In 1913 Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford founded a new car company known as Bamford & Martin. A year later, they changed the name to Aston Martin, after one of their cars performed very well on the famous Aston Hill Climb.
In 1915, the first ever Aston Martin car was registered. For the next few years the company produced only a few cars and it sent its first competition car out in 1921. World War I and its after effects, hampered Aston Martin`s progress and it even had to close its doors in 1925. However, it started up again in 1926.
Following the Great War, the next two decades were tough for Aston. It changed ownership many times and then came World War II. With the company floundering, it was saved by David Brown who bought it in 1947. Under his control, the names of all Aston Martins would now feature the initials DB. In 1949, two DB2s were entered in to Le Mans and in 1950 the DB2 went into production. 1951 was a real breakthrough year as the DB2 took first, second and third places in its class at Le Mans. In 1954, Brown moved production to Newport Pagnell.
Production of the DB4 began in 1958 and this car paved the way for some of Aston Martin`s best ever years. Aston won several races and increased their range but more importantly, James Bond drove a DB5 in the early movies. The silver car, complete with ejector seat, was an instant icon.
However, not even Bond was able to save the manufacturer when the 1970s oil crisis hit and strict new safety regulations were introduced. David Brown was forced to sell Aston Martin in 1972. In 1975 only 21 cars were produced. During the 1980s, a host of fairly uninspiring V8 Vantages and Volantes kept the company going while it changed hands a number of times. Ford bought the majority of Aston in 1987 and finally bought the whole lot in 1994.
Under the ownership of Ford, the DB7 hit the market. It was a better car than those released in the 80s but it still felt a rather half-hearted effort. However, numbers went up and 5000 DB7s had been made by 2001. In 2003, the company moved to new premises in Gaydon and announced that it was returning to racing through the DBR9. It also improved the cars it was producing for sale with the V8 Vantage and DB9. The manufacturer`s total of cars produced since its inception reached 30,000 in 2006.
Recently, Aston Martin appeared on the big screen once more with the DBS debuting as Bond`s drive in Casino Royale. Ford sold the company in 2007 and it was snapped up by two international investment houses. Since then, Aston has continued its success on the track and increased its range, including the One-77 and Cygnet models. In 2009, Aston even announced that the Lagonda brand was being resurrected after decades of slumber. These days, Aston Martins are considered to be classic, luxury cars and have a price tag to match. They are not for people concerned with the cost of repair bill or in consulting an mpg calculator. The company celebrates its 100 year anniversary in 2013.