Sir David Brown (May 10, 1904 - September 3, 1993) was an English entrepreneur, managing director of his family firm David Brown Limited and one time owner of automaker Aston Martin.
Brown was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. After attending Rossall School he started work as an apprentice in the family business, "David Brown Gear Company Ltd", aged 17, becoming managing director in 1931, on his uncle Percy's death. In 1934 the company built a new factory on a site at Meltham, on the south side of Huddersfield. Brown, who also owned a farm, started building tractors with Harry Ferguson there in 1939. But they disagreed over design details. David Brown then designed his own version. During the Second World War this new heavier tractor called the David Brown VAK1 was made with over 7,700 being produced. This made him a wealthy man. Harry Ferguson went to America and did a deal with Henry Ford to incorporate his system in the Ford N series, before setting up Ferguson tractors. In 1972 the David Brown tractor interests were sold to Tenneco International (Inc.), and were rebadged as Case.
A natural adventurer who owned race horses, played polo, raced cars and motorcycles, and was a qualified pilot, in 1947, Brown saw a classified advertisement in The Times, offering for sale a High Class Motor Business. Brown acquired Aston Martin for £20,500 and, in the following year, Lagonda for £52,500, followed by the coachbuilder Tickford in 1955. He subsequently concentrated all the Aston Martin manufacturing at the Tickford premises in Newport Pagnell.
The legendary "DB" series of Aston Martin cars, including the Atom, DB2, DB3, DB4, DB5 driven by James Bond, DB6 and the DB7 - Aston's most successful model ever - were named after David Brown. An irony while at the helm of Aston Martin is that he actually used a rival product, a Jaguar XJ Series I, as personal transport. Aston Martin was sold off in the 1970s when the company was in financial difficulties.
He was knighted in 1968.
He married three times, to Daisy Muriel Firth in 1926, Marjorie Deans (his secretary) in 1955 and to Paula Benton Stone in 1980. He had two children David and Angela both of whom entered the family business. Angela married George Abecassis the racing driver. Sir David Brown died in September 1993 in Monte Carlo 8 years before David Brown Ltd was acquired by Textron Inc..
Racing/Competition: DB3 · DBSS · DBR1 · DBR2 · DBR3 · DBR4 · DBR5 · DP212 · DP214 · DP215 · Nimrod · AMR1 · DBR9 · DBRS9 · Rally GT · Vantage GT2 · Vantage GT4 · LeMans Works LMP1 · Rapide 24h Nurburgring
|Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford||Corporate website||A brand of Prodrive Ltd.|
- David Brown Tractors 1936-64, by Alan Earnshaw