Left: AM in kensington Gardens; Right: Guests arriving at Freemasons of the Centenary Party.
The event was the highlight of the year-long programme of events marking the company’s centenary. The unique display of some of the finest British sports cars ever made— which included a timeline of highly significant Aston Martin models as well as displays dedicated to the brand’s 50-year love affair with James Bond, its proud motorsport heritage and much else besides—drew exhibitors and visitors from across the UK, and far beyond. Staged by the Aston Martin Owners Club, the Aston Martin Heritage Trust and Aston Martin, and held with the kind permission of The Royal Parks and The Royal Household, the celebration in the capital was the culmination of a week-long programme of centenary activities. These included specially created driving tours across Europe as well as a host of unique events at the brand’s Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire.
The celebration, held under blazing sun and clear blue skies on 21 July, saw an unprecedented gathering of the rarest, most significant and beautiful Aston Martins in the historic surroundings of Kensington Gardens. As many as 550 Aston Martin models—worth around an estimated £1 billion—were on display in the Park or parked at nearby Perks Field. CEO Dr Ulrich Bez joined the events in London, which also included a glittering black tie party on 20 July for 1,000 owners and invited guests at the Freemasons’ Hall on Great Queen Street, in the heart of the city. The party featured entertainment from national radio DJ Benji B as well as composer Grant Windsor and the 16-piece ensemble, Deviation Strings.
“The weekend was a fantastic celebration of all things Aston Martin and, I believe, shows why the brand retains such a special place in the hearts of so many owners and enthusiasts around the world,” said Dr Bez. “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.” He added: “I would like to acknowledge the generous support of the AMOC, AMHT and the Royal Parks, without which this incredible event would not have been possible.” Themed car displays told Aston Martin’s remarkable story, with the centrepiece of the event the Centenary Timeline Display along Kensington Gardens’ Broad Walk, taking visitors on a 100-year journey from the origins of the brand in Henniker Mews, Chelsea, to its current global headquarters in Warwickshire.
Natalie Dormer and fellow actors Ewan McGregor
Every significant Aston Martin road car was represented, from the “A3”, the oldest surviving model, to the Vanquish Centenary Edition, forthcoming V12 Vantage S and Vanquish Volante. Meanwhile, the luxury sports car maker’s exciting future was represented by the exceptional CC100 Speedster Concept—a tantalising glimpse of the potential shape of the brand’s cars in years to come. Elsewhere in the park, a Centenary Selection display was created to showcase the diverse and uniquely bespoke nature of the brand. This varied line-up included cars rarely seen outside of private collections, including a brace of new Zagato models, the trio of Bertone Jets, and a number of other unique cars commissioned over the years by passionate customers around the world.
Joanne Frogatt arriving at Freemasons of the Centenary Party.
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 Silver Birch 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.
Entry to the Centenary Celebration was free and upwards of 50,000 owners, enthusiasts and casual visitors soaked up the sun as they viewed rare and exceptional models drawn from Aston Martin’s sumptuous 100-year history.
Previously, around 1,200 guests had made the trip to the brand’s global HQ in Warwickshire for five days of innovative centenary-themed activities, including “Dine on the Line”, which created a Michelin star-standard pop-up “restaurant” on the Aston Martin production line and featured exceptional food and wine. Its sister activity, “Tea in Design”, saw guests take traditional afternoon tea in the stylish surroundings of the Aston Martin design studio. At both events, visitors were treated to informative centenary displays and bespoke factory tours. “Heritage is a vital part of our story and it is only right that we celebrate this in spectacular style here in the brand’s UK home,” said Dr Bez. “Now we can look forward to further global activities, starting with our participation at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in just a few weeks’ time.” The Aston Martin Centenary Celebration was created with the support of Aston Martin’s Centenary Technology Partner, Microsoft, and Centenary Celebration Partners Bang & Olufsen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Louis Roederer, Viaggi, Pirelli and Zurich Private Clients.
Guests from Europe and as far afield as Australia and China enjoyed a week of wonderful scenery, fine dining, exclusive hotels and spectacular driving in a range of Aston Martins, as part of the marque’s Centenary Drives in July. The Best of British Tour included visits to Dartmoor National Park, Stonehenge and Cliveden House in Berkshire, ending at Kensington Gardens in London for the highlight of the Centenary Celebrations on 21 July. Two Highlands and Islands tours embraced the Yorkshire moors, Gleneagles and the Isle of Skye. Each of the tours began with a James Bond-themed evening and participants stayed at some of the country’s most prestigious hotels en route, including Luton Hoo, Chewton Glen, Cliveden House and the Gleneagles Hotel. Among the selection of cars were the Vanquish, Rapide S, DB9, DBS, V8 Vantage, Virage and V12 Vantage with a classic DB4 Zagato also taking part in one of the Scottish Highland tours.
A golden era for ASTON MARTIN under David Brown was followed by a fight for survival in the 1970s and 1980s.
The golden age of air travel in the 1950s and 60s saw the international Jet-Set begin to travel the globe in previously unkNown style and comfort.
From the revolutionary 2-litre Atom to the V12 engine of the db7, Aston Martin has ALWAYS pushed the boundaries of technological advancement.
ASTON MARTIN celebrated its centenary in scorching style in July as tens of thousands of eager owners and enthusiasts made the trip to Kensington Gardens in London.
It’s hard to imagine James Bond behind the wheel of anything but an Aston Martin.