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100 years of Aston Martin

By raccars Published

Aston Martin is celebrating its centenary year with a programme of unique events, set to include three motoring tours around Britain's countryside. The opening spectacular to mark the company's milestone was the rather showy elevation of the brand's new Vanquish, on a platform hanging under a helicopter, onto Dubai's Burj Al Arab hotel's helipad.

Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford formed the Bamford & Martin motor company in January 1913. After Lionel Martin's triumphant entry into the Aston Clinton Hillclimb competition in Buckinghamshire, in one the firm's cars, the company changed its name to Aston Martin. Having started off in Chelsea's Henniker Mews, the brand has remained resolutely British and now operates from a plant in Gaydon, Warwickshire. Aside from the earlier Dubai stunt, the remaining centenary celebrations are focused much closer to home.

The high point of the festivities will be in July on the week of 15th-21st, dates dedicated to a celebration of all things Aston Martin. The Gaydon headquarters will be thrown open to the public, with a programme of manufacturing plant visits, exhibitions and design tutorials. A traditional birthday party on the Saturday of that week will see the culmination of the festivities the following day, with a display of 100 Aston Martin models in chronological order in Kensington Gardens, London. This showing is organised by the Aston Martin Owners' Club and the Aston Martin Heritage Trust. Up to 1,000 Aston Martins are expected to attend the event in total, making it a must see for fans of the brand or motoring enthusiasts in general.

Aston Martin lovers who can only dream of owning their own example will be pleased by the organisation of a series of centenary drives this year. One of the tours will celebrate Aston Martin's alliance with that other British cultural icon, James Bond, by taking the convoy through Luton Hoo, Cliveden House and Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, for a luxury series of overnight stays. A similar arrangement takes place on the Scottish Highlands and islands tour, where participants will lodge at Loch Lomond's Cameron House and have exclusive use of the Isle of Eriska Hotel for two nights.

Other tours have a more international flavour, with a 1,000 mile rally starting at Italy's Lake Como and ending up in London, stopping in St Moritz, Stuttgart's Schloss Weitenburg and various other locations along the way. American fans get their own Californian tour, culminating in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance classic car weekend event.

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