It Could Have Been a Bamford Martin: The First 50 Years of Aston Martin

Great Britain is renowned around the world as home to a number of international cultural icons. Of course, there’s the Queen, the sun never sets of the Commonwealth, and who hasn’t been to a British pub for some fish and chips.

But there is one thing that the country is known for more than perhaps anything else: as the birthplace of more iconic, enduring high luxury and performance vehicles than any other country in the world.

Think about it, can any other country boast of a luxury and performance heritage that includes the likes of Jaguar, Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin?

Part of that heritage is the rich history of each marque. From Rolls-Royce’s roots in the 19th century, to Land Rover’s emergence following World War II, the stories are as rich and vibrant as the vehicles themselves.

In this blog, we’ve at least briefly covered the histories of all the marques listed above, except one. And today we’ll fix that. Here’s a very brief timeline of the first 50 years of Aston Martin:

  • 1913 – Getting into business to sell cars Lionel Martin, a businessman, and Robert Bamford, an engineer, form Bamford & Martin.
  • 1914 – The company name is changed to Aston Martin following the decision to start making their own cars and Martin’s success in races at Aston Hill.
  • 1915 – The first Aston Martin rolls out of the shop.
  • 1920s – Beginning with the 1922 French Grand Prix, the company entered into competition and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1928. Financial problems were solved by investors and Aston Martin Motors Ltd. is formed in 1926.
  • 1930s – In addition to racing success, like capturing all the podium spots at LeMans in 1933, consumer car production hit new heights and the company started gaining a reputation for engineering excellence.
  • 1947 – David Brown buys Aston Martin for £20,500 after seeing it for sale in a classified newspaper ad. He adds Lagonda, yet another British luxury car maker in 1948, and coachbuilder Tickford in 1955.
  • 1950s – Following the introduction of the ‘DB’ (for David Brown) models in the late 1940s, the company expanded and continued its racing success with DB2s taking second and third places in the 1951 LeMans and the 1959 World Sports Car Champions for the DBR1 Racing team.
  • 1963 – With versions of the company’s DB4 enjoying success both on the road and on the track, the company launched the model that would solidify Aston Martin’s role as an icon of automotive style and performance. Here’s an excerpt from Aston Martin’s website:

    “Frequently acclaimed as the most beautiful car in the world, the Aston Martin DB5 entered production in 1963.

    The following year saw the birth of a relationship that has left an indelible mark on popular culture as the DB5 was selected as James Bond’s car of choice in the classic film ‘Goldfinger’.”

See, we told you the story was a good one. In just 50 years, Aston Martin went from being a seller of cars to being the most recognizable sports car in the world.