Aston Martin Owners Club History
The Aston Martin Owners Club (AMOC) was formed in 1935 and is the world’s oldest, largest and only officially recognised, membership club for Aston Martin Owners and enthusiasts. The award-winning Club boasts 8,000 Members in 30 countries around the world and is endorsed by Aston Martin Lagonda. However, it began on a much smaller scale in London just over 80 years ago...
The Club’s formation was the idea of the late Mortimer Morris-Goodall, or ‘Mort’ as he was known. Fired with enthusiasm for the marque following the purchase of a racing International and inspired by company owner and racing driver ‘Bert’ Bertelli, Mort felt that almost everyone who had the good fortune to own an Aston would feel the same and ‘how nice it would be to meet some of these people’. Mort and Bert approached racing driver and motorsport journalist Sammy Davis, who was Sports Editor of Autocar at the time. Sammy agreed that a dedicated club for Aston Martin owners would be a good idea and inserted a note in Autocar magazine on 03 and 17 May 1935 calling a meeting. The meeting was held a few days later on 25 May at the Grafton Hotel, Tottenham Court Road, London. Around 20-30 people attended the meeting and the Club was officially formed and its committee was elected. The committee included Lance Prideaux- Brune, Dick Anthony, Maurice Falkner, Harold Bevan, Miss Dorothy Bean and John Cadbury (of the chocolate company). Racing driver Charles Jarrott was named President and Sammy Davis Vice-President. Leslie Keevil became Honorary Treasurer and Mort was Honorary Secretary.
The Club’s activities were mostly social and included an annual dinner-dance at the Park Lane Hotel, London, but they were brought to a close in 1939 by World War II.
The Club was restarted at a meeting led by Richard Stallebrass at the Royal Automobile Club in London on 5th March 1948. Tragically Stallebrass was killed racing at Spa, in Belgium, just a few months later. So Dudley Coram began a leading role in the newly reformed Club, with Eric Cutler as Chairman. Dudley became a pivotal piece in the Club’s history serving in almost every capacity within it until his death in 1976.
Viscount Downe became President of the Club in 1980 and led its 60th anniversary Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1995. The celebrations began with a Grand Jubilee Ball at the Dorchester Hotel in London. A special Diamond Jubilee Virage Volante made a fitting ‘display case’ for a million dollars worth of Cartier jewellery! During this special year Viscount Downe received the Club’s premier award for service, the Bertelli Trophy.
‘The Family’, as the Viscount Downe worded his toast to the Membership, ‘has continued to meet at the Club’s social and competitive events and stay in touch through its publications, AM Quarterly and the News Sheet which have carried reports of the many Club events around the world as have the publications that originate in other parts of the world’.
In May 1997 the Cairn Memorial, erected in memory of Aston Martin founder Lionel Martin, was unveiled by Lady Paula Brown (Sir David’s widow) and John Martin (Lionel Martin’s son) at the top of Aston Hill in Buckinghamshire. The Cairn was the inspiration of the Club’s then Chairman, Ian MacGregor, was designed by Member John Evans and constructed on Forestry Commission land with support from the Club and Aston Martin Lagonda.
In 1988 the Club founded the Aston Martin Heritage Trust to provide a permanent home for its extensive and growing archive of vehicles and memorabilia. The Trust now operates independently as a charity under its own auspices with the aim to inspire and educate people in every aspect of the marque’s heritage.
By the late 90s the Club found that it was outgrowing its headquarters in Sutton (county) and so a search for new premises began.
In 1998 it purchased The Barn, a beautiful 600 year old grange barn near in Drayton St Leonard near Oxford. Renovation was completed in 2001 and the club moved in the same year.
In 2002, Viscount Downe sadly passed away. However, the Membership’s sprits were lifted when Viscountess Diana Downe agreed to continue the work of her late husband and became the new President of the Club.
Just a few months later in April, Viscountess Downe officially opened The Barn on behalf of Prince Michael of Kent, who was unable to attend the special event due to the death of the Queen Mother.
In 2015 the Club celebrated its 80th anniversary with a series of high profile events including the largest ever display of Aston Martins at Kensington Palace in London, attended by tens of thousands of visitors.
The Club was also very privileged to be able to create a unique display of 80 Aston Martins in the formation of a huge 1935 figure to represent the year the Club was formed at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy. Members gathered from all over the world to have their cars included in the display, which featured one of every Aston Martin car model ever made.
A limited edition leather bound book commemorating the Club’s first 80 years was produced and given to every member who took part in the anniversary display.
A special lunch was held at the Grafton Hotel in London in the exact room and on the exact date that Mort and his friends formed the club 80 years previously.
Although the pre-war archives have been lost, to this very day it is believed that the Club’s present aims enshrine the same principles as those drafted by Mort and friends in 1935; ‘promote the sport and pastime of motoring’, ‘develop interest in the Aston Martin car’ and ‘encourage social interaction between members’.
Today, the Club’s President remains Viscountess Downe, Club Chairman is John Purser, Deputy Chairman Mark Donoghue and its Secretary is Marc Aylott.
The current activities of the Club are focused around a diverse range of events celebrating historic and modern eras of Aston Martin including; International Black Tie Dinners, spectacular Concours events, an official racing series, sprint and hill climb series, track days, European and worldwide tours, trips to world famous motoring events such as Classic Le Mans, Silverstone Classic, other prestigious social events, regional events and much more.
The Club is thriving with its largest worldwide Membership to date steadily growing and spreading to different countries, connecting more owners and enthusiasts together in their joint passion for the power beauty and soul of Aston Martin.
The Club is the winner of two consecutive ‘Historic Motoring Awards Car Club of the Year’ accolades in 2012 and 2013. It also enjoys strong links to Aston Martin Lagonda, working in partnership on many activities and events.
Membership of the Aston Martin Owners Club is open to both owners and enthusiasts alike. For more details on membership benefits and how to join visit our page to become a member.