Aston Martin ended more than 50 years of production at Newport Pagnell today when the final car, a Vanquish S Ultimate Edition, was driven off the production line by Ken Clarke one of the longest serving employees and a test driver for the company.
More than two hundred people, including previous company owners, local dignitaries and Aston Martin employees, both past and present, attended the event to witness this historic occasion and to celebrate the achievements of the last half century.
Aston Martin will retain a presence in Newport Pagnell through its celebrated Works Service Department, which offers servicing, restoration and enhancement of Aston Martins and sees more than 2000 current and historic cars through its doors annually.
Kingsley Riding-Felce, Aston Martin’s Director of Works Service and Customer Relations, said: “Although the day was tinged with sadness it was a celebration. It is important to remember that an Aston Martin is a car for life – it never dies and nor will the great achievements of the employees who have worked here over the fifty years. Although we say farewell to the buildings it is the spirit of the people and the cars themselves that will live.”
The Newport Pagnell site was purchased by David Brown in 1954 and first used for building Aston Martin bodies. Full production at the site began in 1958 with the DB4 and since then nearly 13,000 cars have been produced at the factory.
The final 50 Aston Martins built at Newport Pagnell were a limited edition Vanquish S Ultimate Edition priced at £182,095 the last of which – chassis number 502593 – will be retained by the company.
In 2003 Aston Martin opened a purpose built factory at Gaydon, Warwickshire, where a work force of 1500 now produces the critically acclaimed V8 Vantage, V8 Vantage Roadster, DB9 and DB9 Volante models and will soon be joined by the eagerly anticipated DBS. Aston Martin produced 7010 cars last year of which 308 were the Vanquish S, produced at Newport Pagnell.
In June 2007 Aston Martin began the start of a new chapter in its illustrious history following an announcement that the prestigious sports car manufacturer had been sold to a consortium led by David Richards, John Sinders, Investment Dar and Adeem Investment, ending almost twenty years as part of Ford Motor Company.