Bond car firm marks 100 years in style

Iconic British car-maker Aston Martin celebrates its centenary this month in one of two major motoring milestones in 2013.

The company, which was once owned by a Huddersfield engineering firm and whose DB5 model is James Bond’s car of choice, was founded on January 15, 1913.

The anniversary will be marked by the appearance of the oldest surviving Aston Martin – an A3 – at the company’s original home in Chelsea, south-west London.

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The A3 will appear alongside the company’s new Vanquish model and a commemorative plaque will be unveiled.

Aston Martin will also be staging a number of events at its plant at Gaydon, Warwickshire, and elsewhere to celebrate the occasion.

From July 15 to 21 there will be a week-long centenary festival at Gaydon and on July 21 there will be a major event in London, featuring up to 1,000 Aston Martins.

A Bond-themed drive around England and Wales taking in some of the films’ locations will also be part of the celebrations.

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The company was founded by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin as Bamford & Martin, which later became Aston Martin, acknowledging Bamford’s success at the Aston Clinton Hillclimb in Buckinghamshire, where he had successfully raced their very first cars.

Lockwood-based David Brown acquired the company in 1947 and sold it in 1972 as Aston Martin-Lagonda following a merger.

A century of car-making will also be marked by Mini and its parent firm BMW at Cowley in Oxford this year

The focal point of the celebrations at Cowley – now known as the Oxford plant – will be on March 28, which is 100 years to the day when the first Bullnose Morris Oxford rolled off the production line.

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Famous brands manufactured there have included the Austin Healey, the Wolseley, the Riley, the Austin, the Rover and the original Mini.

Since 2000, two million of the new-wave Minis have been made at Oxford.