Has anyone out there really paid any attention to Prodrive in the last few years? Probably not, unless you are a hard core motorsport freak. They started from scratch, first building rally cars for Porsche, MG (of all companies) and BMW back in the mid eighties. In just four short years, became champions in 1989-90 after expanding into the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship). This is the first steps in many, that will lead to one of the BOLDEST automotive transaction's in the last decade. I will get to that later.
Lets start with the "brains" behind Prodrive. They were founded in 1984 by David Richards and Ian Parry in Banbury,Oxsforshire, England. David is currently the head of one of the most famous and desirable marques ever created in the automotive world. Keep reading, it gets more exciting. Fast forward.
After years of successful rally racing and smaller sanctioned European racing events, they burst on the scene and gained a huge level of repect in auto racing. In 2001 they arrived to show what could do. And they certainly made a huge impression! What did they show up with in the first race? Well, to begin with, it was the first attempt for Prodrive to compete against the "big boys" . The FIA GT and American Le Mans Series. Both sanctions are for the real boys,with real toys, and tons of money.
The privately-developed car was a completely designed and prepped Ferrari 550 GT, that by 2003 won the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was really the first time I took notice of Prodrive, as I personally am a Porsche nut. I considered Ferrari, the equivalent to the Imperial forces led by Darth Vader, to destroy all mankind.
My last "fast forward". I promise. So who owns one of the most desirable auto manufacturers of all time? So who brought one of England's most prized companies home, after being run to the ground by bureaucratic lunacy? Prodrive's founder David Richards.
David Richards should go down in history as a true ambassador to the automotive world. He brought Aston Martin home to her people. He, with a team of other "lovers" of class and driving and soul filled cars, paid $925,000,000 for Aston Martin, and saved thousands of jobs. He is also guiding Aston Martin, back to her glory days.
That my friends, is PRODRIVE MADNESS.