About Aston Martin
Britain luxury sports car manufacturer Aston Martin Lagonda Limited was founded as Aston Martin in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The company derives its name from the first name of one of the founders and Aston Clinton, a village in England. Aston Martin is based in Gaydon, Warwickshire. The company is also involved in designing and engineering of cars manufactured by Austrian company Magna Steyr.
True to its stature as a sleek sports car, Aston Martin has been a constant feature of several James Bond movies and popular video games. In fact, the DB5 was the first James Bond car; Aston Martin has been seen in Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale and The Cannonball Run. The car finds a prominent role in popular video games - 007 Racing, From Russia with Love, James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire, and James Bond 007: Blood Stone, to name a few.
Lady Charnwood bought Aston Martin when it faced bankruptcy in 1924. Still, the company failed and founder Lionel Martin left it in 1926. However, Lady Charnwood tried to save the company with the help of Bill Renwick, Augustus (Bert) Bertelli and other investors. The company was subsequently renamed as Aston Martin Motors.
Renwick and Bertelli produced an overhead cam four-cylinder engine. The car known as Buzzbox still survives! In 1926, Bertelli became the technical director of the company and introduced Bertelli cars from the T-type and the popular International to the Le Mans, the MKII, Ulster and the 2-litre 15/98. Bertelli was one of the few automobile manufacturers to race his cars.
In 1932, L. Prideaux Brune funded Aston Martin when it faced a financial crisis. The company was later taken over by Sir Arthur Sutherland, and then by David Brown in 1947. Ownership of the company changed hands again in 1972 when Company Developments Ltd., chaired by William Willson, bought Aston Martin. However, the company went bankrupt soon thereafter and was bought by Peter Sprague and George Minden. After that tumultuous period, the company started making profits by 1977, leading to the launch of several new cars.
In 1981, CH Industrials and Pace Petroleum became joint 50/50 owners. The Ford Motor Company took Aston Martin into its fold in 1994. Finally, in 2007, David Richards (the current chairman of Aston Martin and Prodrive) along with some investors bought the company for £479 million. Ford however retained a USD 77 million stake in Aston Martin.
The first car introduced by Aston Martin involved a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine and the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini. From 1950 to 1958, the company introduced many cars that saw great success in racing. These included DB2, DB2/4, DB2/4 MkII, DB Mark III and DB4.
Luxury sports car Aston Martin DB5 was released in 1963. Two-door coupe Aston Martin V8 was introduced in 1969 and was in production until 1989.
William Towns designed Lagonda, a luxury four-door saloon in 1972, that was in production from 1974 to 1989. It was the first car in the world to have computer management and a digital instrument pane. V8 Vantage was launched in 1977, the convertible Volante in 1978 and William Towns-styled Bulldog in 1980. The company’s Virage range was introduced in 1988.
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