Monthly Archives: May 2006

Aston Martin Parts

Previously when I’ve tried to order Aston parts from an Aston dealer they’ve asked me to call Mark Hewitt from AML Heritage to confirm the part numbers so they could order the bits for me.

I decided I was being lazy so borrowed Nigel’s parts book and looked up a number for myself. But the number had changed so the dealer was confused.

I phoned Heritage, but instead of an ever helpful Mark I had an answer phone message suggesting I contact a dealer. I could see an endless loop here.

I ordered the new fuel pipe from Puddleduck.

The entire car seems to be built around that fuel pipe, so progress should continue quickly once the pipe is installed. Even more progress if I could bolt in the wheelarch liners with screws that I can’t find (doesn’t anyone make affordable 1/2 inch no.10 UNF hex screws any more?) Edit> picked them up from Namrick but oddly they seem to be getting scarce.

Painting Progress

I had a few issues with painting other than the colour match. I started to get surface crazing where I’d feathered the original paint. According to the book this can happen when spraying over paint that’s 0.3mm thick or more. I think Aston managed 0.3mm when they originally painted the car, and the ’80s respray was even thicker.

It was possible to get around it by spraying very light coats. I’ve lacquered the A pillar so that further painting can be done with the door in place. At the very least the whole side of the car will need painting to disguise the colour matching.

An immaculate Oscar India visited the farm today, fresh from a very high quality bare metal respray. That’s the way these cars should look. I’m going to get some quotes as there is no reason why this OI can’t look just as nice (other than the cost of bare metal resprays obviously).

(The colour match isn’t quite as bad as it looks in the photo – the front wings are in shadow, and they haven’t been lacquered which changes the way light is reflected. The front of the rear wings represent the new colour more accurately.

Poor metallic colour match

First colour coats

Take care of that elbow Nigel.

Having worried for weeks about blending in metallic paint I finally read a book. It’s called “Vehicle Painters Notes” and was written by an Aston guy – Peter Child, who worked in quality control at Newport Pagnell while they were still building V8s. (ISBN 0-632-01873-9)

Turns out blending metallic is easy. Metallic paint consists of base coat followed by a couple of coats of lacquer. For blending in you would mix metallic 50:50 with the lacquer and spray slightly further than the edge of the repair with the metallic base coat. Then mix 25:75 and spray a little further into the rest of the panel. Finally mix 10:90 and spray the whole panel.

Metallic is less forgiving to spray than solid colour. I was having problems with solid colour a couple of years ago, then took a long hard look at my old spray gun (with the damaged nozzle). It went into the bin and I bought a new gun that was actually suited to my compressor output. Great results with solid colour since then, but it’s been a while since I sprayed metallic.

The metallic finish was good, but the colour was wrong!

The Aston was resprayed (badly) in the ’80s. The colour is nice, but it’s slightly lighter and not quite as green as the original Tourmaline paint. That’s annoying.

Options from here are to blend in some special paint matched brew from the paint shop, or to return the whole car to the original colour (probably the job of a paint shop as I wouldn’t be confident with metallic over a large panel area).

First colour coat

On the plus side even I can’t see the join in the aluminium wings.

Aston in Primer

I’ve already sprayed self etching primer onto the aluminium wings (nothing else would be likely to stick), and have sprayed a couple of coats of high build primer. This will be sanded down with a guide coat, and depending on how that goes we might see some colour soon.

Results so far are pleasing with the location of the welded join in the wing undetectable.

Aston Martin masked and primed

Rain stopped play this afternoon, so I finally decided to sort out the fuel vaporisation on the MGA by making some new heatshields. It very embarrasingly conked out yesterday in a multi-story car park, thankfully just at the top of a ramp so I could push it out of the way and let it cool down for half an hour.

The Psychology of Aston Restoration

The Oscar India project has been through it’s ups and downs (and as a result has taken far too long). I think much of the delay is down to the psychology of car restoration.

The chassis welding on the OI went quickly as I have a lot of confidence in mild steel welding. The biggest delay was down to welding the aluminium wings back on. My thought was “Oh my god this is an Aston Martin and I can really screw this up if things go wrong”. It took a couple of weekends to learn to weld aluminium, but it must have taken me a couple of months to build the courage to weld the wings back on. But it all turned out OK in the end:

Front aluminium wing welding

Another mental block of mine is blending in metallic paint. That’s a job for this week. Fortunately in this case I have a backup plan – if it doesn’t go well we can take the car to a paint pro for a full respray (which would also help with other parts of the car that have a little bubbling or dents).

I’ll have to paint the door shuts whatever happens so may as well attempt blending in paint over my repairs. I’ve nothing to loose. And that’s the thing. It’s something that has to be done, and it’s not a problem if I screw it up, so it happens quickly.

I’m not sure of the answer to this car restoration psychology issue. For the most part it’s good to treat the Aston like any other car – after all it’s got MGB door handles and steering column so why not pretend the rest is MGB?

The other way around is thinking up back-up plans for when things go wrong. For chassis welding it’s no problem – you can get better at welding and then try again, scrap the bugger, or send it to someone else. For visible repairs it’s a bit more of an issue, but again for the most part you should be able to give it a go and if it doesn’t work there is bound to be someone else who can sort the mess.

Really there is no reason for anyone to share my psychological issues. I’d encourage any owner or enthusiast to get stuck in. Nothing can go wrong – you’ll most likely get things right with a little research beforehand, and if anything does go wrong there will be someone who can sort it out.