Dear Ford, Could You Please Get Over Aston Martin Already?

Aston Martin. Some say it’s the best British sportscar manufacturer ever. Other associate the Aston Martin moniker to James Bond and 007’s lifestyle. But throughout its 102-year-old history, Aston Martin has seen an abundance of financial ups and downs.
Ford vs Aston Martin front grille designs2007 Ford Verve Concept2008 Ford Fiesta2008 Ford Kuga2009 Ford Ka2011 Ford S-Max2013 Ford Escort Concept2013 Ford Fiesta2013 Ford Ka Concept2015 Ford C-Max2015 Ford Fusion2015 Ford Mondeo2015 Ford Focus2015 Ford Mustang2015 Ford S-Max1999 Aston Martin DB72001 Aston Martin Vanquish2004 Aston Martin DB92005 Aston Martin V8 Vantage2015 Aston Martin Vanquish2015 Aston Martin GT12 (formerly known as the GT3)
I don’t own a tweed jacket and I don’t smoke pipe tobacco, so I’ll cut straight to the chase: the UK’s equivalent to Italy’s Ferrari changed owners a lot of times in the 20th century. The year was 1947 when tractor manufacturer David Brown Limited bought Aston Martin and kept it going until 1972.

Many petrolheads and automobile connoisseurs regard the David Brown era as the best thing to happen to Aston Martin. Under Sir David’s rule, we’ve been given two of the coolest Astons to date.

One of them is the jaw-dropping DB5.

As for the second memorable British interceptor, that’s the DBR1 racer, driven to victory by Carroll Shelby (yes, he’s the guy who created the Shelby Cobra), Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin’s only outright victory at the classic endurance race.

Fast-forward to modern times and here is Aston today, in the hands of two big shot investment houses - Investment Dar and Adeem Investment, joined by the Investindustrial private equity fund.

The Ford Motor Company sold the British brand to this consortium in 2007 for $925 million for a rather simple reason: the Blue Oval didn’t know how to rejuvenate the marque to its former glory.

From 1987 - when Ford bought 75 percent of the company - to 2007, the Americans could do only three noteworthy things with Aston: the 6-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine, the DB9 and the V8 Vantage. Oh, I forgot to mention the modern-look Aston Martin grille, penned by Ian Callum, who is Jaguar’s director of design nowadays.

I appreciate everything Ford did with recurrent “coolest brand in the world” victor Aston Martin, except for the bad management decisions, the Ford Fiesta Mk III switch gear found throughout the DB7’s cabin and the agonizing Volvo-sourced satellite navigation system featured on the DB9.

But you know what really grinds my gears? Ford can’t get over the fact it doesn’t own Aston Martin anymore. Some higher-ups in Detroit are, to this day, biting their nails to the flesh because of this. Many of us went through unfortunate breakups and thought “I don’t know what to do with my life anymore.”

Then again, here we are today, happy and in much better spirits compared to back then.

Ford is on a roll as well, with its Focus RS, all-new GT supercar, the Voodoo V8-powered Shelby GT350 Mustang and F-150 Raptor. However, the aforementioned higher-ups didn’t get over the Aston Martin front grille design. Of course, I have hard evidence to back up what appears to be a slightly far-fetched statement.

Remember that Ford sold Aston Martin in 2007? Good. Remember the Ford Verve Concept that was revealed at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show? No worries, just take a look at the second picture in the photo gallery below. That’s when the Blue Oval started to misshape what Ian Callum created when Aston Martin was owned by the Detroit-based carmaker.

Since that concept, everything wearing a blueish oval badge, from hatchbacks to people carriers and even the 2015 Ford Mustang to an extent, is wearing misshaped versions of the Aston Martin front grille. The most self-explanatory example of this remorse for losing Aston Martin is the Fusion sedan, also known as the 2015 Mondeo. Just look at the thing and try to tell me that’s not the face of an Aston Martin, I dare you.

The funniest thing is that the British sportscar and GT manufacturer has been slowly altering its face for the most recent of models (Vulcan, GT12 and the updated Vanquish). Even Aston Martin is slowly but steadily trying to get over its former design language, so why can’t the Ford Motor Company get over it as well and develop its own, individual front grille design? It’s simple...

Exactly like those people that can’t get over their exes, Ford drowns its troubles over the breakup by looking through the photo album with pictures of it and Aston Martin together. Obsessively. And on that bombshell, now you know why FoMoCo sold Aston Martin and took up the British marque’s grille design in 2007.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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