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Cal H
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Discussion Starter #1
Ok Just removed the instrument pod panels. Like many Esprit's with the wood veneer the finish is cracked and in my case it is fairly severe in that the veneer is also peeling off. I sort of figured out what is going on with them. The veneer is mounted on 1/8" plywood. The veneer is mounted only on one side. When applying veneer on thin material like 1/8" it is recommended that a backer of similar material is placed on the rear side. In that way when the humidity and temp changes affect the piece they put uniform stress on piece in both direction minimizing the bending or warping due to veneer contraction during the humidity and temp changes. eye balling the piece show warping or cupping of the 1/8" ply.

So from an aesthetic point of view how many prefer the classic walnut veneer or the newer CF look? I'm leaning toward keeping the walnut and then if I fail at my attempt to veneer I will then do a real CF panels. Several LOON's are waiting for my attempt result before proceeding on their panels
 

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Hi Cal.

Interesting point about the backing, I'm not much of a woodworker and that wouldn't have occurred to me.

I'm afraid to lift the cheesy CF sticker that covers mine but I'm pretty sure it's bad underneath. I would like to redo it with fresh veneer.

The main thing I wanted to figure out before I started was how to finish the raw edges around the warning lights, buttons, clock, etc. It appears that Lotus used some lacquer or similar thing but I can't ever see how that would be durable (or easy). It would have been great if it had been fitted with little plastic bezels around the openings with a lip that covered the top surface and extended inward. Perhaps it would be possible to make something out of a thin (about 1/16") plastic sheet.
 

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Cal H
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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Cal.

Interesting point about the backing, I'm not much of a woodworker and that wouldn't have occurred to me.

I'm afraid to lift the cheesy CF sticker that covers mine but I'm pretty sure it's bad underneath. I would like to redo it with fresh veneer.

The main thing I wanted to figure out before I started was how to finish the raw edges around the warning lights, buttons, clock, etc. It appears that Lotus used some lacquer or similar thing but I can't ever see how that would be durable (or easy). It would have been great if it had been fitted with little plastic bezels around the openings with a lip that covered the top surface and extended inward. Perhaps it would be possible to make something out of a thin (about 1/16") plastic sheet.
Woodworking is sort of a hobby and in the past if I only veneer one side of something real thin ás the veneer dried it would shrink and pull the base material and bow it. It looked just like the panel. Then an old guy told me to take similar material and stick it to the back side to duplicate the pull in the opposite direction.

If the fake cf sticker is smooth chances are the veneer has been stripped down to raw plywood. If it's bumpy it's got veneer under it and was just slapped on top.

The edges of the instrument openings as far as I can tell is paint. The front veneer was attached and the whole piece hit with 3+coats of lacquer. Then polished ànd buffed
 

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If the Esprit is nicely original or if it is a restoration with no other mods, I would go with the classic wood veneer. However, if the car has other mods like an aftermarket steering wheel or etc, my tastes would definitely lean towards the more modern carbon fiber look which is more up to date and complements the new wheel and overall modded theme of the car.

I have also seen some nicely done creative alternative finishes like polished aluminum, body color paint, and black over the years as well. Most important of all, no matter what everyone else thinks, this is an area where one has to make absolutely sure that they themselves like the look before committing since it is something you will see and be reminded of every single time you drive and get behind the wheel. :)

Roy
 

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A very dark-stained wood veneer finish on your blue (midnight blue?) Esprit might be a very classy alternative as well, the best of both worlds. :cool:

Roy
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Gosh, nobody like Argyle anymore? ;)

Argyle Pattern Grays Large at Voottoo


++++++++++++++++

For those who like the wood-grain, ask Type82 where he got the fascia for the IP on his G-car, it looks GREAT.


I'm not a very good wood worker, but I reapplied the veneer onto the wood dash on the Triumph I restored. I was told not to finish it, just periodically apply furniture wax onto the bare wood. Held up well for the 5 years I had that car. :up:
 

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In my opinion, the wood just doesn't suit the car. Maybe a Jag or Volvo, or an old Elan, but not the Esprit SE.

I went the real CF veneer over the plywood dash route for ease. I do notice that it appears to have warped as well, since I did it in 2004. It won't crack like the wood though, and it isn't noticeable, unless you feel under the edge you can feel a gap where it was attached to the wood. It's probably the polyester resin that I used. I used it because it is glass clear, and I wanted a deep clear look rather than the yellow epoxy resin look.

I'm actually removing my binnacle in a bit to install the fuel level sender damping circuit from Spidya, and also do a better install of my PLX AFR, boost, and dual coolant temp gauge. I'll take a better look at the CF veneer then.
 

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Cal H
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Discussion Starter #8
A very dark-stained wood veneer finish on your blue (midnight blue?) Esprit might be a very classy alternative as well, the best of both worlds. :cool:

Roy
The original look is dark walnut and someone mentioned is one of the Woods that lighten with age and uv.
 

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Yes, I believe most Esprits, except for absolute garage queens which have almost never see daylight, have had their wood lighten somewhat with age and UV over the years.

What I had been thinking of was something way darker than factory or perhaps a different color tint variation on the theme.

Atwell...argyle? LOL If I was going to go that far, I'd consider going even further and perhaps do some Escher-esque tessellations :)

https://www.google.com/search?q=Esc...sellations&revid=1634186505&tbm=isch&imgdii=_
 

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Interesting...I had no idea that Bugatti did that.
I have always liked the concept and performance feel of an engine turned dash, but a little too "Trans Am" for the Esprit, I think.

BTW, the wood veneer on a Commemorative Esprit (the first Stevens to get a wood dash), was done by the factory in an even lighter shade than on the SE.

Roy
 

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Gosh, nobody like Argyle anymore? ;)

Argyle Pattern Grays Large at Voottoo


++++++++++++++++

For those who like the wood-grain, ask Type82 where he got the fascia for the IP on his G-car, it looks GREAT.


My fascia was made by Randy Keller from 'Prestige Autowood'. He did a great job, fabricated aluminium backing for the veneer to adhere to, flawless gloss finish. Will look for a picture to post. After 12 years it still looks perfect and he charged me $400. to make the three panels which I thought wasn't bad because he made everything from scratch.

I noticed the recessed fuel gauge, he had to cut and use the cones from my original... not a big deal.

Randy has many choices of veneer to choose from, I chose French Walnut.

Robert
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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I never heard of Travis' term for Engine Turning.

I DID make my own IP panel for my old Morgan from a sheet of Stainless Steel. I "turned" the surface myself with a drill press, using an old engine valve that had a piece of Scotch-Brite glued to it. Looked very similar to the second and fourth pictures.

The Esprit wood really is nasty, though....makes me feel better about keeping the black plastic fascia on my '88.
 

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The black plastic on my car was way beyond the 'Time Warp' Not noticed until removed and it feels good to have 'wood'.



Randy also makes replacement dashes for a well know British car supplier, sorry however I cannot give out the name without permission. I do own a '74 Triumph Spitfire... he makes dashes for this company.

There is a guy in Connecticut, he is very expensive in my own opinion. If you wish to go that route I will look for his card, it could be some time. If you want a great job Randy is the guy.

Cheers,
Robert
 

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Cal H
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
My fascia was made by Randy Keller from 'Prestige Autowood'. He did a great job, fabricated aluminium backing for the veneer to adhere to, flawless gloss finish. Will look for a picture to post. After 12 years it still looks perfect and he charged me $400. to make the three panels which I thought wasn't bad because he made everything from scratch.

I noticed the recessed fuel gauge, he had to cut and use the cones from my original... not a big deal.

Randy has many choices of veneer to choose from, I chose French Walnut.

Robert
$400 12 years ago is probably a lot of money today. maybe 600-800? I'll have to pass on that.

I was thinking more along the lines of $30 for enough sequential walnut veneer panels for 3 attempts and another $50 for relaxer, glue, stain and lacquer with 16 hrs labor spread out over a week or more. The main panel is a straight forward clamping and the wing pieces are vac bagged as used in CF/RPG although in veneering circles they are referred to as vacuum presses.

It would probably be easier and almost cost free if I did them in CF as I have a lot of resin and CF and colored aramid left over from my son's sport bike fairing projects.

BTW I believe this picture taken by my wife is of Robert's car in the middle fueling up preparing to leave Geneva, WI before we departed and went our separate ways. (McFadden's 85 on left and my former 90 on right) Pretty sure it was Robert but it also could have been Jimmy Hoffa III (the grand son) as he also fueled up at the same station before he departed back to Detroit.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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^^^ That "Lipstick Red" binnacle is a sure way to ID Type82s car... LOL

++++++++


OMG look at the gas prices....
 

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Cal H
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Discussion Starter #19
Dang...Atwell beat me to it!
Only $164.9/gal for Premium :crazyeyes

Roy
Yeah rip off resort area prices. I remember it was much cheaper in the Minneapolis like $1.30/gal. The wife took the pictures to show everyone back home what we had to pay for gas LOL. Gas station probably raised the prices because the rich Lotus owners arrived in town
 
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