Last week, I was feeling pretty smug about my latest purchase, a 1998 Aston Martin DB7 for only $25,007. Despite it being the cheapest coupe with a manual transmission I could find, and everybody saying I was insane to buy one that was across the country sight unseen, my Aston Martin arrived as a fully functional, drivable car, but it did have some obvious issues. Of course, my mechanic, the Car Wizard, loves my DB7 — since his inspection found several more issues.
The seller had disclosed the AC system wasn’t holding a charge, so I wasn’t surprised by that upon delivery. He failed to mention that the original Alpine radio wasn’t working, nor the strange, and almost inappropriate looking movement of the shifter when the DB7 was in motion. The nastiest surprise, though, was the battery drain, which wasn’t obvious until I left the car sitting for a few days — and the infamous Lucas electronics sucked all the life from the battery.
The battery itself looked new, but there was still a slim chance that it wasn’t performing well, so I made my way up to the Car Wizard for a battery test and full inspection. He confirmed my suspicions that some rouge electronic element was killing the battery, which would require more time to diagnose, but he was easily able to fix my radio with a new fuse. A fresh charge of refrigerant revived the AC as well, so I was extremely happy overall, but that didn’t last long. Hoisting the car in the air brought a whole new batch of woes.
Turns out, my functional AC will only last a few days, as it’s pretty obvious the AC compressor has a major leak. The good news is it appears to be a generic Jaguar based part, so it shouldn’t be too ridiculously expensive to buy. There was also an easy-to-fix power steering hose leak, along with an oil cooler line beginning to sweat oil due to age. The rear differential also had some light seepage, but there was one major leak around the transmission that seemed pretty dire, at least at first.
Despite the lower part of the transmission being soaked, the Wizard couldn’t find the source of the leak, nor could he identify the fluid based on smell or taste. Like a Wine connoisseur, the Wizard has a subtle pallet for fluid identification from years of tasting fluids leaking from cars — because he’s a very weird man. This one baffled him. Then I realized the transmission mount itself may have been fluid filled, as I’ve encountered leaks like this with Mercedes motor mounts in the past. The Wizard quickly agreed, and we concluded this was also the cause of the strange pulsation in the gear shifter.
So I have a decent laundry list of repairs with my latest purchase, but thankfully, it’s nothing dire enough to stop me from driving it. I’ll wait until the Wizard finishes one of my current projects, such as the Viper or the McLaren, before sending this car to get sorted. My mechanic will easily be able to afford his family Christmas cruise this year — or probably an entire yacht at this point.