Autobiographical Note: The closest I’ve ever been to driving an Aston Martin was being kicked out of an A-M showroom in Munich last summer with a Swedish friend of mine (the other Swede and the Russian were smart enough not to come in with us). This is both an entertaining story and a perfect example of classism. I want one. Badly.* Which is why I was in the showroom in the first place. Because I’ll be damned if I was going to be go my whole life without touching one.
Aston Martin was founded in 1913, the brainchild of Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. They had originally been salesmen of Singer cars, but as Martin raced cars at Aston Hill the pair decided to start making their own cars and called the company Aston Martin. They registered their first car in 1915, but because of the war, they both enlisted (Martin with the Admiralty and Bamford with the Royal Army Service Corps) and sold their machinery to Sopwith. The company was refounded after the war, Bamford left, it went bankrupt twice (in 1924 and 1925) and finally Martin left before it finally got off the ground as Aston Martin Motors Limited in 1926 with the backing of several wealthy individuals.
The first Aston Martin to enter a road race was in 1921 and in 1926, the car made its first international appearance at the French Grand Prix. It then spends the next 40 years dominating road races like Le Mans.
An interesting fact: it wasn’t until 2006 that the 30,000th Aston Martin was produced. That’s only about 330 cars/year if you go back to 1915, 375 if you go back to 1926. This includes racing cars.**
Just in case you should want to ogle the awesomeness that is the Aston Martin, and trust me, you do, their website is here. The cost and specs stuff is here. You don’t want to look at that part. The base price for the V12 Vantage is $250,000.
*I will settle for a 1968 Camaro SS convertible. It will set me back about 10 times less than an Aston Martin.