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”

HELP! Please join me and have some fun at AMOC Track Day 2019!

I would really like to get all the Aston Martin owners near me to come out to the upcoming AMOC West Track day.   I’ve done this every year I’ve had my Aston and it’s been a little sad when only 10 Astons show up and we have to fill the rest of the event with BMW’s and Porsche’s (fine cars, just not my tribe).  Can you make the pilgrimage for a day of fun?   Please do.

Track day ISN’T racing day.  You may feel trepidation about coming out to the event since you don’t think of yourself as a ‘racer’.  This event isn’t about racing, its about taking your car out on a safe piece of road and being able to feel it accelerate on the straights and hug the corners, all in the safety of a racetrack.   Racing other cars isn’t part of it.

In the past we’ve had all manner of the Gaydon era cars (DB9, Vantage, DBS, Vanquish and 4 doors), plus a smattering of older Vanquish, Vantage and even some DB5’s and DB6’s.   I’d love to see some new DB11 and Vantage (Dare I dream for a Superleggera to appear?)

This is a privately organized event by AMOC title, Aston owner and enthusiast George Wood.  Here is how the event generally works out:

  • We hope to fill the event with 40 Astons
  • The event will be on Sunday January 13th, 2019
  • The event is held at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California.
  • George asks that you sign up in advance so he knows who’s coming and can plan accordingly for food, etc.
  • Those travelling from a distance often choose to stay at one of hotels in nearby Willows, California (about 10 minutes from the track).
    • The Holiday Inn Express is new’ish and reasonably priced.  Check out all your options here.
    • You could stay in Napa Valley or Sacramento the night before and make the drive out early in the morning.  I leave Sacramento about 6am and get to the track right about 7:30am.
  • An informal group dinner is held at the Casa Ramos restaurant in nearby Willows at 7pm for those staying overnight Saturday before the event (click here to learn more about Casa Ramos)
  • Cars start to arrive at the track about 7:00am on Sunday morning.
  • George will meet you in the main building and sign you in
  • A nice buffet breakfast is served starting at 7:45am
  • At about 8:30am a drivers meeting is held to lay out the rules for the day
    • This is a TRACK day, not a RACING day.   No one is allowed to race.
    • Everyone wants to finish the day with undamaged vehicles.  Everyone respects that.
    • The group is split into Novice/Intermediates and Experienced.
      • I usually run in the Novice class – less stress and I don’t fancy myself a racer.  I just want to get out and listen to the roar of the engine on the straights and not worry about tickets for a change.
      • Passing is generally limited to safe and controlled waive byes only in specified areas.   If you are just out for a fun stress free day, this is your group
      • The Experienced group is for the go fast folks that want to push their cars a little harder.
  • Racing helmets are required.  Not to worry, the track rents them for a nominal fee for those that don’t have their own.
  • Experienced drivers are at the event and will gladly take a few laps with you to help you get acquainted with the track.   Very worthwhile if you are a complete novice and a little nervous
  • The groups alternate 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off.
    • You can pull off anytime you want, and go back out anytime you want during your session.
    • 30 minutes may not sound long, but its just right when you are doing it.
    • The 30 minutes in the pit is some of the most fun time to BS with the other owners and ogle all the cars.
  • A lunch is catered at 12 noon and everyone relaxes and refuels.
    • This is a good time for a Group photo session
  • The afternoon is more sessions until we all tire out.  I’m usually mentally done by 4pm and make my rounds to say goodbye and head for home.

You can even bring a friend!   My Sweetie usually comes along and George only asks for a nominal extra fee to cover the meals.  She usually drives a session or two.

Planning on attending?   Check out my article on how to prepare your car for a track day.  It’s easy.  I’ve blogged about my past track day outings with the group and you can see some photos and videos here.

Help me out!  Let’s fill the event completely with Aston Martins.  Download the signup form here and please send it back to George ASAP so he reserves your spot.

Also – Please leave me a comment below if you are thinking of coming, and we can say Hello in person at the event.


Here is a short video describing the event:

EBC Red Stuff Brake Pads SUCK for Street use in an Aston Martin DB9

“Squeeeeeaaaaaallllll”   “Squeeeaaaal”   “Squeal”   You better get used to that noise if you are looking to run a set of EBC Red Stuff brake pads in your DB9.   During my recent full brake service I figured I’d try something new instead of running another set of Porterfield R4-S pads.  I looked around at the various options, and found the EBC Red Stuff pads were a fair bit cheaper, so I bought a set off Amazon.  The savings were notable, about $250 USD for both sets of front and rears vs. $370 buying Porterfield’s.  Big mistake – and one you can now avoid making. Continue reading “EBC Red Stuff Brake Pads SUCK for Street use in an Aston Martin DB9”

Personalized Plate AML 1936

When my plates were up for renewal I succumbed to the urge to get a customized plate.  I know there is a stigma surrounding vanity plates, I generally eschew plates like “MeBallr” and “HotStuff”.  I wanted to go with something related to this blog.  She’s now sporting her new California plate ‘AML 1936’ to go along with her heritage and this blog.  It’s the short form of “Aston Martin Lagonda DB9 car number 1936”, and similar to this blogs name Aston1936.     Continue reading “Personalized Plate AML 1936”

The Paint on Early Aston Martin DB9’s SUCKS!

Click to see close up image and how chipped it is

My DB9 is a daily driver.  I drive about 5K miles per year, local roads only, no gravel roads, city and highway all the time.  I expect to get the odd nick and chip in the paint like any other car.  But, the paint on my 2005 DB9 is absolutely awful.  If you hit a mosquito with it at 5 mph it chips.  I find it frustrating of course.   I had hopes of using touch up paint to correct it, but on closer inspection during her bath today it seems pretty pointless.  Literally hundreds of tiny pin prick sized chips.  Right now she looks great from 6 feet away, but has acne if you are up close (see the photos). Continue reading “The Paint on Early Aston Martin DB9’s SUCKS!”

Affordable Aston Martin OBDII Reader

News Flash!!!  There is finally an affordable OBDII reader that can talk specifically to an Aston Martin.  If you do some of the service work on your Aston an OBDII reader is an essential tool as it can talk to the many computer modules that control the car.   I’ve written several articles already about the topic (you can find them all in this Collection here).  What was bothersome was that none of the aftermarket OBDII readers actual knew all the specific Aston Martin codes.   We could just talk to the Powertrain Control Modules (PCMs) since they were really made by Ford.   We had no access to all the modules on the “Body” port, which included the Airbag, Transmission, Door, Seat, Entertainment, and other control units.

Let me introduce you to the Foxwell NT510.   Foxwell is a Chinese company that makes a number of Automotive Diagnostic Tools.   They have updated this model to now include the codes for the Aston Martin DB9, DBS, Cygnet, Rapide, Vantage and Virage.  The unit has a color display, upgradeable firmware, can comes with a nice storage case.  Let me dive into a few details that matter. Continue reading “Affordable Aston Martin OBDII Reader”