Restoration Impossible: Working on the Wire Framework
Mar 7, 2017 update to the Lotus Elan project car
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.
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Excellent work. It's almost done, it looks like a car now. :)
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.
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.
Die Grinder with a cut off wheel?
Yes, we used a cut off wheel. It was pretty easy to work with. And I am starting to really love fiberglass dust (NOT!)
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.
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All 1964 Lotus Elan updates
Restoration Impossible: Fiberglassing the Bottom
We thought we made good progress. Then we flipped the car over.
Restoration Impossible: Starting Fiberglass Work
Learn how to make fiberglass repairs.
Restoration Impossible: Working on the Wire Framework
Our project Lotus Elan needs some structure repair around the doors.
Restoration Impossible: Making a Trunk Mold
Our Lotus Elan's trunk has a 6-inch hole. Here's how to create the replacement piece.
Restoration Impossible: Grafting in a Whole Quarter of the Body
The left rear quarter of our Elan had been hit hard. Here's how you seamlessly graft in a replacement piece.
Restoration Impossible: Getting the Door Hinges to Work
Our project Lotus Elan is still in the beginning stages of a restoration.
Restoration Impossible: Preparing to Cut the Body
Once you cut, you can't go back.
Restoration Impossible: Starting to Rebuild the Missing Back End
We decided to start our Lotus Elan's restoration with the toughest part first.
Restoration Impossible: Starting Work on the Body
We are getting back into our Lotus in earnest.
Our Elan Gets a Decklid
After lots of searching we find a rare Elan decklid suspiciously close to where we bought our project.
Our Elan Gets Blasted
After a trip to Blast Masters, we see if the fiberglass is salvageable.
One Fresh Elan Engine
With another trip to Twin Cam Sportscars, our Elan's engine is completely refreshed.
A Look Inside Our Lotus Elan's Transmission
We refresh our project Elan's gearbox with the help of Twin Cam Sportscars.
Incredible tranformation: Lotus Elan Carburetors
Our Lotus Elan's carburetors get taken from trash to treasure.
Lotus Elan Frame Dilema: Solved
Our Lotus Elan's frame was bent and broken. How did we solve the issue?
Soda Blasting Our Lotus Elan
Our Lotus Elan takes a trip to Blast Masters to get stripped.
Our Lotus Elan Gets Stripped to the Bone
With our Lotus Elan's engine refresh underway, it was time to start disassembly of the rest of the car.
Restoration Impossible: A Look Inside the Elan's Engine
With the help of Twin Cam Sportscars, we tear our Elan's engine apart.
Lotus Parts Pour In
We find lots of parts for our project Elan thanks to our friends.
Finding a Windshield
Our Lotus Elan gets some fresh glass.
The Parts Search Begins
Our Lotus Elan needs a lot of work and parts. Here's the initial list of what we need.
Figuring Out What We Really Have
After lots of cleaning, we organize our project and assess the situation.
Our Lotus Makes it Home
After dragging our new project to Florida, we begin cleaning it out.
Our Lotus Elan's First Concours Award
Still in pieces, our impossible restoration project attends its first show.
How Not to Load a Lotus
We had to get three-quarters of a lotus from Michigan to Florida.
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