At the start of of June 2020 an era came to a close – the end of Rolls-Royce/Bentley V8 engine manufacturing, which had first seen the light of day in 1959.
We at Aston Martin thought our 5.34-litre V8 was far superior in every way and yet, adding a single turbocharger to make the insane Mulsanne Turbo showed there was much to admire inside that sleeping giant.
The story continued with the Sultan of Brunei “specials”, culminating in the 3.5 tonne two-door convertible with four-wheel drive bi-turbo V8. Performance targets were set, the vehicle was delivered by C-130 Hercules to an airstrip, a test run was performed on the runway with the aircraft on standby, deemed to be not fast enough, and sent directly back in the aircraft.
Engineering was and is at the core of every single product. Decisions about product performance and how they are achieved are made by engineering, driven by the company’s desire to make profits.
Our job is to restore a damaged product back to full functionality, be it as a repairer, a body shop owner, an insurer or any other part of the accident management system. It is nigh on impossible – and ultimately not relevant – to remember everything about every vehicle ever made. The more efficient approach is to use our carefully honed skills to refer to get information as and when we need. We must be aware that thanks to the ever-growing pressure to reduce exhaust emissions, and soon, the pressure to reduce energy consumed during creation of a vehicle, the manufacturers are literally running to keep still.
The evidence is in the sophistication of successive vehicle designs, the creation of new sub-systems and external pressure to conform to the latest policies from governments around the world. For example, hybrid drive, plug-in hybrid drive and pure electric drive are the big stories for now, along with advanced driver assistance systems. These are rapidly evolving as the source technology improves month by month. This is building towards a new future without big batteries, without wires, and without drivers.
Here is the danger: assumption.
We could assume we know a vehicle because we have some knowledge of the current model or even a previous generation model. However, even current production has at least one significant change during its manufacturing life. So, we use vehicle manufacturer information to verify what we know. It is their responsibility to present repair information that is correct for their products, at a VIN-specific level of detail.
Our job is to take that information and apply it to the task in hand.
Where do we get information from? Well it is possible to purchase information directly from the vehicle manufacturer. However, you would be amazed where the information is located – there is no accepted standard to do this. Where we need to access multiple brands every day it makes much more sense to use services such as Ezi-Methods or subscribe to access information from multiple manufacturers in one place, without hunting for the information. My favourite? Bolt-on underside structural braces from BMW occasionally listed under the title “handle bars”.
Our training – from FNOL to completion of the claim, with repair in between – informs us about how we need to behave, and what we need to look for. We should refer vehicle manufacturer information to this whenever possible to eradicate the possibility that our assumption is wrong. Assumptions are easily made, but the results can be expensive.
By Andrew Marsh