Monthly Archives: February 2009

All about the car….

…and nothing BUT the car.

Yes, for all you Aston Martin restoration purists – no politics and no holidays, just work on ROJ.

Having four solid days off work was a real benefit. I took my time, and everything went remarkably smoothly.

Fitting the diff and axle was particularly complicated. The space (or as the engineers call it ‘the packaging’) is very tight, plus the diff had to be jacked up in stages as each drive shaft also had to be raised and supported on axle stands to remain level with the diff.

jacking the diff

front of the diff

Each time I tried to jack the diff last time resulted in the whole car lifting up – so I loaded the back of the car with every piece of metal in the workshop – that worked.

I suspended the front of the diff on a 7 inch bolt, placed two axle stands under the body of the diff as a fulcrum. I removed both hanging bar brackets and jacked up the back of the diff so that it went up at an angle – avoiding snagging the bolt on the DeDion tube.

Then with Malcolm’s help – I pulled the diff backwards until the hanging bar ends were at an angle that when lowered would locate on the brackets – fitted the brackets and, bang on!.

On the left bracket the metalastic mount is supposed to be reversed – but everyone I have spoken to about this says it makes no difference – so as it was easier to fit the ‘normal’ way up that’s how I did it.

the left bracket note the metalastic mounting

Fitting the suspension dampers and trailing arms was easier than I expected, as was refitting and adjusting the handbrake cables.

Ever the nervous type, I take every safety precaution – including tying up the diff with an old seatbelt.

always wear a seat belt

So now ROJ has a fully functional rear axle.

When we stripped the car down it was obvious the poor thing had been treated to some pretty shoddy treatment. Cheap and badly done repairs original parts swapped etc etc.

The exhaust system was completely shot, and remarkable held on by four completely different brackets. I’ve pulled two off the spare car – but broke one in the process – the bracket frames cleaned up quite well.


The new exhaust system I’ve bought takes different brackets on the back silencers – so I’ve had to wld up the old bracket fittings on the chassis and have drilled the holes ready for the newer style brackets – when I can track one dowm to replace the one I broke!


After sifting through boxes for the exhaust mounts I removed the stearing rack and collumn from the spare car as I needed the centre section for ROJ – before fitting it though I really need to clean it up – so next time I’ll use the parts washer in the engineering shed.

The Snow

Remember the snow a few weeks ago? I couldn’t get to work on the Monday. The prep was the only school open so poor Stephanie had to go into work – leaving me to work from home. Well halfway through the afternoon I got bored, went to the garage and got Angus’s old plastic sled out and played around in the back garden for a while – this is how Stephanie found me when she came home.


Paddles, pies and peregrines


My friend Andrew married his lovely wife Dionne at the end of last year – not only were we delighted to be invited – but Andrew asked me to hold one of the crossed oars in the guard of honour – I felt very bad about not having ROJ ready to whisk the bride and groom from the reception at the Caledonian Club in Belgravia off on their honeymoon in Mauritius.

Dionne looked stunning – and stunned the congregation even more by being 45 minutes late! We had fun listening to the organist frantically finding fill-in pieces from his repertoire of Rogers and Hammerstein.

The reception was a Very Grand Affair with Very Caribbean Overtones – it was lovely. The band had previously played at Wayne Rooney’s wedding (I believe he plays football….) We danced, we ate, we drank and we wished them all the happiness in the world.. we then staggered home to bed at a very unseemly hour of the morning.


I organised the first pie club dinner of the year – at the George Inn in Borough high street – the last galleried pub in London, now owned by the National Trust – the company was excellent, as were the pies ( we scored the George an overall 4 out of 5). Turn out was impressive – with 15 regular members and three newcomers, but no Peers of the realm or Bishops this time.

Andrew and Dionne spent the evening gazing lovingly into each others’ pies….


A perk of my trade means I sometimes get to do some really intereting things.

Yesterday morning I found myself on the roof of the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament to you and me). I had arranged for a wildlife officer to get up there to monitor the two peregrine falcons that look as if they are about to nest in the Victoria Tower. On a bright clear day the view was spectacular, and the male bird was easily visible preening himself on a high ledge. The plans are to put in a nest box with webcam to keep a distant eye on their progress.

After clambering over and around the tower we celebrated in style with doorstep sized bacon sandwiches in the parliamentary staff canteen.

The Car

Half-term approaches and I am taking four days up at the farm to finish the rear suspension – I may get the front done too if I’m lucky. I shall also be hunting out all the exhaust brackets and restoring them before fixing to the underside of the car.

I hope the weather warms up….