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Wednesday, 27 December, 2000, 00:23 GMT
Aston Martin creator dies
Aston Martin DB5
The DB5 was made famous in the film Goldfinger
The man who created the successor to James Bond's famous Aston Martin DB5 has died.

Former Aston Martin chairman Walter Hayes, who was 76, helped to create the DB7 coupé, the direct descendant of the DB5 made famous in the film Goldfinger.

He was also a major figure in motor racing in the 1960s, helping driver Jackie Stewart to world championship victory.

The DB7 is Aston Martin's most successful and popular car of all time, exceeding the combined production of the DB5 and DB6 models.

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish
Aston Martin's latest car, the V12 Vanquish
Mr Hayes' son Jeremy said his father, from Shepperton in Surrey, died at the London Independent Hospital just after 1500GMT on Tuesday.

A printer's son, Walter Hayes once worked in journalism, becoming the editor of the Sunday Dispatch newspaper at the age of 32.

In 1962 he joined the Ford corporation, where he was the driving force behind the company's successful Cosworth engine, which won 100 Grand Prix victories.

He also wrote a biography of Henry Ford II.

Although he retired as vice-chairman of Ford Europe in 1989, he was persuaded to return to the industry when Ford bought the flagging Aston Martin Lagonda sports car firm.

In turn he persuaded the company's former owner, David Brown, to return as honorary life-president, and lend his initials to the DB7 coupé, which helped restore the company's fortunes.

Mr Hayes finally retired in 1994.

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See also:

12 Dec 00 | Business
What's left of the UK car industry
10 Aug 00 | Business
New Aston Martin plant
07 Nov 00 | UK
On the road with 007
03 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Bond's four-wheeled dilemma
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