Aston Martin Vanquish Volante – Protecting The Ultimate Volante
The Vanquish is Aston Martin’s flagship grand tourer and, as they put it, ‘represents the height of design, engineering, technology and craftsmanship’. One look at the Vanquish and it’s immediately apparent their statement is accurate. Described as the ‘ultimate grand tourer’, the Vanquish has been sculpted with smooth, aerodynamically sleek lines, enhanced by the swooping curve of the full height windscreen which rises to meet the lightweight fabric roof. It’s the first Volante with a full carbon fibre skin, reducing weight whilst retaining strength and rigidity, and there are some understated visual carbon fibre details contrasting nicely with the paintwork.
The redesigned rear aero duct takes two days to make and has been formed from a single carbon fibre piece, improving downforce and contributing to better handling and poise through tight corners.
Much thought has gone into the overall aerodynamics, with a view to improving balance and stability over other convertibles, even with the top down. All this and a dash of practicality too: the Vanquish Volante still offers 279 litres of boot space – not bad for a convertible!
Of course, it’s what’s under the bonnet that counts just as much. The Vanquish Volante is powered by the AM29 V12 engine, delivering 3.8secs (0-60 mph) and peak power of 568 bhp. Having focused on maintaining rigidity through the body, the Volante accelerates and handles like the coupe. Control of that power comes through Aston Martin’s Touchtronic III ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, giving the driver eight gears shifting in 130 milliseconds. It’s guaranteed to let you feel the wind in your hair – and possibly get those hairs raised!
Aston Martins are finished and painted by hand in a process that takes more than fifty man-hours. Appreciating that, the owner of this 2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante was keen to have the gloss restored to the dark paintwork in order to do justice to the colour and finish. At the same time, take the opportunity to ensure the fabric roof, the interior and the wheels were taken care of too. Therefore, the Vanquish Volante was booked into UF’s Brands Hatch Detailing Studio for Gloss Enhancing the paintwork suitably finished by hand with Kamikaze Collection’s flagship ceramic sealant, ‘ENREI’. Following the vehicle appraisal, the customer also decided upon Leather and Fabric protection, Alloy Wheel Protection for the diamond cut alloys, weatherproofing the Convertible Roof and ClearVision glass treatment for driving during inclement weather.
On arrival at the studio, the Vanquish had collected a fair bit of contamination, along with water spot marks, pollen and dust.
Initially, the car was treated for iron contamination using Bilt-Hamber Korrosol. When brakes are applied, small, hot particles of the pads shred and become aerosolised. The particles bond with the wheels and bodywork, swelling as they oxidise. Left in situ, these particles can cause permanent pitting, so removing them is essential for the long-term health of the substrate.
Korrosol contains an active ingredient that changes colour on contact with ferrous materials. The active ingredient shrinks the particles, causing them to break their bond with the underlying substrate and allowing them to be easily rinsed away. Next, Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD was used to degrease the wheels and under the wheel arches, removing grease-based deposits and diesel residues from grimy roads. After rinsing, the wheels were cleaned using a pH-neutral wheel wash and Wheel Woolies. These long-handled brushes are available with different sized heads, the better to fit through intricate alloy wheel designs and clean right to the rear of the rim.
After the wheels were rinsed, the bodywork was degreased and treated for sticky residues, such as pollen, using Gtechniq W8 Bug Remover. After rinsing, the Vanquish Volante was pre-cleaned using Ultimate Snow Foam applied through a foam lance attached to a Kranzle K-1152 pressure washer. The thick foam clings even to vertical surfaces and gets into hard to reach areas such as around grilles and air vents.
The dirt and grit become encapsulated within the foam and can easily be rinsed away before the main wash, reducing the chances of incurring scratches and swirl marks usually caused by rubbing a dirty wash mitt across the paintwork. The convertible fabric roof was also covered with the foam and the surface gently agitated with a brush to ensure all dirt was lifted out of the fibres. The hood was thoroughly rinsed to ensure all traces of snow foam were removed.
It’s essential to ensure all foam is removed from the fabric. Leaving any residue will encourage mildew formation and can act as a wick for moisture to filter through the roof. So, the roof was rinsed for a lengthy period to ensure it was completely clean. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
After rinsing the foam away from the roof and the bodywork, the Vanquish was washed using the Two Bucket Method and Nanolex Pure Shampoo. The Two Bucket Method keeps Wash and Rinse water separate from each other. In the Wash Bucket, Pure Shampoo is added to warm water. The Rinse Bucket contains pure clean water. Both buckets have Grit Guards in the bottom. The wash mitt is loaded with soapy water from the Wash Bucket and a panel of the car washed. The mitt is rinsed in the Rinse Bucket and rubbed over the Grit Guard, releasing particles of dirt from the pile of the mitt. The mitt is then wrung out before being dunked again in the clean, soapy wash water and the process repeated. This helps prevent cross-contamination, where dirt is reintroduced to the paintwork; the most common method of introducing wash swirls. After the car had been thoroughly cleaned, the suds were rinsed away before an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter was attached in-line with a hose to deliver a final, pure water rinse. The Vanquish was dried using soft microfibre towels and brought into the studio where an air blower was used to force all traces of water out from crevices, to prevent them from streaking down the paintwork later during the detailing process.
Once the car was completely dry, the interior was vacuumed. The leather seats were cleaned using Colourlock Mild Leather Cleaner, lifting ingrained dirt and leaving the leather feeling smooth and clean to the touch. To protect the leather, Colourlock Leather Shield was applied. Leather Shield helps prevent stains from accidental spillages, as well as inhibiting the damaging effects of UV.
The dash and instruments were protected with Gtechniq C6 Matte Dash AB, a non-gloss dressing with an anti-bacterial function that inhibits the growth of bacteria, a leading cause of unpleasant cockpit smells! The carpet was treated with Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric AB, a nanotechnology-based protective spray that coats the individual fibres, rather than the whole surface. This allows the carpet to retain its natural texture. The individual fibres are then able to repel water-based spills, helping to prevent staining from rain, mud and beverages. I1 AB also has an anti-bacterial function to prevent bacteria-induced smells forming.
It takes around 40 man-hours to trim the interior of an Aston Martin and when that kind of attention has gone into an interior, you want to make sure it’s properly taken care of! Preventing accidental staining and protecting against UV rays, which can cause leather to become brittle, as well as causing the pigments to fade is a no-brainer. The anti-bacterial function is ideal for convertibles as they spend time open to the elements, so repelling water and preventing bacteria growth is a priority. – Matt Back, UF Detailing Studio
With the interior taken care of, the Vanquish Volante was raised on the hydraulic ramp and the wheels removed for further cleaning and to allow for the protective coating to be applied uniformly. Once removed, the wheels were cleaned again and hand-polished using PolishAngel Esclate Lotion, a light polish with fine abrasives that ensure the alloys are as glossy as possible. The calipers were also cleaned using detailing swabs to get into the crevices before also being polished. Then, the wheels and calipers were wiped with a solution of Gtechniq Panel Wipe. This contains solvents which trap any traces of polish or silicone residues and flash off, leaving the surface ready to receive the protective coating. Kamikaze Collection Stance Rim Coat was then carefully applied. This nanotechnology-based sealant forms a strong chemical bond with the substrate and, once cured, provides a tough, durable, hydrophobic and oleophobic barrier, repelling dirty water and oils and inhibiting the build-up of brake dust. Resistant to high temperatures, as well as extremes of pH, Stance Rim Coat provides effective protection from road grime, chemical and environmental fallout. Treated surfaces are easier to maintain during the weekly wash. The tyres were then protected with Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing to give them a natural satin sheen.
With the interior and wheels protected, the Vanquish was raised on a hydraulic ramp and the paintwork closely inspected under high-intensity lighting. Swirls and random deep scratches (RDS) were noted on the vehicle appraisal sheet for reference during machine polishing. The paint correction was carried out using a RUPES BigFoot LHR12E Duetto dual action polisher, a Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Red Polishing Pad and Menzerna Heavy Cut 400. After the deeper scratches had been addressed and wash swirls eliminated, a Banzai Dynamics Black Finishing Pad was used with Menzerna 3800 Super Finish Plus to refine the paint and leave a highly reflective gloss. The panels were treated with Panel Wipe to prepare them for the final coatings with Kamikaze Collection ENREI.
ENREI is a state of the art 2-stage ceramic sealant for the ultimate in protection and gloss. The No.1 base primer prepares the surface by locking into the clear coat allowing strong chemical bonds to form with the top layer. The No.2 top coat provides a highly chemical resistant, hydrophobic surface that repels water, dirt, oils as well as industrial and environmental contamination. For the layers to cure properly, ambient temperature and humidity must be within strict parameters and once applied, the coating must be allowed to cure without exposure to the elements. The application method is as important to the performance of the coating as the formulation, so ENREI is available only as a service through detailers who have been trained and certified by Kamikaze Collection.
Once ENREI had cured, 3M protective coverings were put in place and the fabric roof sprayed with Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric AB to provide hydrophobic protection. I1-AB also prevents UV fade, helping the fabric roof retain its colour for longer.
The Vanquish Volante was now fully protected and the stunning reflection provided by ENREI was clear to see. A fitting finish for Aston Martin’s most prestigious model.
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