At a time when the British motor industry is in the wane and the only a handful of British car manufacturers are still British owned, two car marques that have stood the test of time to celebrate their centenaries in 2013.
Although Mini and Aston Martin are now foreign owned, Mini by BMW and Aston Martin by a consortium (formed by a British man, David Richards), their cars are still made in the UK.
The first car to roll off the production line at Cowley, Oxford was the Bullnose Morris Oxford on 28 March 1913. The date and 100 years of car-making at Cowley in Oxford will be marked by Mini and its parent company BMW on the 28 March along with a commemorative exhibition. The Oxford plant boasted a workforce of 26,000 in the 1950s and 1960s. Famous brands produced at Oxford have included the Austin Healey, the Wolseley, the Riley, the Austin, the Rover and the original Mini.
The oldest surviving Aston Martin, the A3, next to the latest Aston Martin, the Vanquish. 100 years of great sports …Aston Martin was founded by Lionel Martini and Robert Bamford. Initially called Bamford & Martin, it later became Aston Martin to acknowledge Bamford's success at the Aston Clinton Hillclimb in Buckinghamshire where he had successfully raced their very first cars.
The company will be staging a number of events to mark its centenary. Beginning on Jaunary 15th, the date of the company's founding, the oldest surviving Aston Martin - an A3 – will be displayed at the company's original home in Chelsea, south-west London. The A3 will appear alongside the company's new Vanquish model and a commemorative plate will be unveiled.
In July 15-21 there will be a week-long celebratory festival at the Gaydon plant culminating in a major event on July 21 in London featuring up to 1,000 Aston Martins.
The Aston Martin is most famously associated with James Bond and the iconic DB5 appears in the most recent film, Skyfall. The DB5's first appearance in a James Bond film was in 1964 in Goldfinger. Fans of James Bond may be pleased to know that there will be a James Bond-themed drive around England and Wales, taking in some Bond film locations as part of the centenary events.