Restoration Impossible: Making a Trunk Mold

Feb 21, 2017 update to the Lotus Elan project car

Here are the basic tools and materials you will need to do this job.
First clean the area you wish to mold.
You need to spread the Plaster of Paris to keep it fairly uniform.
Our plaster started to dry fast. We could have touched up the rough areas here with a bit more plaster, but since this is a trunk floor, this is all we need. We will be sanding and smoothing the fiberglass panel we make in this mold.

Despite the fact that we had found both a used left rear quarter from a reader and a NOS (New Old Stock) Lotus repair panel from Dave Bean Engineering, we were still missing about six inches of trunk floor between the two repair sections.

As Dave Bean Engineering‘s attic is apparently full of used and NOS Lotus fiberglass, we could have gone back to them for this missing piece of trunk floor.

Instead, we thought it would be cheaper, quicker and more fun to show you how you can mold your own piece of trunk floor.

We found all the materials we needed to make this mold at Lowes $23. We would then probably spend less than that in cloth and resin to make the actual panel from the mold.

Armed with a bucket, thin plastic sheet, chicken wire, a few simple hand tools and a bag of plaster of Paris, we needed only a willing Lotus owner to let us make a mold of the trunk area in their car.

We found a fellow All British Car Club member just 10 minutes from our shop. He had an unrestored, early Elan that he said we could use for this project.

While messy, with any amount of reasonable care, you can make a mold of a even a concours car without damaging the car itself. Still, fellow club members will have higher comfort levels when lending you their unrestored car to do this type of job.

First, clean the area you wish to mold. In this case we vacuumed the trunk. We then spread plastic sheeting to make the mold easy to remove and protect the car we were molding from. Then bend wire mesh to fit the mold you wish to build. The mesh just adds strength so the mold doesn’t break into pieces when you remove it.

Next, mix your plaster. You need to spread the Plaster of Paris and keep it fairly uniform at about an inch thick.

Wait for the plaster to dry and voila, you have a mold of a trunk floor.

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