The Aston Martin Vantage has an undeniable appeal to it. Sleek, well-proportioned and, many would agree, painfully pretty, it also carries the aura associated with the Aston Martin badge. Classy, elegant and yet one look at the car itself is enough to deliver that thrill of anticipation. That only ramps up once the engine is turned on: it sounds fearsome!
So, aside from its heritage, what makes the Vantage such a head turner? The intricate xenon lights with inner LED indicators are a good start, along with flowing lines where every exterior feature has been painstakingly designed to maximise aerodynamics – even down to the elegant flip-out handles recessed into the doors. Shorter than the DB9 by 313mm, 60mm lower and with a wheelbase 140mm shorter, the baby Aston Martin has a definite and aggressive stance compared with its big brother. Riding a lightweight chassis of extruded aluminium, pressings and castings, the Vantage is bonded and riveted together in a manner similar to that used for the popular baby Lotus, the Elise. The Vantage, though, is powered by a 4.7-litre V8 delivering 420 bhp and 347 pound-feet of torque. Featuring a dry sump lubrication, the Vantage stands up well to the forces generated through enthusiastic cornering – a thrilling sensation. This set up also allows the centre of gravity to be that bit lower. Steering is well weighted and delivers a comforting sense of accuracy, firmer suspension introduces a level of compliance and the whole package comes together to provide a decent amount of feel and body control even at speed.
The owner of this Vantage is a true enthusiast of the marque. Having traded in his older version (on a ’59 plate) he purchased this late 2016 model around two months prior to booking it into UF Studio. Initially, the paintwork had looked impressive at the dealership, but swirls and scratches were immediately noticeable as soon as it was brought into direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight shows every blemish in paintwork, it’s very unforgiving, especially on black paintwork. It’s why the detailing lights we use in the studio are daylight emulating so we can take note of every blemish that needs to be corrected. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
Booked into UF Studio for Paint Correction to take care of the myriad of wash swirls and deep scratches which were dulling the gloss and impacting the appearance of the Vantage, the owner also took the opportunity to have the glass and wheels protected with a hydrophobic coating. In addition, he opted to have XPEL ULTIMATE Plus Paint Protection Film (PPF) strategically applied to the Vantage to protect it against stone chips.
Constructed from advanced elastomeric polymers, XPEL ULTIMATE Plus is self-healing and has been treated to prevent it from becoming discoloured through UV radiation and contamination and the slick nature of the film means contamination is repelled. This helps preserve the appearance of the car for longer. The areas to be protected with PPF were: the front bumper, the bonnet and half of the front wings, the headlights, the front of the rear wing, the rear of the rear wheel arches and the door mirrors.
First, decontamination and cleaning!
Dirt had collected in all the usual places and the wheel arches were no exception!
The wheels too were splattered with road grime, tar and brake dust particles.
The number plates were removed and then the plate holder, allowing for thorough cleaning of the area. The plates and holder were also individually cleaned so they were ready to be replaced on the vehicle once the detailing treatment had been completed.
Number plates trap a good deal of dirt and grime. Removing them allows the area to be easily cleaned and eliminates the chances of water leaking down the clean paintwork producing unsightly streaks. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
The wheels were first washed with UF Safe Wheel Cleaner, a pH-balanced wheel wash with a viscous formulation. The viscosity allows the cleaner to cling to vertical surfaces for extended dwelling times and enhanced cleaning power, softening baked on dirt and easily removing loose debris.
After being allowed to dwell for a few minutes, the solution was agitated with brushes and Wheel Woolies were used to reach through the alloy spokes to clean the rear of the rim.
Wheel Woolies are long-handled brushes with soft microfibre heads, available in different sizes, so you can select the head size you need depending on how closely or widely spaced the rim spokes are. With these rims, the back of them are angled downwards, making them more challenging to clean, so the Wheel Woolies really were useful for getting right to the back and into the hard to reach areas! – – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
After rinsing the wheels, UF Iron + Fallout Remover was sprayed onto the wheels to tackle brake dust particles. The active ingredient reacts with ferrous contamination, causing it to contract and break the bond formed with the rim. Iron + Fallout Remover changes colour on contact with brake dust, the colour deepening as the product reacts with the contamination.
When the colour has reached its deepest and no further reaction is observed, the solution and the contamination can be easily rinsed away.
The wheels, arches and paintwork were treated with Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD, a biodegradable degreasing agent that eliminates oily residues.
Ultimate Snow Foam was applied to the Vantage through a foam lance attached to a Kranzle K-1152 pressure washer. The foam lance draws the pressurised water along with the pre-cleaning solution through an adjustable nozzle and a thick lather is created. On the car, the bubbles lift larger particles of dirt and grit away from the panels and encapsulate them within the foam so they can be easily rinsed away before a wash mitt comes into contact with the paintwork. This makes the main wash safer for the paintwork, reducing the opportunity for swirls to be introduced.
The thick foam gets into the nooks and crannies, helping to clean even hard to reach areas and the cleaning power can be further enhanced by agitating with a long-bristled detailing brush.
Once the foam had been rinsed, the paintwork was examined for any remaining contamination that might be bonded stubbornly to the surface. The roof was not smooth to the touch indicating contamination was still present. A clay bar was used with a lubricant to remove it.
The Vantage was carefully washed keeping wash water separate from rinse water, preventing the reintroduction of dirt back onto the paintwork. The Vantage was then given a pure water rinse using an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter, eliminating the impurities from tap water responsible for leaving white spots on a drying car. The Vantage was then brought into the Studio and carefully placed on a hydraulic ramp where a BigBoi Touchless Car Dryer was used to chase water out from behind areas that tend to trap water, such as around door mirrors and badges.
The BigBoi BlowR Pro emits a powerful jet of warm, filtered air that quickly removes water from panels, vents, shuts and tricky areas such as wheel nuts. Because it eliminates the need to touch the vehicle with a drying towel, it is another step in helping to preserve the integrity of the clear coat. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
The paintwork was inspected under high-intensity lighting and areas of concern annotated on the vehicle appraisal sheet. The clear coat was heavily marked with wash swirls and several deep scratches were also noted.
Paint correction to remove the defects began with a RUPES LHR 75E Mini Dual action polisher and a FLEX XFE 7-12 80 Random Orbital Polisher. Meguiar’s Microfibre Cutting Discs were used on both machines with Koch-Chemie Heavy Cut H8.02 compound.
There were two of us working to correct the paintwork, each of us has a personal preference when it comes to selecting machines. I like the low-vibration of the RUPES Mini whereas my colleague prefers working with the FLEX XFE. We both agreed on the pads and compound though. H8.02 is particularly good for delivering longer working times as the diminishing abrasives take a while to break down and the compound itself is highly lubricating yet produces very little dust. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
At regular intervals, the progress of the correction was checked with a SCANGRIP Sunmatch detailing light.
The paintwork reacted well to the chosen combinations and two passes were sufficient to remove 95% of the blemishes. On problem areas, a third pass was required. Following correction, the paint was refined using a RUPES Yellow Polishing Pad and Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800.
For final preparation, PPF and ceramic sealant application, see Aston Martin V8 Vantage – Restored and Protected Part II
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