Rich’s Grey 2007 V8 Vantage
Infotainment and Electrical
As fantastic as an Aston is to drive, it does leave a lot to be desired in the amenities it can offer. Sure, people don’t buy a six-figure, hand-built, exotic British car because it can connect to their phone to handle phone calls over Bluetooth. That’s what a $20,000 Toyota is for. But for those of us that daily drive our cars, such creature comforts do help substantially.
I first connected with James Hawkes-Reed several years ago while trying to fix a speaker issue in my car. We only spoke a few times over the years after that but things changed when I started Redpants. His new company offered infotainment upgrades that would be of huge interest to myself and my customers so we linked up and started collaborating.
James and his business partner Lenny are the guys behind Aston Installations in England. They visited me in Tampa to be the focal point of a Tech Day that I held in 2018 - my first ever event that I’ve hosted. While here they installed their infotainment upgrades in my car (as well as several customers’ cars). Here’s what that looked like.
We were going to hold another Tech Day a year later in Austin, TX, but that had to be cancelled. There were a few major factors for us to pull the plug, one of which was James and Lenny having a new system that was nearing completion but wouldn’t be ready in time for the planned date.
Their original system mirrored a cell phone screen on the OEM navigation screen. Their new system actually installed Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the car, also using the factory nav screen. Their module does both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - it automatically detects which kind of phone you have and loads accordingly. Here’s how that looks.
Many people will say to just listen to the sound of the exhaust and enjoy the driving experience. Yes, I do that sometimes. But I also commute 50 miles per day in my Aston, a decent portion of which is on Florida’s notorious I-4 highway. Without Waze and streaming music, I’d lose my mind!
Front and Rear Cameras
In the videos above you can see the front and rear cameras that can be added onto the system. Those cameras are one of the best investments I’ve made in any car, ever. Lots of us have hit our front valance on curbs while parking. Some of me have done it a few times. The front and rear cameras, especially that front one, have paid for themselves by preventing me from having to replace yet another valance or front undertray, not to mention the stress of parking and the embarrassment when you misjudge the distance to the curb.
The cameras are an add-on to Aston Installations’ Infotainment Upgrade package and I can’t recommend them enough!
Hella Supertone Horns (Experimental)
Purely for self-defense, and partially because of the factory horns stopped working and needed a replacement, these horns are looooud. They’re currently in the prototyping and testing phase as they aren’t plug-and-play, nor is there a convenient, discrete place to mount them. Once they’re done I plan to offer them in the Redpants online store as a complete package, and no more being run off the road by distracted drivers not paying attention when they merge into my lane!
Lightweight Battery Kit
The second custom product I ever made for Redpants was my lightweight battery kit. It uses a Braille B3121 battery chosen specifically because of its large energy reserve and cranking power while still shedding nearly 30 lbs from the car.
Here’s the used OEM battery.
And here’s the new Braille B3121 battery with the lightweight battery kit.
Removing the OEM battery is a huge pain but we all have to do it at some point. When the time came for me, I was very happy with dropping some serious weight at the same time.
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