Aston Martin, founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, is a British company specialized in creating luxury grand tourers and sports cars. James Bond's preferred cars were made by Aston Martin, so the brand managed to become an iconic British brand.
The brand changed ownership many times in its century-long history but kept its original idea: make luxurious sports cars with a definite British touch. From the Coal Scuttle, the first car created for the 1914 Aston Clinton Hill Climb (hence the `Aston` in the brand's name), to the Vulcan, Aston Martin's cars are designed to race in style.
Racing was embedded in Aston Martin's philosophy since the beginning, but the results were not stellar. Nonetheless, while it gained a lot of races during the prewar and interbellum years, the brand's recognition as a true racing powerhouse came in the fifties, when it managed to climb on the podium several times and eventually win at the 24 hours of Le Mans. With drivers like Carroll Shelby, Roy Salvadori, Maurice Trintignant and Stirling Moss, Aston Martin managed a 1-2 win over Porsche and Ferrari in 1959, with the DBR1/300.
As almost everything Aston Martin has done, the effort seemed to be too much for the company, and the winning streak was short lived. The brand returned at Le Mans in 2005 and won in 2007 and 2008, with the DBR9. The company also won the Le Mans Series in 2009 with the beautiful DBR1-2.
Apart from the ones that won at Le Mans, legendary Aston Martin cars include the DB2/4 (1953), dubbed "the world's first hatchback," the superb DB4 GT Zagato (1960), and the DB5 (1963), that starred in James Bond's Goldfinger. Aston Martin V8 Vantage (1977) was the first British supercar, while the exclusivist One-77 (2008) still remains the most powerful Aston Martin. Last, but not least, some of the most spectacular Aston Martin cars are the V12 Vantage Zagato (2011), a stunning road-legal endurance racer, and of course, the mind-boggling Vulcan.
Currently, Aston Martin's range is composed of the Vantage, DB9 GT, DB11, Rapide S, Vanquish and the Vulcan. The brand is also releasing regular limited editions and has an extensive accessories business.