Aston Martin is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It has already created a special birthday present to itself in the form of the CC100 Speedster, which made its debut at the Nurburgring followed by appearances at Villa d’Este and the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
But the company wanted to throw an even larger party, which it did in London’s Kensington Gardens yesterday. Being nearby, we ventured out for a walk to see what the company had in store and were joined by eager owners and enthusiasts for what turned out to be the largest gathering of the iconic British sports cars in history
The event featured a multitude of significant Aston Martin models as well as displays dedicated to the brand’s 50-year love affair with James Bond and its proud motorsport heritage. As many as 550 Aston Martin models — worth around an estimated £1 billion (roughly $1.6) — were on display in the Park or parked at nearby Perks Field.
Themed car displays told Aston Martin’s remarkable story with the centerpiece of the event, the Centenary Timeline Display on the Broadwalk, taking visitors on a 100-year journey from the origins of the brand in Henniker Mews, Chelsea, to its current global headquarters in Warwickshire.
Every significant Aston Martin road car was represented from ‘A3′, the oldest surviving car, to the Vanquish Centenary Edition, forthcoming V12 Vantage S and Vanquish Volante. As expected the CC100 Speedster concept was also on show providing a glimpse of the potential shape of the brand’s future.
What was perhaps most interesting was the Centenary Selection display, which included cars rarely seen outside of private collections, including two new models built by Zagato, the trio of Bertone Jets, and a number of other unique cars commissioned over the years by passionate customers around the world. The varied line-up was created to showcase the diverse and bespoke nature of the brand.
Staged by the Aston Martin Owners Club, Aston Martin Heritage Trust and the company itself, the celebration in the capital was the culmination of a week-long program of centenary activity which included specially-created driving tours across Europe as well as a host of unique events at the brand’s Gaydon headquarters.
CEO Dr Ulrich Bez joined the festivities, calling it “a fantastic celebration of all things Aston Martin,” adding “[it] shows why the brand retains such a special place in the hearts of so many owners and enthusiasts around the world.”
“Exclusivity is a key part of the Aston Martin mystique — we have made only around 65,000 cars in our entire 100-year history to date — so to see so many of these rare beauties gathered together in London was a truly historic occasion,” said Dr. Bez.
Aston Martin’s proud 50-year association with James Bond was of course enthusiastically marked with seven of the movie cars on display including the iconic DB5 from the most recent blockbuster, Skyfall.
Motorsport was, naturally, a key feature in Kensington, too, with a display dedicated to some of the most significant and successful racing cars in Aston Martin history. Highlights included the Ulster, iconic DBR1, legendary DB4 GT Zagato and Gulf-liveried V8 Vantage GTE.
“Heritage is a vital part of the Aston Martin story and it is only right that we celebrate this in spectacular style here in the brand’s UK home,” Dr. Bez said. “Now we can look to further global activities starting with our participation at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in just a few weeks’ time.”
We’re looking forward to it.