Iconic British ultra-luxury brand Aston Martin marks historic 110th anniversary.
Born on the track and inspired by its founders’ passion for racing, Aston Martin has risen from humble beginnings in a small workshop on Henniker Mews in London to become one of the world’s most renowned automotive marques, synonymous with inventive design, luxurious craftsmanship, thrilling performance and scarce exclusivity.
An icon is born
Founded in 1913 by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin as ‘Bamford & Martin Ltd’, the company has developed into an iconic brand synonymous with high performance and elegance.
1914 saw the birth of the name ‘Aston Martin’ following Martin’s successful run at the Aston Hill Climb in Buckinghamshire. Within a year the first Aston Martin had been built and registered with the name and by 1920 the business had relocated to Kensington.
Aston Martin took its first historic steps in overseas competition with two cars completing the French Grand Prix in 1922. Later that year, the team went on to break 10 world records at the Brooklands Motor Racing debut.
A competitive range of sports cars and an increasing reputation for engineering and design led to the first entry of an Aston Martin in the Le Mans 24 Hour race in 1928.
By 1929, the Aston Martin international model had evolved, setting new standards for road holding and handling. In racing colours, it helped Bertelli and Driscoll triumph in the ultimate test of endurance, winning the Biennial Cup at Le Mans in 1932.
Aston Martin won great acclaim at Le Mans, when the 1.5L model took a clean sweep of the podium places within its class at the 1933 race.
The 1950s ended with further racing success, as the DBR1 team secured the 1959 World Sportscar Championship and won the Nürburgring 1000km race, as well as the famous Le Mans 24 Hour race. Additionally, a series of four Works DBR1s won a total of six world championship races, setting five new lap records in the process.
After a break from the racing track, Aston Martin returned in the 1990s with the ‘AMR1’ coming sixth in the World Sportscar Championship.
2005 saw a landmark step with the launch of the DBR9, a race car based on the DB9 road car. In the same year the DB9 Volante and V8 Vantage were confirmed for production.
In 2006, after more than 40 years away, Aston Martin returned to compete on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where much of the early development of the V8 Vantage road car took place. The all-new Vantage N24 finished 24th overall and fourth in class. Buoyed by its success, it made its Middle East debut later the same year, finishing eighth in the inaugural Bahrain 24 hours.
In 2008, the DBR9 took GT1 class victory at the Le Mans 24 Hour race for the second consecutive year.
Four years later, Aston Martin Racing returned to top flight GT racing with its new V8 Vantage GTE and V12 Vantage GT3 cars. The team finished second in the inaugural 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship.
2017 brought victory for Aston Martin at the 85th 24 Hours of Le Mans in dramatic style, after Jonny Adam snatched the GTE Pro lead on the final lap of the iconic endurance race. Partnered by Darren Turner and Daniel Serra, the trio and their Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE performed faultlessly to ensure they remained in the hunt for victory. After trading places with his rival for much of the final stint, Adam prevailed and overtook the #63 Corvette as he crossed the finish line on the penultimate lap.
James Bond and Aston Martin
Frequently acclaimed as the most beautiful car in the world, the Aston Martin DB5 entered production in 1963. The following year, a relationship that has left an indelible mark on popular culture began, as the DB5 was chosen to be James Bond’s car of choice in the classic film ‘Goldfinger’.
In 1987 the 007 relationship continued with the V8 Volante appearing in ‘The Living Daylights’.
Aston Martin was featured in two separate James Bond films in the 1990s as the DB5 rolled back the years with a performance in ‘Goldeneye’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’.
In 2001 the V12 Vanquish was launched, a car that lead a new era of technology and appeared alongside Pierce Brosnan in ‘Die Another Day’.
The Aston Martin DBS was seen for the first time in Daniel Craig’s James Bond debut ‘Casino Royale’ in 2006. Two years later the DBS made a second James Bond appearance by featuring in ‘Quantum of Solace’.
A century of excellence
In 2013 Aston Martin celebrated its centenary with a global set of celebratory events.
An audacious centenary event took Aston Martin to the Middle East, and one of the most recognisable luxury destinations, the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai. In January 2013 the Vanquish was airlifted onto the helipad of the iconic hotel. This was the first time a car had ever been placed onto the helipad, which sits 1,000ft above the ground at the top of the sail-shaped building.
As a stunning celebration of Aston Martin’s century of sports car excellence Aston Martin revealed ‘CC100’, a concept reflecting the sporting heritage and exceptional design capability woven throughout 100 years of Aston Martin history.
Revealed to the world at the 24 hours of Nürburgring race, CC100 was piloted on its debut by Aston Martin CEIO Dr Ulrich Bez. Alongside him on this unique celebratory lap of the iconic Nordschleife was DBR1, the same car that completed the 1000km of Nürburgring in 1959, driven by the same man – Sir Stirling Moss.
The highlight of the centenary celebrations brought tens of thousands of eager owners and enthusiasts to Kensington Gardens, to witness the largest gathering of iconic British sports cars in history. As many as 550 Aston Martin models were displayed in the park, meaning the event also represented the largest single gathering of Aston Martins ever assembled.
Into a second century
To mark their 110th anniversary in 2023, Aston Martin has brought together two of the most iconic and innovative models from its 110-year bloodline, highlighting the brand’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of performance and applying engineering from Grand Prix racing to the road.
One of the brand’s oldest surviving racing cars, the record-breaking 1923 racer Razor Blade is pictured alongside the uncompromising Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar.
One of the earliest cars to be specifically designed with aerodynamics in mind, and propelled by an Aston Martin Grand Prix specification engine, the trailblazing Razor Blade took numerous class records at Brooklands in 1923, a year on from Aston Martin’s Grand Prix debut with TT1 – the car nicknamed ‘Green Pea’.
A century later, Aston Martin continues to innovate with its thrilling high-performance models, bringing modern Formula One™ engineering to the road through its era-defining Aston Martin Valkyrie.
The brand’s historic 110th anniversary is to be celebrated through the launch of a new, strictly limited, exclusive Aston Martin model, to be unveiled later in 2023. The milestone will also take centre stage at the 2023 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
2023 promises to be a monumental year, as Aston Martin prepares to unleash the first of its highly anticipated next generation of sports cars, which will further enhance Aston Martin’s focus on ultra-luxury, high-performance and driving intensity.
The 110th anniversary is one of several notable landmarks for Aston Martin in 2023, with the year also marking 75 years of the DB bloodline and 60 years of the iconic DB5 model.
In 1913 Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford came together with a shared vision of racing cars and using learnings from the racetrack to push the boundaries of automotive innovation.
110 years and little over 110,000 cars later, that spirit continues. Our 110th year promises to be just as exciting as our first, as we turn a new chapter in Aston Martin history with the launch of our next generation of sports cars and the reveal of an extraordinary special model later this year that will celebrate this unique milestone.
Amedeo Felisa, Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda.
Aston Martin London
Aston Martin London consists of two dealerships, one in the heart of Mayfair opened in 2002 on Park Lane, and another in Western Avenue. The Aston Martin London dealership in Mayfair offers new and pre-owned Aston Martin models and pride themselves on an unparalleled level of customer care and a bespoke service. To contact the Mayfair team please call 020 7235 8888.