Her Majesty's DBS Restoration Update: Undercarriage Complete!

Hello Everyone,

It has been quite a long process to restore the undercarriage, following all of the metalwork that included the louver panels inside the front wings, the new Sharknose front end, and metal finish of all of the various dents from the vandalism of 2016, as well as correcting any factory flaws- and there were many of those! (Heresy, I know) The decision was made to bead blast the undercarriage, as it is quite impossible to manually hand finish the structure, as there are so many difficult and irregular surfaces....

Her Majesty's DBS peers out to a world she has not seen since January of 2016. Awaiting transport to the bead blasting facility. I made the cart especially for her, and it is adjustable in height for block sanding and gap setting of the body panels.

At the blasters, we transferred her from the cart to the rotisserie, and she emerged from her bath squeaky clean, and ready for paint. I had to don a protective suit and gloves as not to get perspiration on to the newly blasted metal, which rusts immediately. Luckily, the summer fog was on holiday this week, and we had dry conditions in San Francisco.

The next step is to unmask, and to blast, rotate, vacuum, blast, rotate, repeat. That naughty bead has a mind of its own and finds places to hide. We don't want any of that in the spray booth!

Here we go! Fresh masking, and 2 coats of PPG Red Oxide 2 part epoxy primer. Identical tot he factory original, but a far,, far better material that will remain flexible and not shrink. Illegal in CA, I had a lovely drive across state lines to Nevada...

As I am in the body shop supply business, I found a seam sealer to match the factory original butyl material, except, once again, this modern urethane offering will not crack, peel, or shrink. In period, Aston Martin and many others would seam seal over bare metal, which traps moisture and the panel rusts from within. I applied this sealer over primed metal, so she should be preserved for far beyond my lifetime.

A special, adjustable undercoat gun was used, which replicates the texture and pattern of the original underseal from over 50 years ago. I studied the original patterns not only on this car, but at 3 different restoration shops, including the factory, so I would get the sheen, finish, texture, and patters all correct. Aston left many upright surfaces unprotected in terms of undercoating, and I will shoot a clearcoat over the red oxide to give some scratch protection during reassembly.

The end of the undercarriage restoration, but Her Majesty's DBS will be back in another installment...

Next: Body cavity wax, then transfer to the body cart for the last time. Unmask the aluminum body, and mask the undercarriage. Prime body, add a sealer, then assemble primed doors and boot and bonnet lids for the block sanding, or blocking phase. Then, it all comes apart for painting.

Cheers, Tom

Comments

  • 72897289 Beau DesertPosts: 1,689MI6 Agent

    Your dedication to “getting it right” is inspiring. Lookin forward to more updates. The finished DBS will be spectacular .

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 1,989MI6 Agent
    edited August 9

    Another wonderfully detailed instalment Tom. I really enjoy reading your updates (and looking at the pictures!😊) The level of detail you are going to, right down to factory original and better where necessary, is just mind blowing. It feels like it's getting agonisingly close now. Looking forward to your next report and hopefully seeing this beauty on the road again in 2022!🍻

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • Gebruder GumboldGebruder Gumbold San FranciscoPosts: 496MI6 Agent

    Thanks, Old Man.

    Here are some further photos, as I finished the job and am now ready to tackle the ally body...

    The Wurth SKS undercoating and the wonderful UBS gun, with both material jet and fan spray.

    Really tricky to purposely make runs, drips, and overspray. Should be no hard tape lines, and all edges should be feathered to represent a quick, and rather informal application of the original underseal. It is so much easier to mask in a straight line..but in the world of bespoke, hand made cars in period....there are few straight lines!

    Hope to have some sexier photos next time.

    Well, back to work...you've no idea how it's piling up!

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 1,989MI6 Agent

    Thanks for the additional pics. Your attention to detail holds no bounds sir.

    "Well, back to work...you've no idea how it's piling up!"😄👌

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • Gebruder GumboldGebruder Gumbold San FranciscoPosts: 496MI6 Agent

    Thank you, Old Man.

    This is what I started with way back in 2008...

    Bid the rotisserie Au Revoir today, as she now resides on the body cart that I made- which mounts on the suspension pick up points. This is a critical step, when setting door gaps and block sanding, as the chassis will flex and give a false reading if the correct points are not used. Imagine painting the car, then trying the doors and they hit fenders- don't laugh, I have seen it happen. Next step is to unmask the ally body, and mask up the undercarriage. Then, prime the aluminum body, assemble all panels: Doors, bonnet and boot lids, gas doors, etc, and begin the block sanding process. This is where I will recuse myself and let the pros do the work. The trick is to know what you can and cannot do efficiently and well, so I have no trouble letting Alex, my painter, handle this step. Naturally, I will be there to do the grunt work, and a bit of sanding- if asked to. Thank you for the vote of confidence.

    Cheers,

    Tom

  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,560MI6 Agent

    Unbelievable!

    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
  • Gebruder GumboldGebruder Gumbold San FranciscoPosts: 496MI6 Agent

    Just Arrived!

    Those of us with strong "Attention to Detail" streaks will hopefully find this interesting...

    The 2 DBS cars used in OHMSS had slightly different spec, as all period hand made Astons did. GKX 8G, Chassis # DBS/5234/R was fitted with "French Lighting" on the build sheet. The corresponding Parts Book shows a 5 3/4" Cibie 3670021 for the Dip Beam, and 3670013 for the Main (high) Beam. The lenses on these lamps are NOT yellow, only the bulb holder is, for the quartz iodine 55W lamps (x4). This is why only at certain angles can you see the yellow in the headlamps. Lenses are for right hand traffic, or LHD vehicles.

    Now, to find a set of these lamps in any condition is gold, as they are very, very rare, and subsequently, expensive. Unobtanium, as we say in the restoration business...

    These are the dip beam 3670021 Cibie. I have wanted these since 2008, and, following many attempts, finally landed a rebuildable set, in France. A friend of mine just ahppened to be visiting Paris, and he stopped at a couple of retro optique places for me. Of course, he found one, then two. Always works that way. Good to have spares, though. I had to send them to a specialist in Germany, who kept them for over a year, and then FedEx had them sit on their dock for nearly 6 months while claiming "Covid Cutbacks." I also got hit with German import duty, which took another 5 months to get refunded. Add the purchase price+freight to USA+freight to Germany+ return freight+restoration costs= about $3000 for just the set of Dip Beam (Low Beam) headlamps.

    The Main Beam headlamp. Note how the lens differs from the Dip Beam.

    Now, the trick also is to find the lamps with the correct codes on them. The "IODE" stands for Quartz Iodine, which today is simply "halogen." Luckily, I even have some NOS (New Old Stock) Iodine lamps, just to be authentic.

    Here is the correct Lucas headlamp for the UK spec car, seen here in a period road test article:

    FBH 207G, the other DBS used in the film, had these lamps fitted as well. They are also rare, but not unobtanium, and come on Ebay from time to time. Lucas period parts are becoming expensive as restorers thrive for originality. Collectors also hoard them. My set of 4 Lucas came from a collector, and I had to pry them from his grip with lots of money, a good veal parm, and promise of eternal gratitude....

    Well, that's it for now, thank you to all for the kind thoughts.

    Cheers, Tom

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