Sir David Brown

10/5/1904 - 3/9/1993

Sir David Brown

Sir David Brown was a British entrepreneur, managing director of his family firm David Brown Limited and one time owner of shipbuilders Vosper Thornycroft.

Born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, 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 and Brown, who also owned a farm, started making Ferguson tractors there in 1939. During the Second World War a new heavier tractor called the David Brown was made with over 7700 being produced. This made him a wealthy man. 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 £20,000 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 DB5 driven by James Bond 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.

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. He died in Monte Carlo 8 years before David Brown Ltd was acquired by Textron Inc.


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