Sunday, January 15, 2012

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!


  1. Love the work you're documenting here. If only Lotus could have built the S1 to this standard in the first place. Any original owners must read this blog and weep...

    Good luck with it all.

  2. Hi, Great work on the Esprit. Im currently restoring the same car and having trouble with the rear screen. It appears my glass is slightly to wide to allow the left hand silver trim to fit flush, the gap is to small, needs to be 10mm or more. Did you have this issue? The only way I can see around it is to cut the rib off from the centre of the rear of the trim.