Aston Martin, the heritage and tradition of British Classic cars
Aston Martin is an icon and much more, not only for classic cars. Ian Fleming’s 007 movies made the brand (and British gentlemen style) famous all over the world. It was never a better time to show off about British engineering capabilities than the Cold War. The cars had it all: performance, design and a worldwide appearance on cinemas and television.
Loads of people can recognise the DB5 very quickly (Thanks to James Bond movies again) but Aston Martin Limited produced a lot of models before and after that one. I do challenge as well how many readers know why the models are named with the letters DB.
Along the car history we find very well know petrol head people with a vision, enough technical knowledge and endurance to change the way things were getting done until then. They wrote new pages on the automotive industry, some of them are know by many of us, like Enzo Ferrari, Ettore Bugatti, Ferdinand Porsche … but there are some forgotten ones, like Mr Bruno Sacco or Sir David Brown.
David Brown, the unknown person behind DB models
Mr David Brown was born 1904 in Yorkshire and by 1931 he took over the family business, the "David Brown Gear Company Ltd", in the mid 30s he started a new company with Harry Fergusson, building tractors together. Due to some disagreements in the design they decided to split and David Brown started building his own tractors. He built the David Brown VAK1, which was a successful vehicle and made Mr Brown a wealthy man.
It was from 1947 though when Mr. Brown started acquiring 3 important UK car makers: Aston Martin for 20,500GBP, the following year Lagonda for 52,500GBP and Tickford in 1955 for an undisclosed amount.
Since this acquisition, the legendary Aston Martin models DB2, DB3, DB4, DB5,DB6 and DBS were all named using his initials.
He sold Aston Martin in the 70's after the company got in financial difficulties.
Mr. Brown was also a qualified pilot, racing cars and motorcycles, he died 1993 in Monte Carlo.
As we have already mentioned, the letters DB used to name some Aston Martin models come from Sir David Brown initials. In my eyes all the classic DB models were very beautiful cars, but other models like the Sports 1937, MK II or International were also amazing at their time.
If I had to pick one car from all the ones they produced, I’d go for the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato (designed by Zagato and Spada) in British racing green (of course) where only 20 of them were made due to the lack of demand.
The Company has suffered a lot of financial troubles in the last decades (after Sir David Brown left the company particularly) but the heritage and glory remains there.
Aston Martin first premises produced planes for WWI
Not a lot of people know the founders bought some premises in Kensington to start producing their own cars in 1915, but due to the outbreak of WWI they had to leave and fight, so they had to sell the machinery to a British company producing planes for the army, so technically the first artefacts those machines produced were planes! The first Aston Martin Ltd cars where built in 1922 to drive the French Grand Prix but they couldn't finish the race.
As you might have noticed with all the information available on our website, we are quite fans of Aston Martin. We have written about Mr David Brown buying the company in our blog, but we also tried to have as many craftsmen for the brand as possible on our Find the expert section, we have spoken about James Bond cars, etc. Here goes another unique story of this unique British automaker and an almost unique car.
Franco Scaglione (1916-1993) was the head of design at Carrozzeria Bertone. In 1954 Aston Martin asked Bertone to build a special car. The DB2/4 Spider was the outcome. Only three Bertone Spiders were made at the time. Two of these were prepared with minimal interiors as if they were prepared for racing. It certainly mixes pretty well the Italian design with the british taste.
What Aston Martin is your favourite?