Aston Martin milestone
THE recession nearly finished off the Aston Martin company in Newport Pagnell, just as various depressions and vicissitudes of the market have threatened its existence many times before. But this most British of companies has survived thanks partly to finance from Greek-born Americans, to celebrate the production of its 10,000th car in April. As chairman Victor Gauntlets points out, General Motors builds that many cars every five hours. Aston Martin took 65 years to reach this milestone and only four models have had a production run exceeding 1,000 cars — the DB4 (1958 to 1963), the DB5 (1963 to 1965), the DB6 (1965 to 1969) and the current V8. Every example therefore is comparatively rare, and currently the company is working flat-out to produce a maximum of six cars per week, at which rate if sustained it would take AML only 34 years to produce the next 10,000!
John Martin, son of Lionel Martin who founded the company in 1919, visited Newport Pagnell for a ride in the 10,000th car, a V8, and joined Mr Gauntlett in the celebration. As optimism abounds, AML prepares for its biggest effort in many years at Le Mans next month, the 25th anniversary of its only victory there, MOTOR SPORT congratulates Aston Martin on its achievement, and wishes success to its racing programme. — M.L.C.