This year will mark some serious anniversaries for three renowned brands in the automotive stratosphere.
First off, McLaren will celebrate its 50th year of existence as a builder of cars on the track and on the road. New Zealand racecar driver Bruce McLaren figured he would try his hand at fielding a team with his name attached to it. By 1966, McLaren touched down onto Formula One becoming one of the most successful teams in the sport’s history – next to Ferrari.
When it came to road cars, McLaren began with an astounding supercar – the center-steering F1. With the MP4-12C, the Spider and the upcoming P1 supercar, Ron Dennis' meticulous management style and permanent demand upon perfection has steered McLaren to create some of the finest examples of road cars of recent history. What has come out of Woking has been just simply amazing.
Over in Sant'Agata, just kilometers from Bologna, Automobili Lamborghini celebrates their 50th anniversary. Ferruccio Lamborghini had been building farm implements until he had the idea of building a grand touring car from what he had observed from the likes of Ferrari and Maserati. Eventually, Lamborghini would dive into unknown territory by hiring Bertone to pen one of the most stunning and complicated vehicles of the late 1960s – the Miura.
Since then, every bull was unleashed upon the gaze of fans and the most daring drivers. As astounding as they looked, they were completely bonkers and devoid of logic. They were to drive fast, not be practical. Even under Audi's leadership, the spirit of the bull continues through two iconic machines – the Gallardo and the Aventador. There is no denying Lamborghini’s place amongst automotive royalty thanks to the vision of its founder.
Even more storied of a history comes a centenary. Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford created a sporty car to be named Aston Martin. The brand made its name in racing form high climbs to wins at Le Mans. However, the fortunes of the brand rode on an appearance of a silver DB5 in the hands of one of Britain’s best-known fictional spy – James Bond. From the moment that DB5 hit the silver screen, Aston’s history would never be the same.
The Gaydon-based automaker has earned a huge place amongst bespoke brands. From the DB5 of Ian Fleming's Bond, the lineup of Vantages, Vanquishes, Rapides and DB9s represent the core of a design philosophy that took root even before the famous movie star appeared on screen. Aston’s rebound and post-Ford image are reminders how great marques can do extraordinary things many times over.
It is not enough to say “Happy Anniversary” to McLaren, Lamborghini and Aston Martin. We celebrate these brands the best way we can by honoring what they have done to the automotive landscape. Whether they ruled the track or the great roads of the world, these three manufacturers deserve a huge degree of gratitude for their continued dedication to their owners, their employees, their stakeholders and their customers.
After all, who can celebrate even better than flying a hugely expensive sports coupe off of a helicopter onto a hotel landing pad in Dubai?