Saturday, February 23, 2013

One conclusive Circle

After watching the highlights of the Daytona 500 Nationwide race today and seeing yet another needless accident (its really the only racing series where these accidents take place- they need to learn from ALMS, F1, DTM where accidents are much more contained), it got me thinking about how this week has come full circle, just like a NASCAR race on an oval. 

The beginning of this week was dedicated to finishing up and delivering the 2013 Aston Martin V8 VantageS carbon wrap (detailed in last week's blog entry). It is always nice to see a nice progression of a car modification come along in stages where you can appreciate the effects of each enhancement. This Aston is proving that and was all set to be delivered Monday afternoon...

(2013 Vantage S all ready for delivery)

While going over the last minute details and inspecting the vinyl in daylight, I received a phone call from a great client, who excitedly told me he needed me to pick up his Audi R8 to prep it for trade in on his new V10 R8 coming next week. I immediately went and grabbed T from the kitchen (always cooking for her blog- ) and we headed down to his house to pick up the car.

(nothing better than double clutch rev matched heel and toe downshifts in a gated shifter)

(European sports car standoff)

Once back at the shop, I confirmed what we needed to do to the R8 to prepare it for trade in. Simply a quick clean up of the car and clear bra and to remove the carbon fiber vinyl that we installed on the side blades. Pretty ironic that after a weekend of vinyling, we would be removing vinyl the next week. Brought us completely full circle. This really does show how great vinyl is though, as we were able to remove the vinyl without any hassle and have this car back to stock form in under a day. When using a quality vinyl such as 3M 1080C or Oracal 970RA the vinyl does come right off without hurting the paint underneath. Making for a seamless and much cheaper alternative than painting a vehicle or in this car buying Audi OE carbon side blades.

(3M carbon fiber removed from side blades in under an hour and without any residue left behind)

After removing the blades from the vehicle, we quickly removed the vinyl and cleaned up the blade with some Optimum spray wax (fantastic product), and got down to cleaning up the R8 and touching up its front end clearbra, which had gotten some nasty rock chips due to all the roads under construction here in the Northeast. Using the new clear coated polymer technology in their clear bra, XPEL allows me to polish or even wet sand any scratches that may have occurred over time.

(polishing the XPEL out with a rotary to remove fine scratches)

After a quick couple of passes with the Rotary topped with some Klasse sealant and Zymol wax, the clear bra cleaned right up and our Audi R8 was ready to head back to the owner. With news that the new R8 V10 pdk model is expected in the next few weeks, prepare to see some updates of us prepping that in the near future. We can only hope it live up to the pleasure this R8 4.2 6 speed manual offered in its driving pleasure. As good as these new electronic transmissions are, they can never come close to replicating the joy of a properly executed heel toe downshift in a manual gearbox. With the way things have been going recently, don't be surprised to see a few more vinyl projects in the works over the next few weeks...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The British are Coming

While we were cleaning out from the Blizzard of 2013, one of our good clients decided to pick up a new toy. Something very reliable in the snow and cold of Boston, a 2013 Aston Martin Vantage S. You may not be able to call our client's the smartest bunch, but they have heart and love their sports cars. He decided he was not very happy with the factory appearance of the car, and wanted to talk to us about some options...

(2013 Aston Martin Vantage S dropped off for some vinyl work)

After some discussion we determined to add some carbon fiber vinyl wrap to the car's interior and bring out some subtle sportiness. All aluminum trim would be wrapped in 3M 1080C Carbon Fiber along with the entire center console and navigation surroundings. In order to ensure the best wrap possible, it is always preferable to remove each trim pience and wrap it out of the car in its bare form. This avoids most creases or poor workmanship. So we began dismantling the interior as soon as he left...

(always a scary sight- entire center console and electronics removed)

(center console and nav screen all wrapped)

(every button; including push start button, is removed to ensure full coverage of the wrap to look factory)

Completing a long day, we finally had a car back together and looked much more sporting...

    (entire center console tunnel and even cup holder all finished up)

(door handles done to continue the c/f theme)

(side sills removed and wrapped)

After finishing up the interior, we decided to add a bit of carbon fiber hues to the exterior in order to really coordinate the Aston's stock cf front and rear splitter together. We didn't want to go overboard, so we just covered the mirrors and rear taillight inserts to accomplish our goal...

(tail light inserts wrapped)

(side mirror covers help compliment the c/f theme from front to back on the Vantage S)

Overall, we are quite pleased with the subtle outcome. It looks factory and lays the groundwork for whats to come in the near future (a full vehicle wrap). This is one Aston that will stand out from the norm, while most likely still being stuck in any form of snowfall... but at least it will look good.

A week of white: Blizzard of 2013

Everyone in New England knows the drill when the weather forecast calls for heavy snow- expect the exact opposite. I do not know if its because we have pretty poor meteorologists or if the weather really is that challenging to predict here in New England, but the accuracy rate of predicted storms is usually about 20%. Once again, this predicted Blizzard seemed to be a dud on Friday morning. No flakes showing and we had numerous jobs to get finished; including a road call to downtown Boston to repair a good clients flat tyre on her Range Rover Sport, drop off some parts, and grab some necessities before the snow started falling. After finishing 5 hours worth of running around, we finally started to see snow flakes come 3pm or so Friday. They wanted to call this a blizzard? 

(calm before the Blizzard Nemo at 3:30pm)

And Then the Flakes Really Started Falling:

By about 6pm my girlfriend T had disappeared. After wandering around the house I thought she might be in the shop up to something sneaky. Sure enough, I was right... Little to my knowledge her friends had come up and decided to have a gossip drinking session in the shop during the snowstorm. 

 (3 ladies + couple bottles of Hibiki Scotch= trouble)

In order to make sure things stayed under control and because I was bored I decided I would wash Zero (my 01 BMW M5) while I had some down time...

(nothing better than hot water bathe during a blizzard)

After drying the M5, it became apparent that this storm was legit, as the winds were picking up towards 70+ mph and complete whiteout conditions. We shut down the shop and headed in to relax for the evening. The next morning proved the meteorologists correct, we had over 27+ inches of snow on the ground and a long day of snow removal ahead of us. ..

(welcome to today's workout, move 27 inches of snow out of your 300+ yard driveway)

(guess work might be delayed a few days)

(open for travel after 7 hours of snow removal)

All in all, Blizzard Nemo (or Blizzard of 2013) packed a serious punch. We were lucky to escape with no electrical, structural, or physical damage. And besides a couple tickets to some clients who decided to "practice" their oversteer skills in empty parking lots, all our clients came out unscathed. We even had some unexpected visitors the next morning, when the local black bear paid a visit. With such a heavy impact on all of the New England region, business was pretty much on hiatus for this week. Then again, nothing stays quiet for long around here...

(evidence of a friendly neighbor Bear looking for food)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Getting Started and Introducing ourselves..

Well, with the updates of our current website, , becoming less frequent due to our demanding schedule, Automotive Specialist has decided to start a blog to help keep clients and friends informed on whats happening in the shop in a more frequent and less formal setting. for more detailed information, please feel free to check out the website, which has a large update in the works. And if you need to contact us directly, feel free to email at or give us a call at 978.649.7141. 

Basic Background:

(a barn with toys)

Automotive Specialist is not your usual automotive repair shop. Located in the middle of the woods in Tyngsborough, MA in a customized retrofitted barn, we have made it a priority to not be that "usual" repair shop. There is no oil on the floor or decrepit vehicles sitting outside (excluding our 1969 plow truck- that thing is a snow savior thanks to its Chevy 350 LT1 powerplant), instead you will find colonial looking decorations and us inside making some sort of loud noise (whether it be yelling, revving an engine, or running an air tool). Inside you will quickly find a similar theme where we encourage clients to see the work being performed in an open and informal setting. 

(typical day inside the shop floor)

Many clients choose to sit in and watch or "advise" on how we should be doing something. Over the years the shop has become a hangout for clients we now consider friends. It is these type of relationships that help foster such enthusiasm and pleasure that we get out of our jobs and help to produce such good results for our clients.

(e46 BMW M3 halo ring install, have to love the small hands of Asian girls)