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 Engine Oil-Finder

1967 Aston Martin DBS

This version is developed in big haste. The company is doing badly again. A new vehicle has to be launched urgently. The prototype is immediately planned with an eight-cylinder engine, yet while the prototype progresses quickly, the eight-cylinder engine is not ready. Thus the strongest six-cylinder engine is mounted into the body, although the body is designed for a substantially more powerful engine. It is also more massive than its predecessor. Few Italian reminiscences are still present, though.
The hand manufacturing of expensive luxury cars and the mass car production seem to take place in two different worlds. Pressing machines and assembly lines on the one side, half-finished cars, and a production method that takes you back to the year 1900 on the other. The production takes 16 weeks. During this time the partly finished vehicles remain in the factory. Just four pieces are finished per week.
There is no assignment to other suppliers. Everything is home-made. For example, upholster of the seats and covering with leather hardly differs from the way it was done during the time of carriages. Only a few modern materials like plastics and/or latex are added. Every engine is put together by a mechanic in 14 days. He grinds in the valves, selects the pistons and connecting rods according to their weight categories. He is responsible for assembling the piston without causing defects to the piston rings, and the correct bearing clearance. A mistake might be traced and revealed still after years.
The styling and also the manufacturing of the car body has been moved from the Italian company Touring back to the parent firm in Newport Pagnell. The small production rate does not allow the acquisition of expensive pressings and suitable forms. Therefore, the car body skin is drawn manually by hammer and is inspected over and over again against a solid wooden model. Oxy-acetylene welding links the complete front and rear parts and the doors. The internal and external skins must be treated separately and afterwards joined together. In today's modern mass manufacturing the production of a door is a matter of minutes. Indeed, the companies with a large degree of manual labor state that it is better, however, they can not prevent that one recognizes their manual products by throwing a diagonal look at the light shades of the single car body components.
Except for the assembly of the engine the manual labor might be advantageous with the spraying. The deep brightness becomes apparent in about 20 varnish layers. It is interesting that also nowadays (2007) manufacturers of premium vehicles (e.g., VW with the phaeton) use the manual process. The last varnish layer is applied after the street test is performed. Thus, there are few add-on costs when the customer determines his individual various colour shades. Of course, leaving this freedom to the customer, unfortunate combinations with the interiors are possible, requiring psychological talent on the side of the sales person.

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