Aston Martin DB7 Restored to Concours Winning Ways
The Aston Martin DB7 was a grand tourer in production from 1994 until 2004. The V12 Vantage took over from the standard DB7 in 1999. Featuring a 5.9 litre, 48-valve, V12 engine producing 420 bhp and 400 lb·ft (540 N·m) of torque the V12 effectively overshadowed its earlier counterpart, resulting in production of the standard DB7 coming to a halt in 1999. Tom Walkinshaw Racing of Kidlington, Oxfordshire continued to build the engines throughout the DB7’s production run. With around seven thousand DB7s built it has become the highest production Aston Martin model ever.
As a much loved car, the paintwork and wheels of this DB7 were showing significant signs of wear and tear. The wheels, although in good condition, had become contaminated with iron particles, a result of brake pads shredding during use. The bodywork appeared dull, lacking in the shine and sparkle expected of an Aston Martin. The owner had recently had the front of the DB7 resprayed, but the resulting paintwork looked flat and lack-lustre. This DB7 had previously won an Aston Martin Owners Club Concours event so the owner was very disappointed with the appearance of his car. Having read previous articles on detailing services carried out on other Aston Martins at the Ultimate Detailing Studio he was keen to bring his car in to have it restored to winning glory.
The paintwork was really marked when it first came in, heavily swirled from poor washing techniques and of course, the front end respray didn’t do the car justice at all. I knew it was going to take quite a lot of work to bring this back up to mark, so it was booked in for a Full Paintwork Correction. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UDS
Initially the bodywork and wheels were treated with Bilt-Hamber Korrosol to remove the iron contamination. Korrosol changes colour on contact with iron particles so it’s easy to see the product working.
To ensure the Korrosol treated the entire wheel UF Wheel Woolies were used to pass through the alloy spokes to reach the other side of the rim. After rinsing, the DB7 bodywork, wheels, boot, bonnet and door shuts were treated with Surfex-HD to remove any oily residues. Then Ultimate Snow Foam was applied to remove larger particles of dirt from the surface of the paintwork to reduce the risk of incurring any additional scratches during the wash process.
The paintwork felt quite rough to the touch so I decided to use a Square Sponge Clay Pad, a type of washable, reusable decontamination sponge that pulls bonded contamination such as tar and sap away from the bodywork without damaging it. I applied a second coat of Ultimate Snow Foam to use as a lubricant and then worked carefully and methodically over the bodywork, paying particular attention to the sills and around the wheel arches. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UDS
After the decontamination, degrease and pre-wash had been completed the DB7 was washed using the Two Bucket Method, a Microfibre Madness Incredimitt and Gtechniq G-Wash Shampoo. The fabric roof was cleaned using Autoglym Fabric Hood Cleaner, a low-foaming shampoo which cleans effectively without leaving a sudsy residue behind. Rinsed and dried the DB7 was then ready for a close up paintwork inspection using a RUPES Swirl Check Portable LED Light.
The whole car was badly swirled, but it was immediately obvious the front end was going to require a different process to the rest of the bodywork. To restore the resprayed front wings, bonnet and front bumper I selected the RUPES BigFoot LHR15ES with a SCHOLL Concepts Orange NEO Spider Polishing Pad and S3 Gold High Performance Compound. Used together they are perfect for soft, heat sensitive and difficult paintwork, which, having just been resprayed, this was. The NEO Spider Pad has a criss-cross surface which allows for better air circulation and more absorption of compound, so you can work it for longer without causing holograms. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UDS
The full extent of the damage to the paintwork was even more obvious part way through the correction process, with a corrected section of panel next to an uncorrected section.
For the rest of the bodywork the SCHOLL Concepts Black SofTouch Waffle Finishing Pad with S40 Anti-Swirl Compound Black was used on the RUPES BigFoot.
When it came to refining the paint I realised again that different approaches were going to be required. So I refined the front end using the FLEX PE14-2-150 Rotary Machine Polisher, a 3M Black Polishing Pad and SCHOLL Concepts S40. The rest of the car was refined using the RUPES BigFoot with another 3M Black Polishing Pad and 3M UltraFina SE Polish. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UDS
To protect the paintwork and to give it added gloss, a layer of Swissvax Crystal Rock was applied. Crystal Rock is made from the highest grade carnauba wax, giving the paintwork a rich, wet-look shine that lasts up to nine months.
High grade carnauba waxes always make dark paintwork look amazing and Crystal Rock contains around 76% carnauba, so it really is special. And because it’s made from natural substances it was perfect for the fresh paint as well as the rest of the bodywork. – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UDS
With the bodywork taken care of the windows were first polished using Nanolex PREMIUM Glass Polish to remove any fine scratches and hazing. Then they were cleaned with PREMIUM Glass Cleaner before being sealed using URBAN Glass Sealant, a nanotechnology-based hydrophobic coating which forces water to bead on contact and blow away whilst driving at relatively low speeds, such as those found in urban areas.
The fabric hood was checked to ensure it was thoroughly dry (to ensure no moisture was trapped in the hood) before being sealed with Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric, a highly water repelling coating which lasts up to twelve months.
The alloy wheels were coated with Gtechniq C5 Alloy Wheel Armour, a heat resistant sealant which inhibits the build-up of brake dust and road grime, making maintenance washing much easier in the future.
In the end the Aston Martin DB7 really looked the part of the show-stopping, award-winning concours car that it truly is.
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