Aston Martin is one of the most evocative names in motoring. Its long-term association with James Bond is no coincidence - strength, sophistication and charisma define both car and character.
Celebrating 100 Years of Aston Martin
Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato (1960)
The very first Zagato Aston Martin, started a near 50 year association between the two companies. It was shorter and 300 lb lighter than the standard car, thanks to its "superleggera" (superlight) aluminium bodywork. Only 20 of the extremely expensive DB4 GT's were made, but they turned into phenomenal investments - an original car is now worth over £1 million.
Aston Martin DBS/V8 (1967 - 1989)
This was the longest-lived Aston Martin of all time, lasting over 20 years. This was partly due to the fact that it was an all-new design intended to be a quantum leap over the outgoing DB6. It featured new all-independent suspension and a brand-new 5.3 litre V8 -although the engine was ready later than the rest of the car, so early versions were only available with the 4.0 engine from the DB6. The longevity of the design was also partly down to a happy accident, however. The body jigs were six inches wider than originally intended, making the car enormously wide by the standards of the 1960s. However, as cars got bigger over the years, the V8 still looked modern, while other 1960s designs started to look narrow and spindly.
Aston Martin DB7 (1993 - 2003)
This is the car which heralded the triumphant re-emergence of Aston Martin after the difficulties of the 1989 - 1992 recession. The beautiful DB7 rapidly became the best-selling Aston Martin ever - indeed it sold more than every previous model combined. Buyers were seduced by both the looks and the fact that it was far easier to drive than any previous model. However, any thoughts that Aston Martins were going soft were dispelled by the arrival of the V12 DB7 Vantage with 420 bhp.
Aston Martin DBR1 (1956 - 1959)
The origin of the modern Aston Martin legend. Although the company dates back to before the war, it was relatively obscure until the DBR1 won both Le Mans and the World Sports Car Championship. It beat off the mighty Ferrari, a remarkable achievement for a company with such tiny resources. The championship was finally won by a piece of the most amazing sportsmanship, unthinkable today. A factory Aston Martin DBR 1 caught fire in the pits during the final race, meaning Aston Martin could no longer use their own pits for refueling. A privately entered Aston Martin then withdrew from the race, enabling the official team to use the private team's pit and go on to victory.
Aston Martin DB5 (1963 - 1965)
The DB5 was the real star of Goldfinger, complete with its ejector seat - and proved such an icon that it has made cameo appearances in three other Bond films: Thunderball, GoldenEye and Casino Royale. The DB5 is probably the most sought-after of the standard DB cars, being more refined than the DB5, but more delicate than the later DB6. 'DB' incidentally, stands for David Brown, the industrialist who owned the company from 1947 to 1972.