The Buckinghamshire town of Newport Pagnell has had a coachbuilding company since the early 1800’s with the firm of Salmons and Son occupying the Tickford Works on Tickford Street close to the site of the medieval Tickford Abbey. Although for many years, Salmons had concentrated on coaches and open horse-drawn carriages, the arrival of the motor car in the early 1900’s made the company turn to car bodies. The particular body style of the company became known as ‘Tickford’ in the 1920’s. When the company changed hands in 1942, so the company changed it’s name to Tickford too.
By December 1954, the firm of Tickford and with it, the Newport Pagnell factory was purchased by the David Brown Corporation. Very shortly after, the last examples of the DB2/4 were coachbuilt at Tickfords – and ‘Tickford’ badges started to appear on the cars.
From the introduction of the DB4 in 1958, the entire Aston Martin company began effectively relocating to the Newport Pagnell factory. The factory is situated on both side of Tickford Street, the main road leading South East from the town and out to the M1 Motorway. As well as office, engineering and production facilities, the site is also home to Works Service, a unique factory run servicing, repair and restoration workshop.
The above photograph shows what is visible of the production facility on the north side of Tickford Street. The bottom floor of the building on the far left is where V8 engines were once built, and the half timbered building on the right is the offices known as ‘Sunnyside’.
And to the south of Tickford Street is Works Service. This has recently received a new facade together with a showroom and customer lounges. The arched building on the right was formally a cinema (I believe), and then became the trim shop. It was for a short time the garage for press demonstrator, then became for a short time, the Aston Martin Heritage Restoration Centre. It is now an additional showroom for the sale of Heritage Aston Martins.
Virage Production 1989 – 2000
Vanquish Production 2001 – 2007
Shortly after the last V12 Vanquish was finished, the whole of the North side of Tickford Street was sold to a developer for use mixed commercial and housing. Almost all the site was cleared with the exception of the three storey (old engine shop) two story (offices) and Sunnyside. A small number of bricks were saved from the demolished building and were put on sale at the 2008 AM/Bonhams Works Service auction in May 2008. Plans were put in place to build a Tesco supermarket but as of the end of 2014, this has not occurred. The future of the vacant land is still undecided.
Aston Martin Works, a total redevelopment of the Works Service site took place in 2012 and now features a new showroom selling the current range of Aston Martin cars and a section dedicated to selling fully rebuilt heritage models too. It is also the place where the 2017 DB4 GT Continuation model will be built.