Oh yeah, there's a story here.
Since the Aston Martin DB11 broke cover earlier in the year we haven’t stopped singing the car’s praises. There’s no question that it’s an extremely important model for the automaker. That much everyone knows. But what some people probably don’t know is the origin of its name, specifically what the letters “DB” stand for. What, you really thought those two letters were just randomly chosen?The story behind the name for Aston Martin’s iconic grand tourer begins all the way back in 1947.
Back in that year Aston Martin was struggling (where have we heard that before?) The automaker had shifted gears during World War II, turning from a car company into one that made aircraft components. After the war, Aston was eager to get back to the business of making automobiles but like many European automakers it fell on hard times. Enter Sir David Brown—just David Brown in 1947—a wealthy English industrialist with a passion for going fast. He bought the automaker for £20,500, about $1.04 million in today’s money, after seeing it advertised in a newspaper. Brown also bought Lagonda as he wanted a powerful engine for his new cars.
That engine was a 2.6-liter dual overhead cam straight-six developed by W.O. Bentley during his tenure at Lagonda. The first car to feature this engine was the DB2, with the letters standing for “David Brown.” Brown’s initials would continue to adorn Aston Martin’s iconic grand tourer until 1966 when the DB6 Volante entered production. From that point on things got a lot tougher for Aston Martin and James Bond's car of choice (the DB5, not the DB10) as the company changed hands several times. It wasn’t until 1993 that a successor to the DB6 was launched, the aptly named DB7. Sir David Brown, he had been knighted in 1968, gave permission to Aston Martin to use his initials for the new car.
Had the automaker waited any longer there’s a chance the name would have been lost to history as Brown passed away in September of 1993. Like many cars named after famous people the DB line seems to have drawn a lot from its namesake. Brown was a rich man who lived large and loved to race cars and motorcycles. He took Aston Martin racing and was said to be very hands-on with the team, staying in the same hotel as his drivers and knowing his team’s mechanics by name. The DB11 is unapologetically luxurious and has a need for speed, topping out at 200 mph. If Brown could see it today, he’d doubtless give it his seal of approval.