Lionel Martin

Inducted 2013

Robert Bamford was a British engineer who with Lionel Walker Birch Martin founded Bamford & Martin Ltd in January 1913. The company’s name became Aston Martin in 1914, following one of Lionel Martin’s successful runs at the Aston Hill Climb in Buckinghamshire.

Within a year the first car to be named Aston Martin was created by Martin by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini.

But full production could not start because of the outbreak of World War 1. Martin joined the Navy and Bamford the Royal Army Service Corps. All machinery was sold to the Sopwith Aviation Company.

After the war, the company relocated to London in 1920 and a new car was designed with the Aston Martin name. That same year Bamford left the company. In 1924 the company went bankrupt and was refinanced by new owners. The company failed again in 1925 and the factory closed in 1926 with Lionel Martin leaving.

The rich and prestigious Aston Martin heritage continued to be defined by some of the most beautiful cars in the world, but also with ongoing financial issues resulting in numerous ownership changes and corporate refinancing. The latest deal was consummated in December 2012, just a month before the start of the marque’s 100th anniversary year.

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