British car manufacturer Aston Martin marked its 100th anniversary in Chelsea’s Henniker Mews yesterday, 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.
10 things you may not know about Aston Martin:
1. There have been 10 different versions of the iconic Aston Martin badge. The current version was introduced in 2003
2. The Aston Martin wings badge has its origins in ancient Egypt – derived from the open wings of the scarab beetle
3. In 100 years Aston Martin has produced just over 60,000 sports cars
4. It is accurately estimated that more than 90% of all Aston Martins built are still in existence
5. Aston Martin has manufactured cars from seven locations in the past 100 years
6. Aston Martin’s global HQ at Gaydon, the company’s first purpose-built home, celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2013
7. The Aston Martin Owners Club was founded in 1935 at The Grafton Hotel, London
8. The now sold-out One-77 hypercar is Aston Martin’s most exclusive, powerful and expensive production model to date
9. It took 2,700 man hours to produce each One-77
10. The painting process for the current Aston Martin range takes between 50 and 70 hours per car