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Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin began their partnership in the early years of the last century, selling Singer cars from a dealership in Callow Street, London. In 1913, however, they built their own sports car by dropping a four-cylinder Coventry Simplex engine into a 1908 Isotta Fraschini chassis.
The result was very quick indeed, and Martin took a number of trophies with it at the Aston Clinton hill-climb. So when they began building replicas for sale they called them Aston Martins.
Today, 100 years later, the company they founded is celebrating its centenary with the unveiling of a bespoke new Centenary Edition Vanquish, the first of a very limited edition specification that will be available worldwide on just 100 examples of each current Aston Martin model: the V8 Vantage, DB9, Rapide and Vanquish.
JUST AS SPECIAL
They will be, in their own way, just as special as Lionel Martin's hill-climber, with a unique graduated silver paint finish developed specially for this application, and solid sterling silver Aston Martin wing badges with special enamel inlay.
The special finish is meticulously built up by adding special 'tinters' to the base colour and then airbrushing the darker 'inner colour' on to certain areas of each panel by hand using a special mini-jet spray gun.
Design director Marek Reichman explained: “We looked closely at the individual contour lines of each of the cars to determine not only the right colours and shades, but also to create a template by which the paint changes from dark to light and where the graduated effect sits.”
That sounds great - and looks even better - but it adds an average of 18 hours to a paint process that can already take more than 50 hours to complete.
KEEP IT POLISHED
The interior is trimmed in soft black leather - previously used only in the One-77 super - with contrasting silver stitching, the Aston Martin wings embroidered in silver thread on each head restraint and solid sterling silver sill plaques, individually numbered from 1 to 100.
Each Centenary Edition model will come with a special, numbered presentation box containing two glass keys, two key pouches made from leather matching the car's interior trim, solid silver cufflinks embossed with the Aston Martin script, a solid silver Rollerball pen and special Bang & Olufsen headphones.
The gift box will also include a special, lint-free polishing cloth to help owners keep the polished silver centenary wings and sill plaques shiny.