In January 1913 Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin started a small general motor engineering business in Fulham, London. Lionel Martin was a keen sporting cyclist and motorist, and by the end of 1914 the first prototype sports car was being developed using experience gained from tuning and modifying Singers and an old Isotta Fraschini, which was used as a mobile test bed for a newly designed engine. Their ultimate aim was to produce an English sporting light car with at least the quality of the French Bugatti. Lionel Martin´s wife, Kate, had the idea that a name for the new car beginning with the letter ´A´ would mean that it would feature at the top of the list of runners in the programme at competitions, and it was hoped that this would assist with promoting the new car. The name Aston Martin was decided, being partly derived from Aston Hill, a hillclimb venue close to Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire.
Initially they concentrated on a few prototypes and racing cars, hoping that competition success would encourage sales. These few cars had numerous successes at hill climbs, racing at Brooklands and at International road racing events including the Strasbourg Grand Prix, Boulogne, and the Barcelona Grand Prix. The Aston ´Martin´ had definitely arrived. A total production of some 61 cars was overseen by Lionel Martin with help from a number of financial backers. However the market for such high quality sports cars was always small and the economics of the venture always precarious.
In 1926 Bamford & Martin were taken over by Renwick & Bertelli and the new company of Aston Martin Motors Ltd was formed. Starting with a completely clean drawing board and plenty of his own ideas Augustus Cesare Bertelli, with his coachbuilder brother Harry and Claude Hill, and with the backing of Lord Charnwood, set about re-inventing ´Aston Martin´.
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