Lotus Elan

Plus two interior

PostPost by: Peter1985 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:35 am

Just wanted some advice on my plus two (1968) which has seen better days. What's the chance of buying a second hand interior in good condition or do I need to look at retrimming. Any advice would be welcome including rough costings.

Regards
Pete.
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PostPost by: bobchaplin » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:40 am

I have am in the middle of re-trimming my Plus 2. The car had been stripped in 1978 and left in bits through 2x owners until I started rebuilding it. There was nothing left inside at all, I had the 1/4 panels, door cards, seats, dashtop, and 4 headlining bars with bits of old headlining, all a complete mess. As my car is a very early Plus 2 (number 32). The trim is very basic, I bought a new 4 bar headliner from Sue Miller, the front seats were scrap so I found a pair of Street KA leather seats of flea bay, these tilt the correct way, are heated, have headrests, not original but very comfortable and have plain leather which matches the interior. I re-fibre glassed the 1/4 panels as these were all broken, bought 5x metres of stretchable leathercloth from Woollies plus some 5mm foam and have covered so far, the 1/4 panels, rear seat back and made up and covered a new parcel shelf. Fortunately the 1/4 insert panels herring bone material cleaned up ok, as did the seat bottoms and the seat back panel. I had to cut out new 1/4 panel insert backings as the originals had deformed due to the tension of the material warping them in the damp conditions they must have been stored in. I also bought a leather dashtop cover again of an e-bay shop, this is the next job, to be followed by the door cards. These are also a complete mess, I have a new pair of backing panels again from Sue Miller, If the dashtop leather goes ok I will consider leather ones, as the same e-bay shop does these as well, albeit at a cost. If not I will look at trying to salvage the herring bone section and see if I can stitch it to new leathercloth. Its not difficult to re-trim nor that expensive but very time consuming, you will need a staple gun, pop rivets, lots of staples, warmth to work in and decent quality heatproof spray adhesive, oh plus very clean hands. Enclosed rebuilt 1/4 panel as example of what can be achieved at home. Bob
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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:25 pm

Welcome Pete!

I'm refurbing a tatty old Plus 2 as well and don't know what's available for used interiour bits in the UK, but I'm in USA where there is nothing so I can pretty much echo what Bob said about doing it yourself or hiring a trimmer for the bits that are above your abilities.

In my case the top pad of the dashboard was in amazingly good condition but the veneer was shot, the carpets were rotten, the headlining was yellowed and had some rips, the steering wheel covering was gone, the door cards were tatty all around, the safety belts seemed a bit perished, etc.

I hired a trimmer for only two small things so far, the steering wheel covering and one piece of vinyl on the driver seat where a spring had poked through, as those jobs were above my skill.

Sue was no help for a headlining for me, as I think my timing was bad relative to when she gets them made, but I did get one from Kelvedon and it came with extra fabric for re-covering the tops of the trim panels and the sunshades. I'd never done a headlining before but found it to be quite easy. Removing the front and rear glass is necessary to do this job and I'd never done that before either but got through it with few hitches.

I too had to make a new parcel shelf and that job was quite easy. I did find that modern speakers in the same size as the originals won't fit in the shelf due to their magnet-assemblies being much larger and interfering with the fuel tank. My solution was to make some new inserts for the trim-panels in which the speakers will be mounted. Saves having to destroy the old inserts, and the old inserts will be kept in case a future owner wants to put everything back to original. I used 1/4" HDPE sheet to form the inserts and stapled padding and leatherette vinyl over them myself.

I removed all the nasty, smelly old horsehair felt insulation from the interiour and have lined the space with an aluminium-faced, closed-cell polyethylene insulation. The car should be at least thermally better-insulated than when new. Should be good sonically too but time will tell on that one. Best part is that 100 square feet of the stuff weighs a mere 2 lbs vs. the 20+ lbs that the felt weighed, plus the polyethylene is non-absorbent and won't ever get funky-smelling. Of course before doing the insulation you should strip the interiour to bare fibreglass and clean all surfaces very thoroughly as this too will help your car smell better.

Dashboard veneer I did myself, and was also something I'd never done before. Pleased with the results, and did a major electrical refurb of the dash-wiring when it was out. The majority of your car's electrical system is in the dashboard, so this is well worth sorting and freshening. Clean the insides of all the switches, and put new non-corroding terminals on all the wires. I also eliminated all those old corroded bullet-connectors and used two big multi-pin Molex plugs instead.

If your centre console is in bad shape, reproductions are available from Famous Frank here in the USA. Frank just made a run of them and he's a member of this forum so give him a shout if you want one. He lives in my area and I can personally vouch for him and for the quality of the items- I have the first Plus 2 console he made.

New carpets are available. I haven't installed mine as yet so I can't comment on the job but I think it will be easy.

While you have the door cards off, go through everything inside the door to ensure smooth and reliable operation. Rebuilt window motors are easy available as they are from GM. Run a new heavy-gauge earth wire directly from the motor to the chassis (I ran mine to the chassis-bolts behind the bottom edge of the dashboard). You'll be astounded at how much this will improve the operation of the windows!

Another 'while you're in there...' job is that if you install a new headlining, before the new one goes in you can inspect and renew the fuel tank venting hoses that run across the ceiling above the rear window, and re-engineer the venting if you feel inclined to do so (plenty of posts and advice about that in this forum, a search will find them).

Best of luck and I look forward to your progress and success with it!
Last edited by The Veg on Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
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PostPost by: Peter1985 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:23 am

A big thanks for your replies, I've just seen your posts, I'm extremely impressed with the work you've both completed on your plus 2s, and also spending the time to help.

Regards
Pete.
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