of 390 horsepower. They also equipped each of the vehicles they produced with a range of features. These included a direct injection system and an automatic gearbox that was manufactured in America. The financial problems they were experiencing continued despite producing these quality cars and finance remained an issue into the 1990s.

14. Ford Motor Company Bought Aston Martin in the Late 1980s

Throughout the history of Aston Martin, this car manufacturer has changed ownership on many occasions. While this has sometimes led the company into further financial trouble, things were different when Ford Motor Company bought Aston Martin in the late 1980s as things changed for the better. They had faced considerable financial pressure since the 1970s. Despite several changes of ownership, things hadn’t improved, and they were in constant need of additional funds. This resulted in them only producing a limited number of luxury models. All this changed when they were taken over by the Ford Motor Company. Sales increased dramatically after the take over and this turned their financial situation around. By 1995, they had gone from selling one hundred cars per year to over seven hundred. For also brought by the legendary DB designation. In 1993, the Aston Martin DB-7 was released. This was a grand tourer car with a powerful 335 horsepower V-6 engine. It received a great reception form the public and marked a new era for Aston Martin. Ford Sold Aston Martin for a reported $925 million in 2007 to a consortium of investors.

15. Aston Martin Have Avoided the Mass Production-Line Process

Most car manufacturers across the world have progressed to using production lines as a way of mass producing their cars. Aston Martin differ form other car manufacturers in this respect as they have avoided using technology as much as possible. In fact, they pride themselves on creating their cars by hand to achieve the level of quality that their customers expect from cars manufactured by Aston Martin. Small hangars are used for the assembly process and they have stayed with tradition by not installing automated assembly lines. Each component of the car is made and then assembled by hand, right down to the stitching on the interior of the cars. This makes Aston Martin unique in the motor industry and is one of the reasons why customers are attracted to this car brand. The personal touch gives a sense of quality and luxury to the finished product and makes it worthwhile paying the high price tag to become an owner of a vehicle manufactured by Aston Martin.

16. The Company Was Creative in Meeting European Emission Standards

Aston Martin was faced with a problem when the European emission standards were introduced as most of their models would not meet these standards and this would impact on their European sales. They needed to find a solution to this problem, so they got creative in their strategy to meet the standards. Rather than calculating the emissions of individual models, they decided to calculate the emissions of the entire line-up. To help reduce the overall emissions, they also decided to create the world’s first super luxury supermini. They basically took the small city car the Toyota iQ and rebadged it as the Aston Martin Sygnet. Unfortunately for Aston Martin, sales of this car did not go well as even Aston Martin fans refused to pay a high price for a car that was nothing more than a Toyota with a different badge. As a result of achieving only 143 sales, production of this car ceased.

17. The Aston Martin Logo Has Changed Many Times Over the Years

The Aston Martin logo is instantly recognizable, but the design is not necessarily what people think it is and the logo has changed many times over the years. The original version of the Aston Martin logo was introduced in 1920. This consisted of a capital A and a capital M interlocking within a circle. A variant of this logo was then introduced in 1927 and the original was dropped. The new logo featured the Aston Martin name on a pair of wings. Many people mistakenly believed that these were the wings of a bird, but that is not the case. The logo was designed by S.C.H. Davis and he was a fan of Egyptology, which was popular with the British at that time. He opted to use the wings of the scarab beetle in the iconic design. It is also believed that inspiration was taken from the Bentley logo which featured wings and that the wings represent speed. In 19467, David Brown add3ed his name to the logo but this was dropped when the company changed hands again. The present emblem has existed since 2003. It consists simply of the Aston Martin name on the iconic wings symbol. It is this symbol that people now recognize and associate with the luxury car brand.

18. Aston Martin Released a New Model for the Release of Bond Movie ‘Spectre’

As previously mentioned, Aston Martin and the James Bond series of films have a long history together. When ‘Spectre’ was released in 2015, Aston Martin released the DB9 GT Bond Edition which featured 007 sill plaques, a Spectre silver color, a rear seat divider with gun barrel embroidery and many other visual upgrades. It went on sale for $237,007 in the United States and those who bought one got aa Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra watch and a Globe-Trotter luggage case thrown into the deal. However, many potential customers were left disappointed as the car was sold out within days. The film ‘Spectre’ is the 24th in the James Bond series of films. It is based on the books of Ian Fleming with a screenplay co-written by John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade. The movie was directed by Sam Mendes and starred Daniel Craig as James Bond. Other cast members included Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Wishaw, and Naomie Harris. The movie grossed a whopping $880.7 million at the worldwide box office. Therefore, it is little wonder that the film attracted even more attention to the Aston Martin cars.

19. Most Modern Aston Martins Can Reach 200 mph

Aston Martins are well-known for their speed and it is one of the appealing features that attracts people to buy these sports cars. Most of the modern Aston Martins can achieve speeds in excess of 200 mph. In fact, the speedometers in these cars goes up to 220 mph. There is one model which is the exception to the rule. The V8 Vantage model lags behind somewhat as it can only reach a speed of 190 mph.

20. Many Celebrities Own an Aston Martin

As Aston Martins are luxury vehicles with a high price tag, it is little wonder that they are so desirable to celebrities. For many rich and famous people, the Aston Martin is the ultimate dream car as it represents their wealth, fame, and status. Some of the top names in the entertainment industry are the proud owners of an Aston Martin and they have been photographed driving their pride and joy. Some of the celebrities who have purchased an Aston Martin include Adam Carolla, David Beckham, Halle Berry, Eddie Murphy, Ben Affleck, Elle MacPherson, and Steven Spielberg.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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