I haven't been posting much lately - blogs, videos, forums, or elsewhere - and I haven't really built much content to speak of on the website... what gives? I hate to say it, but at this point I'm struggling just to keep up with things. A lot of amazing things are going on: Business has been booming, my intake filters are nearly ready and coilovers are still moving forward, I've been getting more exposure from popular YouTubers like B is for Build and Tavarish, and I'm even having chats with one of Aston Martin's most senior executives. Everything is going far better than I could have ever hoped, but holy moly the stress! If you've read the About page, you may have noticed that I called Redpants a side gig. While that is technically true - it doesn't come anywhere close to paying my bills so I won't be able to quit my day job anytime soon - it's still a full-time job.
It's been a real challenge to keep up with growth. Even though I'm reinvesting all the money I get from sales back into inventory, video equipment, and projects, expanding Aston Martin parts inventory is an expensive endeavor. Add into that dealing with a series of shipping issues - everything from customs delays to shipment issues due to the FedEx/TNT merger - and trying to stand up an actual videography team, while keeping up with a flood of emails... did I mention there's been a lot of stress?
I hope this doesn't sound like a string of complaints as I'm definitely not complaining! Redpants was created as a passion project, and continues to be. So the crazier things get, the happier I am.
Speaking of being happy, my grey car will be back on the road this week!
Grey Car Rebuild Progress
As of yesterday, the front bumper fascia is prepped and ready for paint. This is the fascia from the early Vantage GT4 cars. It starts off as a standard European part, but than has holes cut out on either side of the lower opening and carbon fiber brake cooling ducts inlets mounted behind the holes. The European fascias have holes in the front center of the panel for mounting a license plate. I had the shop fill those in to maintain the cleaner look.
Behind the bumper fascia now sits a lightweight front bumper beam, which is an option on the Vantage GT4 and standard on the Vantage GT3. It gets rid of the entire front bumper armature (that giant cast aluminum piece at the nose of the car). The armature is actually a really important structural piece for the car - it is used to mount the headlights, grille, intake ducting, oil cooler (on the early cars), and even tow hook. All of these need to be changed when using the lightweight beam. The main issue is that the beam is made to be used with a car that has a different oil cooler setup than I have, so the shop is fabbing up some support brackets to hold the cooler in place. So what I was hoping would be a simple swap (out with the old armature, in with the new lightweight beam) has turned out to actually be quite the project. It'll be worth it in the end - the weight loss from the nose of the car will be drastic, giving some real performance benefits.
The undertray is beat up really badly, but I'm not concerned about that right now. I've got RSC brake cooling ducts on the car, which source air from NACA ducts in the undertray. I'll be rerouting the ducts to source air from the front bumper fascia's inlets and, once I do, I'll be replacing the undertray with one that hasn't been destroyed several times and fixed, no joke, with a piece of firewood at a camp site after being ripped down at high speeds following a scrape that loosened the leading edge, which allowed it to scoop up an errant pizza box on a back road that then got lodged against the exhaust manifold causing it to catch fire and me luckily foreseeing the impending annihilation of my car and pulling over to reach under the car and rip out the literally flaming pizza box before it could turn my car to ashes.... true story.
I've also got a V12 Vantage hood on the car now. Although I've got a bunch of carbon fiber on the car, I'm not really a fan of the carbon fiber louvers on the V12V's hood. Plus, they're seriously expensive. So I went with the new mesh inserts that became available on the V12 Vantage S dogleg manual cars. They have the normal mesh used on other parts of the car, but with carbon fiber frames.
I've got a rally coming up next weekend, so this rebuild is going to be down to the wire. The original plan was to have it done last Wednesday, but a few shipping delays and my constantly changing demands has put us back a bit. I leave for the rally mid-day Friday.... I might be getting a ride to the shop to pick up the car for the first leg of it!
I want to thank Kevin Maharaj at D&V Autobody in Dulles, Virginia, for handling this project so well. He's been on the receiving end of a barrage of ideas, changes, and demands for how I want the car done and he's taken every one of them in stride. If you're in the DMV area (or close enough to ship your car), I'd highly recommend D&V. Their attention to detail and willingness to work together on things has been absolutely wonderful. They also did the repairs to my red project car after that shipping snafu.
I've added listings for the various bits of clear vinyl that protect the lower sides of the Vantage, and I do keep these in stock and ready to ship!