I couldn’t have put it better…

You may have gathered by now that I was deeply disappointed by the complete disaster that is SPECTRE.

Forbes magazine could have been in my head when they published this:


Listening again to the formulaic and equally uninteresting theme song, I was struck by the appropriateness of the lyrics “The writing’s on the wall…” it certainly is for the 007 franchise.





I have two things to congratulate Daniel Craig for:

1. Taking on the mantle of advocate for the humanitarian mine-action world, and

2. Curing me of my 50 year obsession with James Bond.

To be fair he can’t be held soley responsible for the debacle that is SPECTRE.  The whole EON production team have succeeded in finally killing off the 007 franchise.

The idoitic plot line that Blofeld is his long lost foster brother made me so cross I nearly boo-ed.

Interestingly, the atmosphere of excitement that so many bond films before have created in the audience  was completely absent in the cinema – suggesting I was not alone in \my disappointment.

If you are a fan of Marvel Comics you will probably love this film. If you are a life long fan of James Bond you probably won’t.

To anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, my advice is save your money, or go and see The Man From Uncle instead – now that really was an entertaining film.

Oh – and the DB10 was equally appalling, thank god it’s not going into production.

Working the Numbers

Given the time span between this and my last post, I’d be surprised if I had any readers left!

Little bits have been happening thoiugh – and I mean LITTLE. But no less rewarding.

The bumpers have been sent off for repair and rechroming – on enquiry, they are still in the queue.

The engine block and heads have gone off to Oselli for reboring and repairs – and on enquiry they still in the queue.

So I had fun making a new number plate plinth.

The old one was heavily rusted, but the brackets were re-useable. So I cut a piece of 2mm steel offcut into shape, cleaned up the brackets sprayed with black body seal and voila.

April 2015 006

April 2015 010

April 2015 017

April 2015 019

As for the number plate itself – I still have the original Guy Salmon plate – which I’d like to use, but it’s just a bit shabby – and, surprisingly cheap and nasty for what had been a Very Expensive motor car.

April 2015 011

Compare it then, with the plate that came off Stephanie’s first Fiat 126, a very modestly priced car at the time, which had beautifully crafted plates.

April 2015 013

April 2015 014

I think I will have new plates made for ROJ….


My resolution after the election was to spent less time doing it, and more time on ROJ.

Ha Ha!

I’ve suddenly found myself in great demand, with meetings every week on top of the event I’m organising in Parliament in two weeks to launch four enquiries we’re undertaking over the next year.

I have also secured an hour and a half debate in Westminster Hall on the use of children as suicide bombers – a particularly sobering subject.

On the very positive side I shall be working in partnership with the publishers of the Counter IED Report, which will take a huge load off my plate.


Stephanie and I took a short rubble gazing holiday to Crete in the summer – we stayed at a lovely little hotel in Rethymno called the Palazzo di Corina a place you would be more than happy to park your Aston outside of!

And if you do head that way, the best place to eat is the Castello Restaurant great atmosphere, superb food and the friendliest staff on the Island (we went back three times).

It’s the weekend… so back to the garage.

When worlds collide

My life consists of several separate worlds – family, work, travel and old cars..

Each of these worlds waxes and wanes and now and again they rub against each other, and sometimes overlap.  But just at the moment they are crashing into each other

I made the decision after the election that I would take a step back from the political work and do more on the car – and for a while that worked – but best laid plans….

Progress is being made on ROJ – the engine is happily syphoning money out of my account, the block and heads are at the specialists being rebored and reground – , and though at glacial pace, I am making progress on the body work.

It was brilliant having Angus here for a few days – we had some father/son bonding hanging the driver’s door and adjusting the window frame.


The frame was an absolute bugger – there are five brackets with eleven bolts that each need to be delicately adjusted so that the frame lines up – then there is the stainless window rubber finisher to get exactly right, and the window regulator motor to engage.

Now that the door is done I have to readjust the rear window – and redress the roofline above the door and down the a pillar. Three steps forward and two back.

Two of my worlds overlapped in an unexpected way recently – an IED proof vehicle manufacturer I have dealings with invited me to their Piccadilly showroom opening, at which they had some of their other wares – Lambourgini Huracán being one!  Great fun, and excellent champaigne.


The Heart of the Beast

For the past 10 years the mighty V8 engine has sat on it’s stand waiting to be recommissioned – and that time has now come.

At the first inspection we discovered that the engine had been rebuilt once before – and not particularly well. To be brutally frank it had been butchered.

A couple of weeks back, we stripped the engine down yet again – this time for the heads to be hardened and the block to be rebored and repaired. When they come back from the machine shop we’ll be putting the engine back togather and thence into the car itself.

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On the car itself I’ve been working on odd little things like the side wing vents. There are two aluminium  baffles which had pretty well corroded away – so I made new ones.

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The wiring loom for the engine bay comes up behind the rear wheel and over an exposed metal edge – so I used a piece of rubber glass channel to avoid any chafing.



I’ve also been cleaning up various bits and pieces, including loads of fiddly carb parts.



I’m very impressed with Stephanie’s jewellery cleaner!

“Will it fit? No it won’t”

“Can we make it fit? Yes we can.”

I would like to personally thank Aaron Kaufman of Gas Monkey Garage for those really encouraging words. In fact, I shall paint them large on my garage wall.

Neither chassis nor bodywork on ROJ are as they left the factory, so it is no surprise that I have to work to make everything fit back together.

The sill on the drivers side now fits after much fettling. When he did the paint job, Steve had helpfully made a couple of brackets to attach the front wings to the inner sill – but I had to remove them and gently encourage the wing closer in along it’s lower edge without cracking the paint finish.


The sill needs a damn good polishing before I screw it on.

Classics in a classic city

Last week we spent our wedding anniversary in Amsterdam – one of my favourite European cities.

My memory is a little vague though – I don’t remember my last visit being so fraught with danger.

Not since Hanoi have I felt so intimidated by so many people on two wheels – The Dutch are usually such nice friendly people, but put them on bicycles…!

Of course along with the architecture, the art galleries and the museums, there was also the odd old car.

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And the odd old aeroplane…


As they were just around the canal corner from our superbly situated hotel, I had to check out the Diamonds are Forever locations.

Tiffany Case lived on the third floor

Tiffany Case lived on the third floor

Mrs Whistler was pulled from the canal here

Mrs Whistler was pulled from the canal here

The Skinny Bridge, from where Mr Wint and Mr Kidd  admired their handiwork

The Skinny Bridge, from where Mr Wint and Mr Kidd admired their handiwork

We had an excellent view from our room:

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Back in London, and back to work…..

How time flies

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were last watching the racing at Crystal Palace – two Astons this year, and a pleasant picnic with friends and family.

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And one for Phil – I told you you should have come!


I’ve finished the driver’s side B-pillar and now need to get the stainless steel sill fitted – I’ve already trimmed it to accommodate the welding at the bottom of the pillar and now need to make the front wing fit better.



Adventures good and bad…

It appears that the window trim is supposed to have a sharp end – standards in the 70s were not as they shuld have been! Thank you Keane (my Amero/Aussie Aston guru chum from the AMOC forum).

So I’ve put it all back again and started on the driver’s door.

Getting the door frame and glass into the door meant taking the door off the car, which has given me the chance to dress the B-pillar and get the SS sill back on.

Of course because we welded in a repair section at the bottom of the B-pilla,r the sill doesn’t fit. So this week I’ll be fettling it to fit.


Fitting the new window rubbers was a good half day’s work – the new window seals had to be stretched out and glued to the stainless trims – first peeling off the old rubbers and cleaning away the old glue.






So right now the door is off with the frame and glass fitted – the b-pillar is ready for colour coat and clear coat, and the sill is ready to be fettled to fit.

The good adventure…

Last weekend I had a happy little adventure. I was due to go up to Newport Pagnell to make arrangements for the engine rebuild, but Stephanie was otherwise engaged. A friend of mine from the Bentley Drivers’ Club told me he was travelling up for the Works Auction and Concours and was driving a Lagonda Wedge – he offered me a lift.

The Lagonda belongs to Roger Dudding – owner of the legendary Studio 434, and i had the chance for a quick drool round some of his collection before we set off.


Had to take this – before Dulwich we lived next door to Madame Tussauds just off Baker Street…

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And this is what we drove up in…

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…and good to see an old friend in the works department (not in the auction)


So what was the bad adventure?

Well, getting back to London I began to feel unwell. Thinking I had another kidney stone on the way I went into A&E at UCH and found myself in for the week with an acutely inflamed colon. Frustrating as i had a lot to do last week following the election – and also not being able to play with the car!

And finally…

A piece of very exciting news – I have a new colleague. One Mr Bond! UNMAS Ambassador