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Wondering if any S1 cars had leather or partial leather interior?  I had one back in the day and it had the two town brown/beige interior.  I don’t remember ever seeing S1s with leather but now I see S1 pics with leather that look pretty “stock”.  

Is there a source for the old material (not leather) if I want the original S1 look?  Just looking for the materials (assuming someone does not have a kit) since I’m in the US and I don’t want to ship all the bits to the UK.

Thanks


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17 911 C4S Cab

17 Lexus GX460

15 Macan S

1985 Lotus Turbo Esprit

06 BMW K1200S

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Others will know better than I but I don’t think leather was available until the S2. I believe that most of the seats were either the tartan fabric or the brownish “mouse fur” (marcssite). Both were hard to get and people wanted an “upgrade” so they had the seats re-covered in leather. That is what the previous owner did in my car. For a while, at least, there was at least on supplier in the UK trimming seats in the tartan. And I’ve seen references to a “good match” on the marcasite. 

If you search this forum long enough, you will find some of the various approaches that have been taken. If you are trying to return your car to truly original, you can try to match the original. If you want a comfortable driver, have a custom upholstery shop redo your seats in leather. 


Jim McLeskey Richmond, VA USA

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Correct. No leather on S1 Esprit. Tartan inserts with the green fabric or two-tone brown, dark brown to dash, light colour to seats.

The original fabrics fade and split, particularly in the sun. Lotus had numerous issues with US cars for dash top fabric disintegration even within the early years of ownership, both Esprit and Elite/Eclat. 

Alcantara and similar products came along in the 1980s to give the 'suede' look but with specific properties to prevent fade and splits. Automotive fabrics nowadays, including leather, are specifically made for the car industry. In the Evora book, it states Lotus could not afford the VW leather used by Sparco, so they used leather from Scotland and shipped it to Germany for the seats; this being 2009/10 and perhaps beyond. 

Justin

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On 04/02/2019 at 23:30, TpupNomad said:

Wondering if any S1 cars had leather or partial leather interior?  I had one back in the day and it had the two town brown/beige interior.  I don’t remember ever seeing S1s with leather but now I see S1 pics with leather that look pretty “stock”.  

Is there a source for the old material (not leather) if I want the original S1 look?  Just looking for the materials (assuming someone does not have a kit) since I’m in the US and I don’t want to ship all the bits to the UK.

Thanks

@Tony K is the US S1 expert.


Lotus Esprit [meaning] a 1:1 scale Airfix kit with a propensity to catch fire

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Leather trim was available from the factory on late S1s.   Earliest I have seen was fall of 1977 build.   

Available colors were beige, red, and black.    Beige seats, pleated inserts and rear bulkhead panel were paired with brown marcasite velvet dashboard, door panels and console.

Black leather was paired with black marcasite, and red leather was paired with black marcasite.    What was *not* available until later was full leather, i.e. leather on the parts that were covered with marcasite, such as the dashboard.

In other words, the late S1s with leather  were similar in material usage to the early S2s with leather.

One detail I have noted -- on a leather interior S1 that I had, the entire seats (front, back, and sides) were leather, as was the bulkhead panel.   On a 1978 S2 leather/marcasite car that I did some interior work on, the sides and backs of the seats were vinyl that looked identical to the leather;  I think the bulkhead was, too -- can't remember 100% -- but there should be enough leather-and-marcasite S2s left in existence to determine what was the norm.  

In any case, leather on an S1 was on late cars only, and was/is rare. 

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Tony K. :)

 

Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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1 hour ago, Tony K said:

One detail I have noted -- on a leather interior S1 that I had, the entire seats (front, back, and sides) were leather, as was the bulkhead panel.   On a 1978 S2 leather/marcasite car that I did some interior work on, the sides and backs of the seats were vinyl that looked identical to the leather;  I think the bulkhead was, too -- can't remember 100% -- but there should be enough leather-and-marcasite S2s left in existence to determine what was the norm

Yes, indeed I can confirm that early leather optioned S2s had vinyl back and sides of the seats and also a vinyl covered bulkhead panel.

Also, if I recall correctly, later S2s could be ordered with "partial" or "full" leather option from about early 1979 on.

Edited by frb
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Roy, in answer to your question about the original fabrics, for the brown marcasite velvet, the best thing we have found is "crypton suede" fabric in the color Chocolate, sold at, of all places, JoAnn Fabrics.    For the beige, I believe Jon Roberts on this forum has found something that is very close to the original.    

If opting for leather, there is a Mercedes color that is a dead ringer for the original Lotus beige, but I don't know the name of it.  

For carpets, Federal S1s came with both a normal cut pile type and a deep "shag" style.   A faithful representation of the cut pile can be found at World Upholstery either among the Jaguar PLP carpet or the Wilton Wool, although not an exact color match.   For the shag, there is an inexpensive style U.S. made bathroom rug that gets passed around from big box store to big box store that is almost a dead ringer -- it looks the same, just the pile is deeper.   It was first at Walmart, then years later at Target, but I haven't seen the exact thing in the past year or two.  If it turns up again, I will buy a bunch.    Maybe the folks in the UK have a better source for the shag carpet -- perhaps someone on the forum can chime in.  

For the heel pad on the carpets, the narrow rib rubber matting sold by World Upholstery is a dead ringer for the original  stuff. 

For binding, I am not aware of anyone in the U.S. who offers the exact grain pattern that Esprits have;  I have always used U.S. sourced binding, but would really like to know what is available in the UK, because the exact stuff might still be around.

For boot carpet on an S1, the closest thing to original that you will find is "squareweave" wool carpet for old German cars at World Upholstery.  Color "black" , 1009.   A lot of people think the boot carpet is solid black, but that's because theirs is old and dirty.   The original is a wool blend with the telltale white hairs among the black.  The carpet sold at World Upholstery is a little better quality than the original and the rows/loops are neater, but it is by leaps and bounds the closest thing to original you will find.

If you want to restore your S1 interior to the closest thing possible today as to what it was new, 90% of the selection work is done for you in these paragraphs.  

Cheers,

Tony K.   :)  



 

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Tony K. :)

 

Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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I may be mistaken, but I believe this S1 is a late RoW factory red leather car.  I think it has been on this forum before and the owner might be around to verify.

Lotus Esprit S1, ÑеÑебÑиÑÑÑй


Tony K. :)

 

Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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I have met the owner several times in the past, but it has been a while ago. I am not sure if he still owns the car.

I can search for his mailadress and send him a mail, asking to check out this topic. 

 

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On 11/02/2019 at 17:08, jep said:

. In the Evora book, it states Lotus could not afford the VW leather used by Sparco, so they used leather from Scotland and shipped it to Germany for the seats; this being 2009/10 and perhaps beyond. 

I take it you mean Recaro, not Sparco, for the Evora S1.  Some of the S1 seats were trimmed with "Scottish" hide from Muirhead, for instance the Viper Red in the SR's. Muirhead is a long established supplier to the likes of Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bentley et al so not sure it would be lower spec than VW.  In fact I thought a lot of the German cars used a man made leather substitute (e.g. MBTec and similar).  

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Alcohol. Sex. Tobacco. Drugs. Chocolate.  Meh! NOTHING in this world is as addictive as an Evora +0. It's not for babies!        

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Ze Germans use some rather fine leathers with which to trim their cars so spec'd. The MBTec sort of stuff is basic level trim is it not? 

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1 hour ago, C8RKH said:

I take it you mean Recaro, not Sparco, for the Evora S1.  Some of the S1 seats were trimmed with "Scottish" hide from Muirhead, for instance the Viper Red in the SR's. Muirhead is a long established supplier to the likes of Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bentley et al so not sure it would be lower spec than VW.

Yes, Recaro seats, I knew I was wrong (when I re-read after posting) but could not see how to edit the post. Re: leather from Scotland, I was quoting information in the Evora book ('Sublime Supercar', a fab read) and I was careful not to say the leather was inferior or lower spec but the book suggests that it was better value. I will dig out the exact quote but perhaps this is a lesson to me not to pass on second-hand news. 

S1 Esprit, leather trim. News to me that S1 Esprit could have leather as I have never seen one photographed with leather (as original, I have seen some poor attempts retro-fit) or seen one in the flesh. Sorry for my duff information, I saw a fair few S1 Esprit as owner or buyer or admirer in the 1990s and read tons on them so I was convinced this option was not on the S1. I stand corrected and will position myself on the naughty step for a double helping of humble pie.

Justin

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The information in the Evora book, quoting Pete Hunter at Lotus Cars:

"The hides come from Andrew Muirhead and Son, an old, respected Glasgow firm...about five different types of leather ranging from something we call Sateen up to Arisaig which is three times the cost. We will cut the leather for the Evora seats here...because the leather that Recaro uses is Volkswagen spec which is very expensive and does not match our leathers. So we cut our Sateen leather and send it out there (Recaro Germany)……"  

Justin 

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