ASTON Martin cars today enjoy an enviable reputation for quality, performance, style and engineering - which puts them at the very pinnacle of the automotive world.
For nearly 90 years the company has been shaped by many different owners, all sharing a common passion for power and performance. But the marque's modern ethos has remained constant since it was instilled at the very beginning of the Aston Martin story. Lionel Martin, an early enthusiast of motor racing, set the scene when he laid out his vision for:
" A quality car of good performance and appearance: a car for the discerning owner driver with fast touring in mind, designed, developed, engineered and built as an individual."
Martin turned his passion into a business in 1913, when he joined forces with Robert Bamford to sell Singer cars - adapting them for the tough up-hill challenges that formed an important part of early motorsport. The partners wanted to manufacture cars of their own - and a name was needed. Martin regularly competed in climbs at Aston Hill - and with the simple combination of a hill and a driver, the Aston Martin legend was born.In 1914 Bamford & Martin Limited bought premises in Chelsea, London - and the following March, the very first Aston Martin car was registered. Fitted with a Coventry Simplex side-valve engine, built to his own specification, it became known as 'Coal Scuttle'. By 1920 the company was operating from Abingdon Road in Kensington - and motoring pioneer Count Zborowski dug deep into his pockets to fund the construction of two Aston Martin racing cars, which competed in the 1922 French Grand Prix. Now the marque rapidly established its racing credentials. On May 24 that year, an Aston Martin known as 'Bunny' broke ten world records at Brooklands, clocking an average speed of 76.04mph during a sixteen and a half hour run.
Lionel Martin left the company in 1925, by which time the Charnwood family had a major holding. In 1926 Lord Charnwood joined forces with Augustus Cesare Bertelli and William Somerville Renwick to form Aston Martin Motors at new premises in Victoria Road, Feltham, Middlesex. By 1929 the Aston Martin International model had evolved, establishing new standards for roadholding and handling. In racing guise it helped Bertelli sustain a successful competition programme - and in 1932 he and Pat Driscoll won the Biennial Cup in the Le Mans 24 hours race.Towards the end of that year the Company passed into the hands of Sir Arthur Sutherland and was managed by his son, Gordon.