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Replacing foam in seats

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Has anyone replaced the foam in their seats? The actual material of the cloth interior of my dry sump is in really good condition but the foam has degraded inside the bottom section of the drivers seat in particular. I haven't got round to even looking at how the covers come off yet but if anyone has any info it would be appreciated. 

Thanks, Steve.

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I had a quick look at the SJ Sportscar site, nothing 'off the shelf' unfortunately.


When we restored a Spitfire many years ago, an auto (or boat) upholstery shop provided the service for us.  Check locally.


Be prepared to specify things like side bolster firmness. Often, that material differs from the main cushions.


Don't make the cushions too firm, as you might limit headroom! 🥴

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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Funnily enough I have just taken the seat cover off a S3 1982 Turbo this afternoon. They're not difficult to get off but the leather is so thin it will tear if it's glued anywhere so take it slow! It's pretty obvious how it's held on once you examine it but don't try to pull the back off until you've undone the 3 screws holding it to the frame.

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

Way back in around 1985 I spoke to a guy from Connolly leather as I lived just around the corner from their factory. He explained Lotus "did everything wrong" with the Turbo seats. 

The leather was the wrong type for ruched stitching and the side bolsters were very tall so they had to use very soft foam inserts in the sides to give way when sat on, and made the leather issues worse. The guy said they alerted Lotus that Connolly considered these seats would only last a few years, but Lotus went ahead anyway.

On my car I had the soft side parts cut out and replaced. A guy from Surrey Trimmers did it, by gluing in replacement sections, trimming with an electric knife then gluing scrim material all over the top to hold everything together. Although they look much better the lack of the soft foam is quite noticeable when sitting, the side bolsters do pinch inwards.

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Hi Andy,

Thanks for that and that's exactly the plan. Covers off, cut out any bad foam and find the right density foam to replace/ repair and reshape. There's loads of vids on YouTube on this and looks quite a fun task. My passenger seat bolsters are in really good shape so I can use those as a guide for the worn drivers seat foam.

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  • 3 weeks later...
1 hour ago, Steve4012 said:

I've now replaced the foam in both seats and it's made a huge difference to the feel of the interior. The drivers seat foam had broken and the metal frame was protruding through and now I know why I always felt I was sitting in a hole where the seat foam had dropped and sagged. The drivers seat came out so well that I simply had to do the passenger seat also as that was then made to look tatty! Obviously the temptation to do the rest of the interior was too great whilst both seats were out so off came the door cards, tunnel sides and rear bulkhead panel. All of which received new foam and a damn good clean. A very worthwhile task if anyone's thinking about doing it! 

Ps the blue high density 'firm' foam on ebay is a perfect match in firmness to the rest of the seat.

Would be great to see some photos after the work above👍

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