Sunday, January 22, 2012

Starting to Re-trim the Interior Pieces

I’m excited to be transitioning to the interior work. In my opinion, the original S1 Esprit interior (green/tartan/orange) was absolutely stunning and perfect for the time period in which the car was delivered. I’m looking forward to replicating originality as reasonably as possible having purchased “old stock” material from England and working with a local re-trimmer that is well skilled for the job.

The first pieces to come back were the instrument binnacle and the steering column cover, which I had covered in light grey Alcantara. The pieces were originally painted grey (no fabric), so my approach is a small deviation from original but I think the result will look better and stand up better to the elements. So far so good!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Restoring the Original S1 Lotus Esprit Jack & Tool Set

Even though the original S1 Esprit tool set is completely useless if the car ever breaks down (just two wrenches and pliers!), it was still nice to have the original tool and jack set. After sending all the pieces out to get re-coated and plated, the end result came out as good as original. I’ll carry a full arsenal of tools with me when I finally get the car back on the road.

Starting the Monumental Task of Restoring the Lotus Esprit S1 Interior

The original Esprit S1 interior was very fragile. Most of the pieces are held in with glue, clips or wood screws, meaning that most of the interior bits either work themselves free, break, or rattle themselves to death over time. Since I’m starting from a clean slate, I hope to fix or improve the majority of interior issues that plagued early S1 Esprits.

The first step was to cut patterns and install the heat shield and sound deadening material so the cockpit will be quiet and cool. From there I cut patterns for the carpet (14 pieces in total) from scratch. It was a long process!

I matched the original carpet color as best as possible - in the end bright orange trade show carpet was the best match and a 10 x 10 piece was enough for the job. Since trade show carpet is usually only used once before being thrown away, there are different grades available. Get the best you can as the cheap stuff is really bad.

After cutting the carpet patterns I searched for the binding material, then sent all the pieces out to be bound. The end result looks pretty good!

Lastly, I lined the top of the dashboard with grey Alcantara, which is a suede-like material resistant to UV and fading. I know the original S1 Esprits used grey paint on the dashboard and binnacle areas, but I am opting for the Alcantara as I think it will look better. Time will tell!