Aston Martin: Journey from the Coal Scuttle to the Vulcan

Bindu swetha May 15, 2019
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One of the most renowned car brands, Aston Martin, has been manufacturing luxury cars ever since 1915. The Bamford and Martin Ltd company, which was incorporated in 1913. However, earlier the company was only selling modified Singer cars. It was only later on, that the decision to build their own cars, was taken.

Coal Scuttle

The first-ever Aston Martin car was the Coal Scuttle. This 2 seater car had a 4 cylinder side valve 1389cc engine with an A1 chassis number. The car had the ability to reach 70 miles per hour. The sporty build along with powerful engine helped the car to win a gold medal in the 1919 London-Edinburgh Trail.
The car designed later on made appearances at the Junior Car Club Meeting in Brooklands and was placed second a total of three times and fourth in the final run. Due to the launch of a new model, the car was discontinued in 1928 and has registered itself in the list of vintage cars. This was the first car to be used, the Aston Martin!

DB Series

During the war years, Bamford left the company in 1920 and found funding from Count Louis Zborowski. Around 55 cars were built in two models - long chassis and short chassis. However, soon the company was bankrupt and Martin had to sell the company to Augustus Bertelli, Bill Renwick and Lady Charnwood.
The company was renamed Aston Martin Motors. However, the company continued to have financial problems and in 1947 was rescued by David Brown Limited. With this latest and Lagonda's business acquisition for the 2.6 litres, W.O. Bentley designed engine; the DB series of Aston Martin was born.
At Le Mans prototype called DB2 was planned in 1950 followed by DB2/4 in 1953, DB2/4 MkII in 1955, DB Mark III in 1957 and DB4 (3.4 L Italian-style engine) in 1958. The DB6 and DB7 series proved champions in the racing arena, taking forward the legacy of racing record. These 6 cylinder engines car, designed by Tadek Marek, were produced between 1954 to 1965.

Modern Cars

In 1974, the company's manufacturing plant was closed during the worldwide recession. In September 1975, the company resumed operations. At this time, the company was managed by Peter Sprague, George Minden, and Jeremy Turner.The V8 Vantage (1977), the convertible Volante (1978), the Bulldog (1980) were produced during this time.

The Gaunlett Era

After the successful launches, the company again faced financial issues. Thus, this time the company was taken over by Victor Gauntlett of Pace Petroleum and Tim Hearley of CH Industrials. With the new management, in 1982, Aston Martin made sales in Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. In 1982, the car was granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment by the Prince of Wales.
Continuing the racing lineage, the company was back into the racing arena in 1989. However, in 1990, the DB7 model needed engineering inputs and with Ford, already working on Volante model; took full control of Aston Martin. The Virage-variant Vantage and DB7 model was launched in 1992 and 1993.

DB7 Era

After taking control, Aston Martin was placed under the Premier Automotive Group by Ford. DB7 was planned to be manufactured at the Banbury Road factory in Bloxham. Having sold only 5,000 cars in 20 years, in the Ford era, the company built 6,000 DB7 cars; exceeding all the previous DB model production.
The DB7 model was upgraded with a V12 Vantage model in 1999. Continuing the model upgrades, the Vanquish model with a V12 engine successfully succeeded the Virage model.

New Beginnings

With the introduction of the AMV8 Vantage concept car in 2003 and the V8 engine in Vantage cars, Aston Martin was giving tough competition to other manufacturers. In 2003, the first purpose manufacturing Gaydon factory was built. In the same year, DB9 coupé was introduced as a replacement to DB7 and the convertible DB9 and DB9 Volante was introduced.

Aston Martin Racing

After having successful launches and dedicated manufacturing units, the company returned to the racing arena in 2005. Prodrive was roped in for design, development and management of DBR9 program. The DBR9 has competed in 24 Hours of Le Mans and sports car racing.

During the internal audit, Ford decided to sell Aston Martin at an auction, in August 2006.

Richard Car Era

After proposing to sell Aston Martin, Prodrive chairman David Richards purchased some stakes in the company while Ford retained their $70 million stakes in the company.

In 2008, Aston Martin announced to revive the Lagonda marque concept car in 2009. The first set of cars was slated for production in 2012.

The Vulcan

At the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the two-seater Aston Martin Vulcan was launched. Taking inspiration from DB9, Vantage and One-77, Marek Reichman designed the Vulcan. Priced at $2.3 million, 24 cars were produced between 2015-2016. The RML group made certain changes to the Vulcan and made it road-legal, making it the only Vulcan that can be driven on road.
Though the company was managed by different owners at different times, the quality of the car and the brand image was also maintained. Aston Martin continues to be one of the most luxurious car brands, making it a 'dream car' for most of us!