Where ‘ya been Steve?

I have to admit that I am guilty.  I spent my summer playing with my Aston Martin rather than working on it.  I have neglected this blog and the YouTube channel.   My apologies.

Earlier in the year my Sweetie suggested that we do a getaway drive for fun (did I mention I love my wife).  Coincidentally – two of the regional clubs reached out to me to join their gatherings, and just like that we had the makings of two road trips. Continue reading “Where ‘ya been Steve?”

Aston Martin Dealer Opens in Walnut Creek, California

It might not seem like an issue to those living in the UK, but here in the USA Aston Martin dealerships are few and far between.   If you live in a Major metropolitan area you usually have an option, but in smaller cities they just can’t manage to survive.  I live in Sacramento, California with a population north of one million, but no luck.  My nearest dealership (up to now) was 130 miles and at least 3 hours away in Silicon Valley.   If you are an avid reader of this blog you know occasionally I sneak my car over to the Maserati dealership in town, I just just heard that they’ve given up and are closing in September.

Laura Schwab, President, Aston Martin The Americas

I was pleased to have just received a form letter from Aston Martin The Americas President Laura Schwab (read the entire letter here).   It’s not like Laura knows me from a hole in the ground (I would like to meet her though if someone out there can arrange it).   Aston Martin has just opened a dealership in Walnut Creek, California.   For those of us in Northern California this is considerably more accessible than the Silicon Valley dealership in Los Gatos, CA.  For me its now ‘just’ 75 miles and about a 90 minute drive [half a day minimum out and back for an oil change still]. Continue reading “Aston Martin Dealer Opens in Walnut Creek, California”

DBS V12 Volante Production Numbers – A Geek’s Guide

The DBS V12 coupe had been in production for over a year when the Volante version was first shown at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. Whilst the coupe was a direct replacement for the Vanquish S, the DBS Volante represented a combination that AML had not offered for 10 years by putting their most powerful engine in their flagship open car. This isn’t something that AML always offer, but when they do the results are always spectacular and instantly desirable. Who can resist the pull of a DB4 convertible with the GT engine, the late 1980s overly bespoilered V8 Vantage Volante or the super-rare 1999 supercharged Vantage Volante Special Edition. So, the DBS V12 Volante is another shining example of this rare combination.

E11213 is a very famous DBS Volante. This particular car was used during the press launch and was famously driven by Jeremy Clarkson in Romania on a feature on BBC’s Top Gear. It is one of only eight UK cars with a manual gearbox – Photo by Tim Cottingham

Continue reading “DBS V12 Volante Production Numbers – A Geek’s Guide”

My Other British Love is For Sale – 1961 MG Midget Mk I

My Aston Martin DB9 wasn’t my first love.  It was 43 years ago when I met her back in Canada.  She’s been with me through high school, watched my career develop, carried my kids around, and always been a constant in my life.   But the fact is I just don’t play with her much anymore now that the Aston has caught my eye.

I’m talking about my 1961 MG Midget Mk I of course (not my Sweetie).

I’ve decided to sell her.  Hopefully to a good home.  I won’t go into all the details here, but if you are at all interested, or know someone else that might be interested please pass this information along.

She’s up for auction now over on the BringATrailer.com website.  You can access the posting by clicking here.   The auction wraps up Monday April 22nd, 2019.

As you might imagine I have developed a extensive WordPress site with all the service history, condition, and hundreds of photos and videos if you’d like to learn more (by clicking here).

 

Come Join me at the AMOC Western Canada Meeting

Please come join me in attending the AMOC Western Canada meeting coming up July 27th and 28th in beautiful Victoria, BC.

My Sweetie and I are going to drive up from California in our DB9 to attend this event and make a long weekend getaway of it with meeting some other Aston enthusiasts along the way.   If you are heading up from south of the border, please leave a comment on this blog if you’d like to meet up along the way and make the journey as a group.   Anyone in NorCal interested in going (and take advantage of the incredible exchange rate right now where $1 USD will get you about $1.33 CDN) ?

If you are located in Western Canada or the Pacific Northwest, please consider attending this well organized event.  They are hoping to get 30+ Aston’s of all vintages to attend.

They have two great days of events planned for the Saturday and Sunday.   Day one is for AMOC members and their guests, and will include some interesting speakers like Stuart from Velocity AP and Richard from Redpants.lol,  The event will be held in a beautiful setting.  All the details about the event are listed down below (thanks to Wyman Lee for sending along the details).

Continue reading “Come Join me at the AMOC Western Canada Meeting”

The “Goldilocks” Model

Evolution of a Classic Design

I will never forget seeing my first DB9 at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. I was there shooting for a new HDTV series and was having fun looking at all the new automotive offerings. But when I laid eyes on this car, the world seemed to slow down and freeze for a moment. The noise of the crowd fell silent and I forgot where I was headed. I turned to my crew and said “we are doing a story about THIS car.” It was the most beautiful modern design I had ever seen. It was at this very moment, I swore that one day I’d own this car. I had no idea how I would ever afford it, but that did not matter. I just knew it had to be in a future garage of mine. Years later I realized that dream and nothing makes me happier than quality time with my Aston.

As a lover of classic car design, I believe that in the future we will look back at the DB9 as the “Goldilocks” model of this era. What I mean by that, is the design is just right compared to what came before and after it in the series. Continue reading “The “Goldilocks” Model”

DBS Production Numbers – Which is rarest of them all?

DBS V12 Coupe

“So, just how many DBS V12 coupes were built with the manual transmission?”

It’s not unusual for people to ask the Registrars questions that we don’t know the answers to.  It’s also not unusual that we make a bit of an effort to find the answer.  On this occasion we actually had to go to an awful lot of effort and put in many hours of research, but in compiling the register of every DBS built, we have managed to answer so many more questions than just the total number of manuals built, and to uncover the truth about the most talked about car of the Gaydon Vertical Horizontal (VH) era. Continue reading “DBS Production Numbers – Which is rarest of them all?”

Aston Martin DB9 Sport Pack Option – Is it Worth it?

Aston Martin began offering a ‘Sport Pack’ option on the early DB9s to spice the model lineup after its initial year or two (read the announcement here).  The option included:

  • Special Wheels with slightly larger tires
  • Lightweight Titanium Lug Nuts
  • Thicker Front Anti-Roll Bar
  • Stiffer Front and Rear Springs
  • 6mm Lower Ride Height

The option when introduced was factory installed.  What was nice about this was the Sport Pack option could be retrofit to any DB9 manufactured to date by your local dealer.   The factory fitted option went for about $4,700 USD (£2,495) back in late 2006.

Sport Pack Wheel

I’ve been trying to track down the cost if it was fitted by your local dealer.  It was sold as the DB9 Sport-Pack Kit that included all the goodies.  You can still order it apparently.  The kit varies based on model year and LHD vs. RHD.  For example, my 2005 LHD Automatic Coupe would be kit Aston Martin part number 4G43-24-10811 available online today for about $8,446 USD.  This kit even includes a new steering rack.  Later model kits (MY07-09) do not need a steering rack and can be had for a few thousand dollars less.  I presume the steering racks unadvertised inclusion on the early models addresses some ‘feel’ issues.  These prices don’t include dealer install costs, so I expect a retrofit on an early model to touch $15,000 USD all in.  Ouch.

I was intrigued by the idea of tracking down some of the bits for my DB9, and recently I had an opportunity to purchase a like new set of the Sport Pack rims and Titanium lug nuts from one of the readers of this blog (thanks Austin Fritts!).

While I had two full sets of wheels (old and new), I wanted to weigh the difference between the Original and Sport Pack lug nuts and rims.   The assumption would be that the ‘Sport’ versions should be lighter right, but by how much?  Read on to get the answer. Continue reading “Aston Martin DB9 Sport Pack Option – Is it Worth it?”

The Power to Weight Ratio of an Aston Martin DB9

I’ve been pondering on ways to improve the performance of my DB9.  Is it better to make changes that add horsepower or to loose weight?  The answer is to do both of course, but which will provide more seat of the pants perceptible performance for the least amount of dollars?   Which will be easier to accomplish?   I set about figuring it out below. Continue reading “The Power to Weight Ratio of an Aston Martin DB9”

The Aston Martin DB9 Automatic Transmission

I’ve been curious to learn more about the Automatic Transmission fitted to the DB9’s.   I’m talking about the 6-speed Touchtronic II paddle shift unit that was in the majority of DB9’s from 2004 until 2014 when they changed to the Touchtronic III 8 -speed.  The DB9 had an option for a 6-speed manual transmission (stick shift) but those are rarer and I don’t have one.

What got me wondering were a few common sense questions:

  • How do you tell if the transmission fluid is topped up?
  • When does the transmission fluid need to be changed?
  • Is there a transmission fluid filter that needs to be changed?

Surprisingly, there were no simple answers.  Here’s what I learned.

[Spoiler Alert!  If you own a 2004-2011 DB9, you are overdue for a Transmission Fluid Change] Continue reading “The Aston Martin DB9 Automatic Transmission”