Aston Martin DB7 Ownership 101 Sep 21, 2010
From the Desk of: Andy Reid
If there is one thing that is a sure thing, it is that used exotic car ownership is eventless.
I went to Portland and picked up the Aston Martin DB7 for the drive to Monterey. The car was just what I hoped it would be: not without some cosmetic issues, but still a nice example.
I started the trip to Monterey on I-5 with few, if any, issues—well, except that the air conditioning stopped working after about 100 miles. These kinds of things are somewhat expected with used car purchases, though, and I was grateful that the outside temp was only about 72 degrees.
The car was great on the road. The engine ran wonderfully, with an alluring sound coming from the blower at 3600 rpm. The only strangeness I could detect was a slight vibration at about 80 mph. The DB7 is very comfortable and provides a feeling of being cosseted in luxury. The suede headliner matched with Connolly leather and wood make it seem like a private British club transformed into a sports car.
From the very beginning of the trip and throughout the entire journey, something very fun kept happening. I would look in my mirrors and find that I was being followed by multiple drivers, all trying to get a better look at the car and see what model it was. Were these agents from Spectre looking to complete a sanction of another 00 agent? Thankfully, they were just car fans. In many instances, people actually followed me off the interstate at rest area stops to ask about the car. With all the cars I’ve owned, I’ve never had this happen.
Later that first day and two mountain ranges later, the car started to run a little hotter than it had been. I was a bit concerned, so I slowed down and gave the car a few rests. By the time I got to the California border, the car was running at three-quarters temperature up hills and one-third on the downhill parts. This lead me to believe that I had a thermostat issue. I called the dealer in Northern California and they said I could come in the next day, Monday, and have it attended to.
I got to the dealer just as they opened, and they went through various tests to determine what was wrong with the cooling system and the a/c. I was told that the a/c was the evaporator (not good, as it’s under the dash and a 10-hour replacement) and that they thought the cooling system was clogged. After spending most of the day at the dealer, I finally convinced them to check the fuse for the a/c compressor, as I thought it had blown. Sure enough, that magically got the a/c working. Also at my urging, they replaced the thermostat. After racking up a $851.75 bill, I was sent on my way. I did get a nice Aston Martin hat.
The car was still running at three-quarter temperature on hills and didn’t seem to be much better—but I did have a/c now. Oh well, dealer service is definitely hit or miss, even Aston Martin dealer service.
Throughout the week, the Aston ran pretty well—but still hotter than it should have. I called a mechanic I know in San Ramon, Glen Love from Elite Motors, and he said he could take care of the car’s issues after Monterey. I called Hagerty Plus and had the car towed to his shop Friday afternoon.
The first thing Glen noticed was that the car’s entire front undertray was missing, something the dealer completely overlooked. As it turns out, this was the source of my cooling issue. How the dealer failed to notice the complete lack of an undertray is beyond my understanding. During the visit, Glen also attended to some electrical issues I was having. It turned out that at some point, the battery had boiled over and made a bit of a mess of the trunk floor and battery box. Glen had his guys clean it up and attend to the surface rust on the trunk floor.
Glen also replaced the front shocks (which were beginning to leak), the spark plugs (which were also original to the car), a rear trans mount, and the belt for the supercharger.
While driving the car, I had also noticed a vibration from the front end at certain speeds. The culprit: Both front wheels were bent, a pretty common problem for the DB7. Instead of paying a ton of money for brand-new Aston wheels—think well over $600 apiece—I got a great deal on a pair of very nice takeoffs from the kind folks at Autosport Designs in New York.
After two weeks of addressing issues that the previous owner neglected, the final bill for all parts and labor was under $2000. That’s a very good deal for all the work that was done, and this time done correctly.
My total investment in the DB7 is still under $23,000, and I’m very happy with the car. I have no plans to sell it, at least until Vanquish prices come down further….
The car will be shipped to Illinois next week and should be parked in my garage in Illinois by October 4.
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