Monthly Archives: August 2007

Astons in the Air

An American company has launched the first commercial ‘flying saucer’ cars – they avoid calling them hover cars, but I suppose they are the closest thing to the Star Wars land speeders.

Will this be the future for all cars? Will the Aston Martins of 2010 float down to the Côte d’Azur?

See the BBC website for a news clip.

In honour of the Humble Pie

Although most of my life is currently spent thinking about Aston Martins, I do occasionally let my mind slip off in other directions.

One such direction is that of food.

Now being a Man of the World, I have travelled extensively, and partaken of many varied cuisines. From Champaigne and fois gras on the banks of the Seine, to rice and gristle on a back street in Indo-Chine. There are dishes I will never wish to eat again, and others that I could eat until I die.

Now somewhere in between are all those little savories and sweetmeats that are great once a month or so. In this category falls the humble British pie.

I am a member of a select group even more exclusive than the Aston Martin Owners Club. We call ourselves ‘The Pie Club’, and once a month or so we arrange to visit some historic London venue and sample their pastried offerings.

So far the most enjoyable and interesting was The George Inn by London Bridge where we had our own wood paneled dining room and two waitresses to serve the most fabulous steaming pies.

We have also been to the Grouse and Claret in Belgravia and last night the Feathers in St James’s – both highly commended.

Last night was an extra special occasion because our Pie-Master General Andrew brought his fiancée Dionne for the first time.

Of course we just had to discuss what the wedding car would be…

I just hope I get ROJ ready on time!

Pin rollers, serated washers and a drive in the country

In the parts manual the bolts which hold the brake discs on are described as M5 x 16 Durlock screws. Namrick didn’t know what Durlock screws were so I googled it – and found out that they are high tensile screws with a serated disc around the head – but are totally unavailable anymore. On taking the discs apart I found that they were held together by bolts with tab washers. I tracked down some HT hex head screws and double sided serated washers which worked perfectly.

brake screws

Old and new:


And on the diff:

My friend David got me a piece of metal just the right size to use as a drift for the bearing seats – so the axles and hubs are now provisionally fitted:

Before finally fitting the axle and hubs the splines need to be coated with Loctite to stop any movement in the shaft.

This week’s cock-up

While fitting the UJs I dropped one of the caps, and without checking it – I put it on and put the piece into the press. What I hadn’t realised was that one of the pin rollers had become dislodged, and subsequently snapped. I shall be able to replace the roller from an old UJ, but it was just another little annoyance.

Quintessential English car

As it was such a lovely weekend Malcolm decided to fix his MGA and the take it for a burn..

Country lanes are what the MGA was built for.

Born to talk

If I were to describe my first impressions of Ireland, it would be like coming home and finding someone had moved the furniture around.

Dublin was delightful – with a quirkiness of it’s own. On every corner there was music – from a Ghanian drum band to a Stefan Grappelli tribute combo. We had to venture into a pub (surprise, surprise) for a taste of real Irish Craic.

Cracking good craic

My only sour note is on the cleanliness of the streets, I wiped my feet every time I went into a building.

The locals were lovely. And the gene for speech is obviously dominant in the gaelic genotype. We had some very amusing, intelligent and honest discussions on life, politics, ecology – and of course classic motor cars.

At first glance Ireland is in many ways like the UK – and of course the Irish culture is made familiar through the vast number of comedians and musicians they export around the world. They are far more ‘European Unionised’ than we are, with the Euro now instead of the Punt. On environmental issues they are certainly taking climate change seriously – and are already implementing adaptation strategies for the future.

For those taking a short break I would heartily recommend a visit to the Brazen Head – Ireland’s oldest pub, and the National Museum. We also did the Guinness World (I have to agree with one Australian wag who said it was a bloody expensive free pint…) and the Jameson distillery – slightly better value – although at the risk of being torn limb from limb next time we go I don’t really like either Guinness or whiskey.

It's as old as i am!

I also highly recommend the one day Wicklow Mountains tour – our guide Damien must have been at least half Leprechaun, with a dry sense of humour, and a brain the size of his bus. A fascinating bite size chunk of Irish life and history.

Of course we had to have one evening devoted to the love of Astons.

Ken, a young engineer from Wicklow, drove his beatiful ’77 V8 into the maelstrom of Dublin traffic to take us out for a quite glass and a very pleasant couple of hours of chat.

Ken, calm and collected

I would have suggested we meet at this Hotel,

An appropriate venue

but I only discovered this on the last evening.

Not the cheapest place for a short break – but if ROJ is ready by then, Ireland is certainly a place to go back to for a longer holiday.

We stayed at Wynn’s a charming ‘traditional’ hotel just off O’Connell Street – quite good, but it fell down on details – the lintel of the beautiful panelled and brass lift was a scruffy old piece of wood, and the handle on the toilet cistern in our room was missing, the room – like so many in the UK too, was over-heated. Service and food were both unhurried and excellent.