• For full details of graphics available/in preparation, see Menu -> Planners
Interactive graphic shows 1922 Green Pea race car and current line up of Aston Martin models: DB9, Vantage, Rapide, Vanquish and Cygnet.


Aston Martin centenary

By Ben Mullins

July 21, 2013 - British luxury sports car maker Aston Martin celebrates its centenary year with the V12 Vanquish S -- its most powerful model since Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin founded the marque in 1913. Centenary celebrations will peak in London’s Kensington Gardens on Sunday, July 21, with the largest display of Aston Martin cars ever.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Aston Martin dates from its first James Bond movie appearance in 1964. But the British-based luxury sports car maker celebrates its 100th birthday in July.

Aficionados with fat wallets can celebrate by acquiring the Aston Martin V-12 Vanquish Centenary edition. Appropriately, there will only be 100 centenary Vanquish models available, but there will also be 100 anniversary versions of the V8 Vantage and DB9 two-seaters and the four-seat Rapide. There are no plans for an anniversary Cygnet city car. That's the little companion car, like the dog which travels with the racehorse, bought from Toyota of Japan then given the stamp of Aston Martin, inside and out.

You can spot the Centenary Vanquish by its especially shiny paint job and solid sterling silver Aston Martin badges. Peek inside and you'll see special black leather seats with silver stitching and more solid sterling silver plaques. If you spot any of your friends with solid silver Aston Martin cufflinks, you'll know they've bought a centenary edition. Each version comes with complimentary glass keys, leather key pouches, solid silver Rollerball pen, and the cufflinks.

Aston Martin may exude typical British-style luxury, but it is now owned partly by Investment Dar of Kuwait that bought the automaker from Ford Motor Co in 2007 for $925 million. Italian private investor Investindustrial recently bought 37.5 percent for about $230 million, underpinning the product investment plan of close to $780 million over the next five years.

Aston Martin was started in London in 2013, but it took a couple of years to produce its first car. This couldn't have been much of a looker because it was known as the "Coal Scuttle". Aston Martin has always used racing to raise its profile, but since the Aston Martin DB5 was adopted as British spy James Bond's wheels in the 1964 film Goldfinger, with subsequent appearances in 11 further Bond films and video games like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit2, the advertising budget has probably been miniscule.

Aston Martin is coy when asked what new technologies it might use in the future. It has been racing a hybrid petrol/hydrogen car, and is using much carbon fibre material and aluminium in the Vanquish to increase strength and cut weight.

As for the Vanquish Centenary edition, here's what the company says:
"We knew our centenary demanded something special. Our mission was to produce the greatest Aston Martin in history, the car to lead us into our second 100 years -- a new flagship. We did it. With the most advanced engineering, the most beautiful design and the finest materials, we created the best Aston Martin ever. We created Vanquish".

The Aston Martin Vanquish certainly has the looks to take the breath away. If that doesn't get you, the mighty wail from the V-12, 5.9 litre 574hp engine as it blasts from rest to 62mph in 4.1 seconds will. No doubt the price -- £190,000 (€222,500) before tax -- will also make you go weak at the knees.

Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary
Engine – 5.9 litre V12 petrol
Power – 574hp @ 6,750rpm
Torque – 620 Nm/457-lb ft @5,500rpm
Drive – rear wheels
Gearbox – 6-speed automatic
Acceleration – 0-100km/h-62mph – 4.1 seconds
Top Speed – 295km/h-183mph
Fuel consumption – claimed combined – 19.6mpg-(14.4-l/km)
C02 – 335g/km
Emissions class – Euro V
Suspension – double wishbone/independent double wishbone
Service Intervals – 12 months/10,000 miles
Warranty – 3 year unlimited mileage
Length – 4,725mm
Width – 2,070mm
Height – 1,294mm
Wheel-base – 2,740mm
Weight – 1,739kg/3,834-lb
Boot capacity – 368 litres
Competition – Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari F12
Price £190,000 (€222,500) before tax

PUBLISHED: 19/07/2013; STORY: Neil Winton; PICTURES: Getty Images