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Aston Martin

Aston Martin dates back to 1913 when Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, who were Singer dealers in London, decided to build their own car. They mounted a 1.4 litre four-cylinder Coventry Simplex engine in a chassis of their own design and called it Aston Martin.

The derivation of the name stems from Martin in Lionel Martin and the Aston Hillclimb in Hertfordshire where Martin had competed with distinction.

The intervention of World War I ensured that the first Aston Martin was not completed until 1915. The first cars offered to customers did not appear until 1923 when Count Louis Zborowski of Chitty Bang Bang fame agreed to finance the company. Aston Martin changed hands several times between the wars passing from one enthusiastic, but financially struggling, owner to another.



In 1947, Aston Martin was offered to David Brown (later Sir David) who shortly after acquiring the company also purchased Lagonda.

  In 1950 the Aston Martin DB2 powered by a Lagonda design engine was equal first in the Index of Performance and the winner of the 3.0 litre class in Le Mans 24 hours race for sports cars.

In 1959, both competition and sales success followed when the Aston Martin DBR1 won the Le Mans 24-hour race as well as the Sports Car Constructors Championship -The World Championship.

During this time a series of DB models were introduced culminating in the DB6. However in 1972, David Brown offered the company for sale. Even though the company passed through several different hands in the following 15 years, a series of new, successful products were developed including the radical wedge-shape William Towns-designed Lagonda with its advanced electronic systems.

In 1987, Ford Motor Company purchased 75 per cent of Aston Martin Lagonda and the remaining shares in July 1994. Since March 1999 Aston Martin has been a member of the Premier Automotive Group. In addition to providing financial security Ford and the Premier Automotive Group enable Aston Martin to gain access to worldwide technical, manufacturing and supply systems for the design and development of new products.

The company remains small with fewer than 600 employees and manufacturing centres at Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire and Bloxham in Oxfordshire. Manufacture of the 550 horsepower twin supercharged Vantage and the 350 horsepower Volante and V8 Coupe models is completed at Newport Pagnell while the Bloxham facility is dedicated solely to the Aston Martin DB7 and the DB7 Vantage models.

From August 2000, Dr. Ulrich Bez is to succeed Bob Dover as the Chief Executive of Aston Martin Lagonda.   

Dr Bez, who is 56 years of age, is one of the world's foremost and most innovative automotive engineers and strategists with worldwide experience of the design and manufacture of sports cars.



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