Guy Jenner, 30th June 2021
We are very proud of our title as the world’s oldest Aston Martin dealership. It is a brand that has been central to our business since 1951.The relationship started at the race track, which comes as little surprise to those who know how active the HWM GP team was in this period.
Our business was founded by John Heath in 1938, joined shortly after by a very smart and capable racing driver called George Abecassis. Both John & George were well known around the race scene and happened to be in business not far from the Aston Martin factory at Feltham. What most likely sealed the deal to become a dealership was that George won his class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1950, sharing his Aston Martin DB2 with Lance Macklin. By no coincidence, Lance went on to be HWM’s most loyal racing driver but we shall save the story for another day!
The business was tremendously active in racing across Europe over the first half of the 1950’s.Sadly the beginning of the end for racing side of the business was triggered when John Heath sadly lost his life in the 1956 Mille Miglia. George subsequently needed to search for a new partner and was lucky enough to find the perfect man in Mike Harting. Mike was then the Global Sales Manager for Aston Martin and brought a huge amount of knowledge to the business.
As a well located business with superb race pedigree, HWM flourished in Walton on Thames. They became well known for selling many cars, including the special limited run models. There are so many great stories of the rare, exotica sold by our business but one of our favourites was the DB4GT Zagato series.
It is difficult to believe this hugely desirable model was difficult to sell when new but whilst being beautiful, it was eye wateringly expensive. Mike Harting, being an ex-Aston Martin employee, was close to activity at the factory. He had noticed that they had 3 DB4 GT Zagato’s sitting unsold. Mike took the brave step of agreeing to buy each one of them which would have been a considerable outlay. They were transferred to HWM and an advert was created for Autocar Magazine to find buyers. Thankfully, the move was a success and the cars were sold at less than £7,000 each. These happened to be the last 3 of the 19 that were made. If you have kept abreast of values since, they represented rather a sensible investment!
HWM has continued to be a big part of the Aston Martin market. They have consistently been one of the larges dealerships and are also synonymous with supply specials. We still have an HWM race car at the business but sadly never had the foresight to keep a DB4GT Zagato!
We look forward to the next 70 years with a brand that we hold so dear.