Friday 23rd August 2019,
Inopian

Aston Martin: The David Brown Years

First, the man himself:

Sir David Brown (1904-1993), entrepreneur, industrialist and builder of agricultural tractors bought Aston-Martin Ltd in 1948. The following year he acquired Lagonda and combined the two companies into Aston-Martin-Lagonda Ltd. He had paid £20,500 for Aston-Martin after seeing it advertised in a newspaper. He then paid £52,500 for Lagonda.

In 1955 he acquired the coach-building firm of Tickford in Newport Pagnell and moved his car production there. He was knighted in 1968. However the 1970`s saw Aston-Martin-Lagonda in financial difficulties and David Brown sold Aston-Martin-Lagonda though continued with his other businesses. Strangely, Brown did not use his own product as personal transport. He preferred a Jaguar XJS instead! David Brown died in Monte Carlo in 1993 at the aged of 89. His company, David Brown Ltd was sold to Textron in 2001.

David Brown Aston Martin

David Brown Aston Martin

The early cars:

When, in 1948, David Brown took over Aston-Martin, production was in hibernation. Most car makers had rapidly resumed production as WWII ended but Aston-Martin was stagnant. The only project running was the Atom prototype that had begun during WWII. The Atom had possibilities for production but was still-born due to a general lack of public interest. David Brown killed it off and set his engineers and designers to work on a proper sports-car.

His first car was the 2 litre sports that also proved to be a false start, only fifteen being built, including one rolling chassis supplied to a body-builder. As far as we know, only one example survives and lives in the Heritage Museum. Retrospectively it became known as DB1, founding the pattern of using Brown`s initials as a prefix for model types.

For our purposes both the Atom and DB1 are somewhat irrelevant. DBR1 and DB3 were competition cars, therefore we will start with the DB2 since that was a true production car and is considered a classic today.

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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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