This is going to be a fun little blog post because I've got a few random things to cover. I'm hungry, I've got track prep to do, emails to answer, and race car parts to fondle. So no wasting time, let's jump right in!
My girlfriend wrecked my grey V8 Vantage
How's that for an opening line? As if the drama surrounding my red project car wasn't enough (more on that below), now my grey car needs to be fixed as well. She asked to drive it to work one day and I let her, but I said repeatedly watch the front lip - it's low, it's way out in front of you, and it's expensive. I've already got one car to fix, I don't want to have to fix another. It's easy to bump the front lip of these cars, and my grey car is far more prone to that given its super-low stance and how far the front lip sticks out. She took my car to work, parked it, took a pic, and walked away. Here's that picture.
Unfortunately, the handbrake wasn't fully engaged. She didn't leave the car in gear (honestly, I never did prior to this incident, either). It rolled forward. Into a pole. So a few minutes later, after collecting herself from the fetal position she assumed on the ground in the parking lot, she took another picture. Here it is.
What most people would find surprising is that I barely even reacted. Truth is, I already knew how much this damage was going to cost to repair.
Because it's the third f***ing time the front of my grey car has been hit.
That's right. Just last summer, a drunk driver swerved in front of me and slammed on her brakes. I reacted quickly enough to prevent major damage (not major does not mean not expensive in the world of Aston Martins). Here's the damage that did.
When it happened, the driver got out of her car, stumbled over to mine, looked at it, and then got in her car and took off. She tried to flee the scene! Luckily my passenger was quick-witted enough to take a picture of her license plate.
The first time this happened was just seven weeks after I first bought the car. An old guy in an almost-as-old SUV didn't want to go literally five parking spots further to park, so he threw his SUV into reverse and backed up into my car when he saw someone getting into their car next to where he was at that moment. Here's the mess he made.
I had only had the car for seven weeks at that point, and CRUNCH. It was in the repair shop for two months! Not a great way to start my Aston ownership experience.
Um... in hindsight, maybe I should have gotten the hint?
The story with the old man is actually a lot longer, and it's one I'll have to write about in its own blog posts one of these days. The takeaway is that if anyone needs help with diminished value claims, give me a shout. I almost started a company to help people with them for Astons and other exotics. I'm stretched too thin to do a ton with it now, but I'll be happy to give you some good guidelines.
My girlfriend is buying me racecar parts
Not directly. But since my car is all messed up and repairs are needed, why not make some upgrades? She punched my car in the face with a light pole, so me getting race car parts is only fair, right? And it turns out I have easier access to Aston Martin Racing's parts catalogue than I originally thought. Not easy access, just easier. So if you're interested in getting silly with modifications, hit me up. I love silly.
And how's this for silly? The optional lightweight front bumper beam and from the GT4 and GT3 race cars (and all the necessary parts to fit it) is only 3 lbs 2.4 oz!!
While my car is under the knife getting repaired, I'll be changing out a few things. The AMR lightweight bumper beam and mesh grille, plus deleting the air boxes and swapping out the standard chromed fender vent strakes for carbon fiber ones (a 3.25 lb weight savings for those). I'll also be replacing my thrice-busted hood with one from a V12 Vantage. I'm not a huge fan of the style of it, but I need the extra vents for cooling given how hard I thrash this car.
Side note: I did nearly buy the hood from the GT12, which I absolutely love, but... it was well into the five figures and I just couldn't do that. Plus, had I bought it, you'd see it in that pic up there... you know, the one with the busted hood.... the girlfriend is alive today only because I didn't buy that hood [insert vigorous but awkward and rather uncomfortable laughter here].
The car needed a refresh anyway, and I'll be shedding some serious weight during the repair process. So I can't be too mad (yes I can).
Red car refresh
My red V8 Vantage project car is now at the body shop and getting a makeover. I'm very happy to say that the issue with the transportation company has been amicably resolved. The owner of that company did handle the situation professionally and has paid for the damages. I still have nothing good to say about the driver, but the situation is resolved and it's now in the past. Time to move on!
I'm getting ready to order a set of BC Forged RZ39 wheels in Widepants fitment. I'll be getting them in gloss black to keep with the car's existing theme, but here's a pic of the wheels in blue because it's so damn pretty:
While I'm a big fan of the weight loss I've achieved with my grey car (including using OEM-sized wheels and tires), I want to show how much variation there can be to suit everyone's tastes. And, spoiler alert, my long-term plan for the red car is forced induction so I'll be needing a meaty set of tires!
I'm also planning, eventually, to update the car's interior. Specifically, I'll be swapping in the newer center console, radio controls, crystal key, and a few other things. My plan for the red car is to make it nicer, plus show some variety, and part of that means differentiating it from my grey V8 Vantage. They're both the same year and same model, and I want to show just how flexible these cars can be to modify to anyone's exact tastes.
Expansion, and other good words!
If you're wondering why my immediate plans for the red car don't seem too ambitious, it's because I'm pouring money into several things all at once and, well, I work for a living. Seriously, between Redpants and my day job, I work 60-80 hrs per week. Almost all the money I get from sales on Redpants goes into increasing my inventory and developing new parts. I've got intake filters and two sets of coilovers getting finished up in the near future, plus plans for exhaust components, a third set of coilovers, and my long-delayed seating project. I say "almost all the money" because I did spend a small portion of it on unlimited drink vouchers for the cruise I'm about to go on.
Heck yes, segue!
I'm taking my girlfriend on a cruise the first week of April, so Redpants will be on hold during that time. We'll be gone from March 31st through April 9th. I will have internet on the ship, but I have no idea how good it will be. Plus, I'll be on vacation. A much needed one. I wasn't kidding when I said I work 60-80 hours per week. This really is a passion for me, though, so I doubt I'll be able to detach myself from it entirely. But, fair warning, responses may be delayed and/or/probably inebriated in nature.
My dear friend Tim has left Aston Martin and is starting up his own shop! If you've read my blog posts about the stalling problem or wonky fuel gauge, he's the man behind fixing those problems. He's also helped me more than I can possibly describe with technical questions over the last few years. He's starting his shop in Oakland, California, and I'll be there for his grand opening. I'm extremely excited for him, and wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone that needs anything done, without reservation or hesitation.
I've added Castrol BOT270A gear oil to my online store. This is the unicorn-extract gear oil Aston uses, and it's what I recommend for the SportShift transmissions (I recommend it and Motul Gear 300 for the manual gearbox).
And I'm doing a couple track days this weekend at Summit Point. I'll get to see how much of a difference my VelocityAP clutch and lightweight flywheel make on track, and putting my Hawk HPS 5.0 brake pads to the test. This is the same track where I outdrove the Porterfield R4-S pads, which are my favorite street pad but I don't necessarily recommend them for track driving.