The Genesis of the DB7
Periodically, misinformation about the genesis of the DB7 appears, generally online, in Wikipedia or a forum. For example, a March 2017 reader of the Wikipedia entry for Victor Gauntlett, the Aston Martin chairman Walter Hayes replaced, was told:
“As the “small Aston/DB7” would require a large engineering input, Ford agreed to take full control of Aston Martin, and Gauntlett handed over the company chairmanship to Hayes in 1991.”
And a photo on the Walter Hayes Wikipedia page was captioned:
“The “small Aston/DB7” released under Hayes chairman ship (sic) of Aston Martin” (source: smh.com.au).
As the “Aston” magazine article (“The car and the man who saved the marque”) elsewhere in this archive attests, when Hayes became Chairman he was “not the first Chairman to recognize the importance of creating a higher-volume, lower-cost car, but in September 1991 (when Gauntlett resigned) Aston Martin didn’t have, and for many years hadn’t had, the funds, facilities or the workforce to design and engineer and manufacture one. So little had been done, other than to give the hypothetical project a name.”
As the document and letter above show, the seeds for the creation of a new and smaller Aston, which became the DB7, were sown in a fax from Tony Batchelor, a Ford of Europe engineer, a month after Gauntlett’s resignation. And the idea of seeking Sir David Brown’s permission to revive the iconic “DB” nomenclature, and its granting, followed sixteen months later.
This correction of misinformation is to set the record straight. It should not detract from Victor Gauntlett’s ten years as Chairman of Aston Martin, during which his flair and dedication personified the traits of, and sustained, this most quintessentially English of cars.