Restoration Impossible: Working on the Wire Framework

Mar 7, 2017 update to the Lotus Elan project car

This mesh is badly rusted on our Elan after sitting outside for nearly 40 years.
We used a cut-off wheel to remove the steel mesh from a parts car that had no rust.
We then cleaned the mesh and painted it with POR-15 rust protectant.
Next we had to clean the rusted metal out of our car’s body. We had already cut the rusty steel mesh out with a cutoff wheel.
Here you can see that we have joined the new, rust-free metal with the original metal that was not damaged.
And here we have a perfect repair that cost us nothing but a little time and what we paid for the parts car, which was $800.

On the Elans, a rather crude steel mesh framework is bonded into the rocker panels, as well as the A and B pillars. As you might expect, after sitting in a field for almost 40 years, the lower parts of this mesh on our car was rather rusty.

In addition to increasing strength to the rocker panel and door areas of these cars, this mesh provides outer seat belt mounting points and mounting tabs to attach the interior panels.

To repair this structure, we would need to cut the damaged area out and weld in new steel mesh. Fortunately, this mesh was still in perfect condition in the parts car we had obtained.

Once we had good measurements on the car, we carefully clipped the top of the wire mesh at the top of the rocker panels on both our car and our parts car.

We then cleaned and painted our replacement mesh with POR-15 to prevent future rust issues.

Once dry, we could join our new and old mesh with a welder and then bond the mesh back into the rocker panel.

You should do this job before final fiberglass work is complete. Welding against fiberglass will burn and damage the area immediately around the weld.

Get all the latest Classic Motorsports project car news in your mailbox six times a year. Subscribe now.


Join Free
Join our community to easily find more Lotus project updates.

Reader comments:

wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
March 7, 2017 5:03 p.m.

Excellent work. It's almost done, it looks like a car now. :)

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
March 12, 2017 9:06 p.m.

We really are making great progress, but it has been a lot of work. With Amelia ending early this weekend, I dutifully got back and got the rest of the frame welded up. The body is nearly done as well. While we already have the corners disassembled, we will need to start media blasting and painting suspension parts next.

classico23
classico23 New Reader
March 22, 2017 2:57 p.m.

What did you clip the wire mesh with? I have the worst time trying to cut this stuff - I asked the guy I purchased from - Wire Mesh Cutting and Mfg. - they use a waterjet machine for precision cutting - I tried aviation snips and it came out really sloppy.

bentwrench
March 22, 2017 8:07 p.m.

Die Grinder with a cut off wheel?

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
March 23, 2017 7:45 a.m.

Yes, we used a cut off wheel. It was pretty easy to work with. And I am starting to really love fiberglass dust (NOT!)

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
March 27, 2017 8:33 p.m.

I use a dermal multi max tool. Depending on the thickness and the particular fiberglass it can be cut virchally dust free and since it vibrates the dust that is creats just sits next to what you are cutting where as with a wheel that is spinning at hi rpm that flings it everywhere. They are basically like an old fashen cast cutter that were used for fiberglass casts. It is a much better option for dealing with fiberglass.

You'll need to log in to post.

All 1964 Lotus Elan updates

6 days ago

Restoration Impossible: New Gelcoat for the Body

6 days ago

Our project 1964 Lotus Elan gets body repairs and new gelcoat.

1 week ago

Restoration Impossible: Painting the Frame

1 week ago

Our 1964 Lotus Elan gets its frame painted with Eastwood

1 week ago

Restoration Impossible: Strengthening the Frame

1 week ago

After strengthening our project Elan's frame, we wanted to strengthen it.

3 weeks ago

Restoration Impossible: Removing the Rear Hubs

3 weeks ago

Our friends at Sevens & Elans help us remove hubs that had been wasting away for 40 years.

1 month ago

Restoration Impossible: Ordering the Final Parts

1 month ago

We order the last of the needed parts to complete our Lotus Elan restoration.

1 month ago

How To Straighten a lotus Elan Frame

1 month ago

We grafted three frames together to make a perfect one.

1 month ago

Restoration Impossible: Shining the Chrome

1 month ago

Our project Lotus Elan needs some chrome refreshed.

2 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Gauges Like New

2 months ago

Nisonger brings our Elan's destroyed gauges back to life.

2 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Dismantling the Chassis

2 months ago

It's time to dismantle the chassis of our project Lotus Elan.

3 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Fiberglassing the Bottom

3 months ago

We thought we made good progress. Then we flipped the car over.

4 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Starting Fiberglass Work

4 months ago

Learn how to make fiberglass repairs.

4 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Working on the Wire Framework

4 months ago

Our project Lotus Elan needs some structure repair around the doors.

5 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Making a Trunk Mold

5 months ago

Our Lotus Elan's trunk has a 6-inch hole. Here's how to create the replacement piece.

5 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Grafting in a Whole Quarter of the Body

5 months ago

The left rear quarter of our Elan had been hit hard. Here's how you seamlessly graft in a replacement piece.

5 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Getting the Door Hinges to Work

5 months ago

Our project Lotus Elan is still in the beginning stages of a restoration.

6 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Preparing to Cut the Body

6 months ago

Once you cut, you can't go back.

6 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Starting to Rebuild the Missing Back End

6 months ago

We decided to start our Lotus Elan's restoration with the toughest part first.

6 months ago

Restoration Impossible: Starting Work on the Body

6 months ago

We are getting back into our Lotus in earnest.

1 year ago

Our Elan Gets a Decklid

1 year ago

After lots of searching we find a rare Elan decklid suspiciously close to where we bought our project.

1 year ago

Our Elan Gets Blasted

1 year ago

After a trip to Blast Masters, we see if the fiberglass is salvageable.

1 year ago

One Fresh Elan Engine

1 year ago

With another trip to Twin Cam Sportscars, our Elan's engine is completely refreshed.

1 year ago

A Look Inside Our Lotus Elan's Transmission

1 year ago

We refresh our project Elan's gearbox with the help of Twin Cam Sportscars.

1 year ago

Incredible tranformation: Lotus Elan Carburetors

1 year ago

Our Lotus Elan's carburetors get taken from trash to treasure.

1 year ago

Lotus Elan Frame Dilema: Solved

1 year ago

Our Lotus Elan's frame was bent and broken. How did we solve the issue?

1 year ago

Soda Blasting Our Lotus Elan

1 year ago

Our Lotus Elan takes a trip to Blast Masters to get stripped.

1 year ago

Our Lotus Elan Gets Stripped to the Bone

1 year ago

With our Lotus Elan's engine refresh underway, it was time to start disassembly of the rest of the car.

1 year ago

Restoration Impossible: A Look Inside the Elan's Engine

1 year ago

With the help of Twin Cam Sportscars, we tear our Elan's engine apart.

1 year ago

Lotus Parts Pour In

1 year ago

We find lots of parts for our project Elan thanks to our friends.

1 year ago

Finding a Windshield

1 year ago

Our Lotus Elan gets some fresh glass.

1 year ago

The Parts Search Begins

1 year ago

Our Lotus Elan needs a lot of work and parts. Here's the initial list of what we need.

1 year ago

Figuring Out What We Really Have

1 year ago

After lots of cleaning, we organize our project and assess the situation.

1 year ago

Our Lotus Makes it Home

1 year ago

After dragging our new project to Florida, we begin cleaning it out.

1 year ago

Our Lotus Elan's First Concours Award

1 year ago

Still in pieces, our impossible restoration project attends its first show.

1 year ago

How Not to Load a Lotus

1 year ago

We had to get three-quarters of a lotus from Michigan to Florida.

1 year ago

Restoration: Impossible

1 year ago

Meet our new restoration project: a very rough 1964 Lotus Elan.

BUY THE BACK ISSUES!

The Latest

Forgotten Fiberglass

11 hours ago in Articles

In the ’50s and ’60s, the resin revolution turned dreamers into car manufacturers.

Monterey, 26 Years Later

3 days ago in Articles

The first time I went to Monterey Car Week, it wasn’t even called that.

Tech Tips: Austin-Healey 3000

4 days ago in Articles

The Austin-Healey 3000, commonly known as the Big Healey, has become an icon of classic British motoring.

Classic Motorsports Car Catcher: Big Healey

4 days ago in News

Today's classified spotlight shines on an Austin-Healey 3000 that could be a good deal.

Restoration Impossible: New Gelcoat for the Body

6 days ago in Project Cars

Our project 1964 Lotus Elan gets body repairs and new gelcoat.

Inspired By Chance: The Story of Allard's Revival

6 days ago in Articles

Allard’s resurrected roadster captures the essence of what a sports car should be.

Classic Motorsports Car Catcher: A 911 to be Driven

1 week ago in News

This 1977 Porsche 911 has a stripped interior and lots of upgrades.

Mlassic Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Classic Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
sL8KaVcI9qJ7grcfbRNNVZllguEpu2lX