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Aston Martin and Lagonda unofficial pages.

History? Pictures? More pictures? More history? You came to the right place!
Follow the links and the exciting history of Aston and Lagonda will be revealed.
You can also look around for pictures. They are mainly post-war and have not been embedded to the history, rather featured on independent pages.
These "image-pages" include:

There are many other fine Aston pages on the Web these days. I can recommend You:
Aston Martin Picture Gallery by professional photographer Tim Cottingham
Aston Martin memories - stretching from the 1950s, including many racing shots.
Aston Martin Owners' Club in the UK.

How it all started....

The original specification of the cars made by Lionel Martin was " a quality car of good performance and appearance : a car for the discerning owner driver with fast touring in mind".

The first car produced by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin was completed in 1913 and was originally designed to be a competitor to Bugatti. It had an Isotta-Fraschini chassis and was powered by a 1400 cc Coventry Simplex engine coupled to a four - speed gearbox. This combination allowed the car a top speed of 70 mph and was manufactured by Bamford & Martin Limited of Abingdon Road, Kensington, in London.

After the 1914/18 War, the Company was refinanced by Count Zborowski and taken over completely by Lionel Martin on the retirement of Robert Bamford. The outstanding motoring competition of that time was the Aston Clintozi Hill Climb at which Lionel Martin's cars had great success - hence by combining the two names, Aston Martin was born.

In 1920 it was decided that Aston Martin should be a thoroughbred, being designed, developed, engineered and built as an individual car. It is a principle which still exists today.

During the period 1921/26 a few four-cylinder twin overhead camshaft- engined cars were raced successfully all over Europe and on 24th May 1922, an Aston Martin known affectionately as "Bunny" broke world records at Brooklands during a run of 16-1/2 hours, averaging 76.20 mph. So outstanding was this performance that the marque received international acclaim.

By 1924 the Company was offering a side valve four-cylinder sports touring model which soon gained a reputation for long life and reliability.

A.C. Bertelli took over Aston Martin in the mid twenties and with W.S. Renwick designed a new 1-1/2 litre car for production which featured an overhead camshaft engine and later, dry sump lubrication.

The famous International model had evolved by 1930 and this established new standards of roadholding and handling at that time, leading the sports car trend up to the Second World War.

Bertelli upheld a vigorous and successful competition program and in 1932 he and Driscoll won the Biennial Cup at Le Mans.

Martin and Brackenbury again won the cup in 1935 and established a 1-1/2 litre class record which was not broken until 1950.

Towards the end of 1932 the Company had passed to R.G. Sutherland and 1934 saw the Mark II from which was developed the famous Ulster model. The engine capacity was increased to 2-litres in 1936 and the 15/98 was introduced in saloon and open four-seater versions.

Early in 1939 a prototype was constructed using, for the first time on an Aston Martin model, independent front suspension and the Cotal Electric gearbox. This car, known as the Atom, never got into production before the the War and in 1945 it was decided to produce an easily serviced two-litre pushrod engined car.

In 1947 the Company was in financial difficulties and was bought by the then Mr. David Brown, Chairman of the David Brown Corporation, Gordon Sutherland and designer Glaude Hill remained on the Board and by 1948 the Two-Litre was in production in 2/4 seater drop-head form. It was decided to enter one of the two-seaters in the Spa 24-hour sports car race that year and, driven by Leslie Johnson and St John Horsfall, the car won outright.

At this time the original Lagonda Company was also acquired by the David Brown Corporation.

Both Aston and Lagonda were now producing cars with the chassis and running gear being made at Hanworth Park, Feltllam, near London Airport. The engines were being made at Farsley in Yorkshire and the coachwork was contracted to Mulliners in Birmingham. It was then that David Brown decided to buy the Tickford Company of Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire.

Lagonda 1949

The offices and factory site of the Aston Martin Lagonda Company Limited at Newport Pagnell today occupies the original site of Salmon and Sons Limited, coachmakers to the Nobility, who started business in 1820. Salmons flour- ished in the late 19th century and became famous up until the Second World War for their distinctive fabric body designs on many of the famous models of the day. After the war the Squire of Newport Pagncll, Ian Boswell, bought the Company to form Tickford Motor Bodies, who undertook to contract motor body manufacture until its acquisition by David Brown.

In 1950 it was decided to use the 2.6-litre engine on both cars. The Aston Martin DB2 was introduced in April and this was the true beginning of the famous DB series

I got an e-mail from Australia in January, 1997 which says that a one-off Aston, which was built in 1930 and called "International" and had S44 as production number is now resurrected in Melbourne, Australia.

© April 1995 - 2003.
Paul Negyesi

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