When we think of Aston Martin, our minds often go directly to the most famous on-screen role the car has ever played: sidekick to the international spy, James Bond.
However, there is much more trouble behind the story of this luxury brand, and a long history of ownership and financial problems that the Aston Martin struggled through to become what it is today.
The Beginning of Greatness
Aston Martin was founded in 1913 after Lionel Martin won the famous Aston Hill Race. Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin originally started as Bamford and Martin LTD, but after the race, the car was coined as the “Aston Martin” and has been called such ever since.
By 1914, the first Aston Martin had been built and registered under the new official name. The first care was a combination of a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine and a 1908 Isotta-Fraschinni chassis, a combination that immediately garnered attention from fans worldwide. However, with the First World War looming on the horizon, production stopped and Bamford and Martin both gave their time and energies to the allied war effort.
Once the war was over, the company picked back up where it had left off, until Bamford decided in 1920 that it was time for him to move on to other ventures. At that point, investor Count Louis Zborowski took interest in the company and saved it from its demise. With Zborowski’s investment, the company was thrust into the future, into advanced technological design and race winnings beyond their wildest dreams.
Over the next few years, the Aston Martin competed in the French GrandPrix, set new speed and endurance records at Brooklands and designed award winning chassis, the 1914, 1915 and 1916.
The fame got to be too much for Aston Martin and in 1924, they faced a bankruptcy that nearly put them out of business. Just a short time later, Lady Charnwood and her son John Benson took on the financial responsibilities of the company, but their efforts failed only one year later. Eventually, in 1926, Lionel Martin stepped back in and took over the company he had originally founded in 1913.
Several more investors, including Bill Renwick, Augustus Bertelli, and L Prideaux Brune kept the company afloat until the Second World War. Once the dust settled after the war, Aston Martin emerged with success that would carry them through several more decades. Ford purchased Aston Martin in the early 90’s, but eventually had to sell, just like all the previous owners. Finally, in 2007, Aston Martin was sold to the chairman of Prodrive, David Richards, and his consortium for $848 million. Since the sale of the company, production and the bottom-line for Aston Martin have only moved upward.
In the Movies and the Real World
In the 1964 blockbuster, Goldfinger, Bond is first seen behind the wheel of an Aston Martin DB5, the beginning of a 50 year on-screen relationship.
Later movies showcased the 1969 upgraded DB5 with the 6-cylinder engine, the 1987 V8 Vantage, the 2002 V12 Vanquish, the 2006 revamped DB5, and the DB9. These cars have become synonymous with luxury, mystery and action, driven by the world’s greatest spy, 007. Their popularity on screen has skyrocketed their popularity in the real world, driving their prices up and their production value through the roof.
A brand new 2013 Aston Martin will run a buyer about $200-$300,000, depending on the options and model selected. Even on the low sales years (2003 only saw the sale of 1500 cars, whereas, 2007 saw the sale of 6850), this company, after decades of struggles and multiple owners is finally balanced and staying at the forefront of their market with innovative design, competitive luxury options and the speed and technology of a winning brand.
If you are the proud owner of an Aston Martin, you know the story of struggle behind the face of luxury and you understand the triumph and pride that accompanies the ownership of one of these vehicles. Don’t let your assets be undervalued or under-protected. Securing the right type of insurance coverage for your luxury car is the most important thing you can do for yourself as an owner, and for future generations of car lovers and collectors. Luxury car insurance may be offered cheaply by some companies, but as an Aston Martin owner, you know quality when you see it. Only trust the best when it comes to protecting your car. Give Classic Auto Insurance a call today for more information about our customized plans, roadside assistance, guaranteed valuation and more. Get a free quote online today and find out what discounts we can offer you!
Call Classic Auto about our luxury car insurance options at 888-901-1338.
About the Author
Drew Yagodnik is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.