International icon and British car manufacturer Aston Martin turned 100th anniversary Tuesday, 16 January, in Chelsea’s Henniker Mews the original home of the company.
Founded on 15 January 1913, Aston Martin designs and manufactures around 3,500 exclusive sports cars at its Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire every year. “I am proud to be celebrating 100 years of heritage and the best of British craftsmanship,” said Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez. Dr Bez described Aston Martin as “the coolest luxury car brand on the planet,” an argument heightened by its connection to the James Bond film franchise, featuring in the latest blockbuster Skyfall.
The event in London marks the start of a year-long celebration with events taking place across the world, including a week-long Aston Martin festival in July where enthusiasts will be able to see how the car is made at its factory in Gaydon. “With new cars like our ultimate GT – the Vanquish – timeless new DB9 and super-exclusive V12 Zagato, we clearly have a vibrant and exciting future ahead,” said Dr Bez.
The UK’s specialist car makers, from Aston Martin to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and McLaren, are worth £2.5 billion to the UK economy, employing 10,000 staff directly and sourcing 65% of components from the British manufacturers. Over 70% of luxury cars made in the UK are exported, which led to Aston Martin being presented with the Queen’s Award for Export in 1998.
Aston Martin started life as Bamford and Martin Ltd in 1913 after its owners, producing the ‘Coal Scuttle’ car. But Lionel Martin’s successful runs at the Aston Hill climb in Buckinghamshire, the ‘Aston Martin’ name was used in 1914 and within a year the first car had been built and registered with that name.
The company was sold to a consortium of two major international investment houses in 2007.