Restoration Impossible: Repairing the Small Body Parts

Jan 29, 2018 update to the Lotus Elan project car

Here we are test fitting the front bumper on the now Gelcoated body.
This is the underside of me of the headlight pods. Notice the fresh fiberglass repair in the center.
We literally had to fiberglass the side curtain pieces back together, as they had somehow broken in half during the many years of abuse they had received.

With the body of our project Lotus Elan now in Gelcoat, we could focus our attention on the smaller body parts that are attached to the main body.

Lotus Elan bumpers are simply fiberglass shells filled with a foam core. They weigh only a few pounds a piece and are actually a very clever design.

Before test-fitting the bumper, we first had to repair them where they had delaminated and split apart from their foam core. We did this with two part epoxy that was designed for use with fiberglass.

We then shaped and massaged the bumpers to fit perfectly against our repaired body. The bumpers also served as a great marking line so that we could make sure our body was perfect. It took a bit of massaging, but we were successful in making things look perfect again.

A Lotus Elan has pop-up headlights that reside in fiberglass pods that rotate up and down in the front fenders.

Even the headlight pods were damaged on our car and had to be fiberglassed back together and test fitted and then massaged to fit perfectly. While not terribly difficult, every piece we touch just took time and skill to massage back into perfection.

The early S1 and S2 Elans use a rather clever, if pretty useless (in the rain) side curtain system. There is a glass window that pulls up and down from the door into this side curtain housing that snaps on to the body and pegs into the windshield post. The top then goes up the middle of these two fiberglass side curtain pieces.

Naturally, our side curtain surrounds, as we came to call them, were literally broken in half when we found the car.

As these pieces are rare, and we are trying to save as much of the original car as we can, we decided to test fit them into place with the windshield on the car mark how they should go back together and repair them with fiberglass resin and cloth.


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