Silver Aston Martin

Desmond J. Smail

Heat soak and the temperature-related degradation of component finish can be greatly reduced by a plasma-sprayed ceramic coating already relied on by several Formula One teams.


Desmond J. Smail, one of Europe’s leading specialists in exceptional classic Aston Martins, is already using the technique. “Most classic cars have very poor thermal management from new,” explains Desmond Smail. “Our customers today don’t want to be cooked by exhaust manifolds close to the scuttle or have the finish of their rebuilt engine ruined by heat within a few thousand miles. They also expect reliability equivalent to modern vehicles, so components and fuel systems have to be protected from the heat of the engine. Zircotec’s high temperature coatings have proved extremely effective at addressing all of these issues.”

Smail also points out that the plasma sprayed ceramic coating (Performance White™ ) is often chosen just for its aesthetic qualities.

“In its natural state it looks like period asbestos paint, but of course it lasts many times longer making it ideal for competition cars. For road cars, we usually specify a Silver Finish that matches the engineering quality of the DB series,” he says.

“We have found Zircotec to be a very professional business, managed by people who genuinely care about quality and service. They are a great supplier for a specialist in high quality, high performance restorations.”

Manifolds are one of several components that can have these kinds of ceramic coatings applied, helping to protect classic cars from the effects of excessive heat.

The Zircotec coating process

The zirconia based ceramic coatings have a thermal conductivity of less than 1.7 W/m K, so provide an excellent thermal barrier. When applied to an exhaust manifold system the Zircotec coating inhibits the radiation of heat from the surface of the material, holding the heat inside. The coating can also be applied to other components including heatshields and carbon composites.