Thursday, March 10, 2011

Starting the Monumental Task of Re-finishing the Body

With the restoration of my Esprit about 2/3 finished (the rolling chassis now assembled with freshly rebuilt engine and gearbox, shift linkage, all suspension, brakes, drive train, wheels, tires, etc.), it was a momentous occasion to open the storage unit doors and wheel the Esprit body onto the trailer. It had been in storage for a year since I first tucked it away, so it was a good feeling to begin what I think is the last difficult stage of the restoration process.

Each body piece will be soda blasted, which will save me virtually months of work in removing the paint. From there, I’ll repair all of the stress cracks, cover the holes where the side indicators used to attach (the EURO spec S1 Esprits never had them and I think the car looks better without), clean up some of the seams, and then the car will be ready for paint. It’s a process that is likely to take a few months so I’ll try to post updates on the progress as I work through it.

Restoring the S1 Lotus Esprit Pedal Box

The pedal box on my S1 Lotus Esprit was in perfect shape albeit a little deteriorated. The brake master cylinder had leaked, probably for a decade, sending brake fluid down into the pedal box assembly. Most of the paint was falling off and there was some light surface rust.

While the pedal box isn’t really a component you see from inside of an Esprit, I decided to disassemble everything and have the pieces refinished, replacing the hardware along the way and the throttle return spring. After having ordered a new brake light switch and new pedal rubbers, I’m still waiting for those to arrive from overseas. Otherwise, it was a really simple job.

The pedal box needed some attention after being removed from the car.

The freshly powder coated unit assembled with new hardware.

Job done!

Refurbishing the S1 Lotus Esprit Fuel Tanks

Thanks to being a California car, the fuel tanks on my Esprit were in decent shape, with only a heavy layer of surface rust on the outside. I had the exterior and interior of the tanks cleaned, then leak tested. From there, each tank was powder coated and then sealed internally. The process wasn’t cheap, but much cheaper than purchasing new tanks from England.

The fuel tank sender worked fine, so I was thankful that I didn’t need to buy a new one. I actually don’t know where to find them anymore, as none of the Esprit vendors carry S1 units and nobody seems to know which donor car they were sourced from.

One of the tanks after having come out of the car. Both were restorable.

The tanks after being cleaned, leak tested, coated internally, and powder coated.

It’s almost a shame that the tanks look so good. They’ll never be seen again after being installed back in the car.

A nice shot of the S1 Lotus Esprit fuel tank sender. Mine actually works!

The fuel sender unit anchored into the tank and ready for the wiring harness.