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Exige Cup260 - Restoration and some tweaks


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@PaulLF1cheers - I hope so, its making massive steps at the moment and todo list is finally getting shorter rather than growing day by day!

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Now here is where folks may start getting offended, I'm going to add some weight to the Cup! I'll offset it elsewhere later…

My car came with the stupid half carpets the were a feature of the S2, it never made sense when I had them in the past and still doesn't make sense to me. They neither add luxury nor keep it raw, they just look half arsed!

Its these ones, same as all touring pack cars:


I did want to just remove them, but with the Ali gutter on top they drilled and riveted the chassis to mount it, so removing it wasn't really an option unless I wanted holes.

I did think about taking them out and carpeting, but I know I wanted to make everything reversable if I should sell and it had to be 100% original, so best to leave it in

I still didn't want to keep it half way up the tub, and I knew that full carpets in my 350 were so much nicer for a very small value change

As the carpets below had to remain and the ali strip had to remain, then I decided to lay in a top section, using the 350 carpets as a template

I managed to get hold of a set of full hight, copy them with lightweight carpet, then chop in half using my old carpet as a template.

Just like this:



Mount them top and bottom and they look like this:


Then add back in the underseat carpet, footwell floor carpet and front bulkhead carpet and it looks like this:



The old carpet was the bagged up for if factory spec was wanted again, the two side pieces were 2kg each, all of the new carpets were less than that. For some reason the old carpet was just really thick, so actually not a weight gain at all


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Looks great I certainly wouldn't worry about weight gain I replaced my coolant expansion bottle with an alloy one as I had problems with the cap sealing face IMG_20200510_134118154.thumb.jpg.57ec98276ee3f8a3fa4ec2547d81eac4.jpgand someone said oh what about the weight gain I pointed out I only weigh 10st 2lb who cares 😜

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@philcoolI do need an alloy header tank, trying to get pro alloy to make me one!

Just need a plan for the washer tank and it’ll be Tupperware free in the engine bay!

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@PaulLF1Its Ardent Red B64/C64, just a standard lotus colour to keep it original - toyed with a colour change, but thought better of it, should leave it as per factory in this case 😀

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The My10 Cup 260 wheels were about the lightest at the time (I think they claimed they were the lightest of any production car) and the whilst they are needed to make it a proper Cup 260, I'm not really in love with them. But they are growing on me.

So I wanted to grab a spare set, as a Lotus without a spare wheels isn't on. I thought about a 240r set, but the orginal cup wheels were similar just machines out, so wouldn’t really be another look. After lots of debate with myself, mainly looking at Americans cars (lets be honest they are a little more willing to try out new things than brits on a lotus) I decided I wanted the Elise 250/260cup wheels, and was going to pick them up from Seriously Dave when the time was right.

I've grown to fall out of love of black wheels, so started thinking about a colour change so second hand sets seemed ideal as you can only get them in black. 

Borrowed a friends set and then photoshop a few colours:











For me the lighter wheel, the better the concave elements on the in the wheels is shown off, the darker colours just hides it, so the lighter colours are winners for me…

Silver is most likely, at the moment, but probably a slightly darker more impactful silver, but not quite shadow chrome.

Being really pedantic about wheels I don't need to get them refinished much, so need to find someone I can trust

I kept an eye out and managed to pic up a bargain forged set for well under a grand, it was buying off a bloke in Poland I'd never met, who had no posting history and kept going quiet… So with absolutely no alarm bells ringing I excitedly sent him my money then looked up the buyer protection on PayPal.

But to his credit less than a week later DPD dropped these badboys off, with well worm A048's - OEM spec forged wheels in black from a 250Cup - happy days!


Now to pick the correct shade, get them refinished and pick some tyres…


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Yep, I was all set for bronze and when I put them on the car I was gutted, for whatever reason it didn't work. I've got fed up of dark wheels so silver was always the choice, but I do keep looking at gunmetal. I keep avoiding it as I have so many other parts piled on them so I keep forgetting I've got them in the garage!

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@SimonOakmere just sent through some more pics - alls looking good. Should be able to see it tomorrow before going into final finish.





I have a new splitter sitting at home to fit, the one thats fitted at the moment is my manky one with a repair in from the previous owner

Hopefully the factory need no longer than 5 months to print a set of bloody stickers, but I said that at 1, 2 , 3 and 4 months. I was going to leave them off because they are a bit, well, chav I suppose, but it now looks a bit naked without them! 

Factory keep saying any day now, in the time its taken for them to print a sheet of stickers the car has been stripped of subframe, suspension, all of that refurbed, all fittings replaced, clam been on and off 3 times, all rads changed, heater and aircon service, interior completely stripped, complete back to chassis respray and a billion other things - and it still looks like that will beat their ability to print a sheet of stickers. Good to see some things never change at Lotus!

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A bit of retrospective planning to make things make a bit more sense  going forward (I hope) – generally electrical related stuff and some background planning…

What I’m trying to achieve:

Engine Info and GPS: 

Want to add datalogging both for useful basics like Oil Temp/Pressure and intake temps, as well as GPS and other future expansion that I haven’t thought of yet. Anything to make it expandable without having to rewire each time I add a sensor

Video Recording:

Adding decent wired in cameras for seeing how bad I am on trackdays, and combined with logging trying to improve with a technique other that swearing at myself or relying on instructors to point things out

Audio/RealTime Video: 

Lets get it out the way, I’m not going to buy into the ‘engine is the only music I need’ stuff, fine on track, roadtrips I still want music. I also won’t use earphones or noise cancelling earphones – fine sitting on a plane but they cut out too much for me and I hate the insulated feeling.

Also the other thing is, I’m not a huge fan of music out of earphones, as a lifelong guitarist/bassist and general music nerd, music needs to be felt as well as heard – air needs to be shifting. For that reason I am not going to rip the stereo out, and will be upgrading it. Whilst doing that I will be adding a reverse cam, that can be also be used as a rear view mirror should I want it. I will be adding a removable footwell sub as it transforms the sound, and the way I install them you can’t even see. I have other weightloss plans for the car elsewhere so it'll be fine, plus for trackdays I can whip it out in 30 secs

Anyway, after all that a bit of late night browsing I suddenly found an AiM MX2E dash come up that had been used for a few months then parted out the car when the guy sold his car. A cheeky offer at ridiculous o’clock saw me beating the crowd and getting an MX2E for half price of retail, I just needed to get the mileage matched to my car. This then forced me down the AiM path…

I’m sure you’re familiar with dashes, they are now an ‘official lotus part’ as in Lotus sell it, although not fitted to cars out the factory (presume due to the dash not being on the Type Approval). This meant it seems about the most OEM way of upgrading the look and feel of the cockpit, although I’m sure that the originality police are already preparing to line up outside my house with pitchforks.

Here’s the dash (library images):



Having a 2010 car I could get a fair amount over CAN but would still need to add oil sensors, but I could get most things with a more modern dash as well as get track day logging etc.

So plus sides are it looks OK, provides data logging on track and lets me run more sensors. Being honest downsides of this dash are: Less customisable than most aftermarket dashes, indicators and change lights are a bit obscured for taller drivers, if I go aftermarket ECU injecting CAN back into ECU via the dash as others do is not really something in its forte!

It’s a dash much more popular with the V6 boys, but for those who’ve not seen it before you get various screens for road and track, different colours, data review etc. And you can extract all the data later to see just how rubbish you are using RaceStudio 3 from Aim. Here’s some sample screens from the manufacturer so it makes more sense.




I also managed to pick up a heavily discounted AiM smartycam HD GP 2.2 on ebay, not used and about £500 off retail just before Christmas - so things were getting sorted. The GP edition of the smartycam is a separate video recorder and bullet cam (I’ll mount the later on the harness bar). It has the advantage over a GoPro of a CMOS sensor that has less pulsing built in when in a car (it was developed to run on a car rather than all sports) 

UKc15nF.jpg JBw3iNe.jpg 

As far as the wiring that would be needed, I would need the following:

  • GPS in the binnacle
  • CAN Data hub in the dashboard, feeding GPS and cables back to SmartyCam and a sensor expansion hub
  • SmartyCam in cabin
  • Expansion hub running Oil Temp and Oil Pressure
  • Maybe put in a spare DataHub to make adding sensors in the future easier

Roughly it would look like this:



End result is using CAN there will be far less cables to route through in the cabin, so that’s a pro.

As for video I will be routing a video feed through from the rear cam into the headunit, with a splitter to allow feeding into a DVR if needed later. I also need to take reverse light signal, power to the video camera and will be adding a new power feed under the dash to allow both constant and triggers power feeds for camera, lights and anything audio related.

For example I will be adding a smaller camera for my feet to add as a video overlay if needed, I need to hardwire this and will likely add a trigger to allow switching on and off remotely, I want to be able to switch the rear view camera by both the ignition feed and with a defeat, single rear cam on by both reverse signal and manual trigger – so lots of small electronics additions just to build a bit of flexibility into it.

So feeds I need are…

Between dash and footwell:

  • Audio Out
  • Ignition On Trigger
  • Lights On Trigger
  • Aim CAN feed
  • Video In (rear Cam)
  • Reverse Trigger
  • Camera Power


Between Footwell and rear bulkhead

  • Constant power
  • Aim CAN feed
  • Video In (rear Cam)
  • Reverse Trigger
  • Camera Power

Bulkhead to Engine bay and beyond

  • Aim Sensor feeds into expander
  • Constant power
  • Video In (rear Cam)
  • Reverse Trigger
  • Camera Power

Also due to the trimming project I have going on, the switches (used to adjust the dash settings) will be moved from their standard position to the steering cowling, but more on that later. But useful to know for those trying to relocate the buttons

Anyway that’s a bit of context about why various wires are going in, it should take shape in not too long amount of time

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So on to a bit of retrim planning! A lesser tackled subject in Lotus land.

The Cup260 should have looked a bit like this, nice carbon an alcantara and a big fat logo. 


Unfortunately as mine was specced with airbags mine in fact was missing the alcantara trim on the airbag cover and centre vents. Its fine looks like any other airbag Exige dash, but as I have retrimmed all my other Exige I would do this on.

My 350 was this, with plenty of alcantara and one of the very few trimmed dashes 


And this was my s2 done by lotus


So with that in mind I knew that the interior would also be retrimmed, with the plan being to retrim airbag cover, centre vents, new binnacle surround for both Aim Dash and OEM dash (in case I chose to drop the plan for AiM dash). I also wanted to retrim the bulkhead covering and roll bar cover just to get rid of the final bits of plastic, plus a few other bits along the way.

First step was to get the material – now I spoke to the factory to get the code, but they said on cup cars they used different and it depends what they had about. Long story short I found that what was supplied as the correct sample, did not match the binnacle, or seats or doors. But then I started holding up the binnacle to the seats and doors and they didn’t actually match! So I have very slightly different shades in the car – I now had to get about a billion (well 20) samples and get the best match. As I wasn’t going to retrim the doors it made sense to match those. 

The covering on the dash pieces is a darker black than the rest of the car, with the HVAC controls, centre console the same colour, with the seats and doors a bit between the two. I did think it was fade from UV, but if you look at original press pics they had the same variation so it appears to be a 'feature' rather than complete balls up.

To give an idea of the joy here is a sample set described as ‘Charcoal’, plenty of variation. I spent hours looking at them in under different temperature light


In the end I went for Dinamica 8450, as the shade was bang on and its much easier to work with than Alcantara. Dinamica is OEM for Audi, Merc and BMW so unfortunately no cost to be saved. 

Here it is in the top of the three panels on the seat


I thought I would hit the biggest item first – the rear bulkhead, and hear it is after many hours of swearing at it. Turns out trimming a part this size with this many curves is really hard!

Anyway I did it


Next up was the roll bar cover, far easier. 

Measure up



Apply contact adhesive


Wait for it to go tacky


Apply material, bend pull and stretch


Apply more contact adhesive





I’ll save the hard bits to later

I am also having a struggle getting the embroidery done. I have the logo all sorted and vectored up, but round here anyone that can embroider the logo won't take customer material and all seem to have shut up shop at the moment, so the logo may need to come later...


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@MrP_There is a guy who works for Bentley who lives in Nantwich, Cheshire, so hopefully near to you - Ross Hogg Robinson. He is very well known in the VX220 scene and his work is absolutely superb (as you would expect from a Bentley trained trimmer). Look him up on Facebook and see if he can help. He really does have the best reputation for his work.  Hope this helps:


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Very enjoyable read - look forward to more updates. I've recently had a tonne of work done to mine but would like to have the suspension refreshed, front clam repainted and interior retrimmed now after seeing these pics!

Your car looks beautiful, congrats! 🤓👌

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@C8RKH Cheers will give him a shout, if he can embroider or knows someone that would be great - the worst bit is its the easiest part by far to trim. All the trimmers I have spoken to seem to outsource it to workwear/sportswear shops, but because work places are far less customer facing and there is no sport, they all seem to be in shutdown. Understandably they aren't going to pull someone out of furlough for some numpty that wants a logo on his plastic car, so its not a great problem in the grand scheme of things, frustrating as it feels at the time!

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@Cochi Loco cheers mate, it’s certainly getting there, still feels like a million on one things to do before the weather gets better (days are getting longer and warmer already)...

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Paint wise the car is pretty much done, well it is done and should be all finished now. But I am still waiting on the decal set. I have probably mentioned before, but when getting resprayed I wasn’t sure if I wanted all the cup bits over it (front and rear corner flicks, scallops on the doors) but I figured I would get them and decide later – over 4 months ago I ordered the set from Lotus. Well my wife did, the stickers were a fortune but she thought she would sort them. All good, but I am still waiting. I have had a proper rant at them and in the time its taken to print a set from a file, the car has had pretty much everything except the engine take out and refurbed, a complete panel off respray etc etc. And they can’t press ctrl P…

Broken record I know, but Lotus are still a joke with their parts supply and they really need to sort this as it will not be tolerated at their suspected intended position in the market. Pretty much every part I have needed has been on backorder, or just doesn’t exist and I’ve had to waste weeks ringing around anyone who could possible help, and these are really simple parts, I’m not asking for someone to retool a foundry!


With the car itself being away I’ve been focusing on the bits that I took out of the car before handing over so cleaning up the carbon.

The Cup260 has plenty of carbon on the inside, seats, vent panels, side sills, and dash itself

Most think it’s just cosmetic, but to their credit Lotus did a full carbon dash. Not sure if its much lighter as when I pulled the dash out of my 350 it struck me as light. But anyway its carbon throughout for those that like this stuff. 



Probably fair to say its not been cleaned much – 10 years of Halfords interior ‘cleaner’ I would imagine, coating layers of silicon and farts on top of each other. End result is it all looks kind of shiny, and it should be a nice matte finish. I can’t stand shiny carbon on the inside of the car so needed to restore it. 

Dash was about the worst. The top layer was hit with UV damage, dirt and junk. After a clean it was no longer shiny but dull as you like:


So I went down the route of wet sand (2k and 3k), then hand polish and then topped with AngelWax Luminosity to seal it in, heres the 50/50:


Attacked sills in the same way, cleaned and sealed sill on the left, rubbish dirty shiny one on the right:




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As mentioned I'll be moving to the Aim dash. One of the downsides is its an ugly binnacle, I have the earlier version of the binnacle so its doubly ugly. As all the interior was being retrimmed it would be covered so not an issue, but I had these buttons to deal with:


With the trimming I had three options:

  1. Cover them and they exist under the material - ugly, and just a rubbish solution
  2. Trim around them - would need to expand holes
  3. Move them

Option 1 was out, I thought option 2 most likely but option 3 as a backup as it was more work

First up remove the buttons, the are screwed in, then bonded on top - so I had to cut through the glue to get to the screws. Might of just been my one and the others just pop out, but I had to get cutting and dremeling out the epoxy

End result from the inside (who bonds switches in I ask you?):


And the switches themselves


The holes would need enlarged so were marked out for a rough cut, and then I'd trim with an alcantara and see how it looked

After a quick trim, I figured I hated it, so set about relocating the buttons  to the steering shroud hidden away. The switches are just simple non latching switches connected through a 4 pin 712 connector, so generic switches will be a better bet.

So I bonded in aluminium mesh and started filling the holes


Sanded back and masked for putty spray


Putty spray and rubbed back


Painted ready to go


Will trim properly later, as well as make up new buttons for the steering shroud

Not the most interest update I know, but lots of folk do this an hide it as some kind of black art

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Looking good your Exige.🤩

I wondered if you would be so kind to let me know how much did the new carpet cost?

I was thinking of carpetting my LF1 in exactly the same way as you have done with your Exige Cup.

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@PaulLF1 Thanks very much, at not looks like a car again which is good

I think it would be about £200 +Vat. I can't remember exactly I stopped counting with the million and one things I have stocked up in this project

Part numbers you need are:





A124V0054F - Carpet Fixing Upper long, black, male, footwell carpe x 2

A124V0055F - Carpet Fixing Lower, black, female, footwell carpe x2

Footwell (you might not need these)

A138V0735J - Carpet Driver Front RH


You can get others from the aftermarket, but those were actually more expensive and the carpet often not as nice looking (but I expect better wearing, but thats not an issue in an exige). I also have have the undeseat and rear bulkhead carpets, but I suspect you already have those in your LF1


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The LF1 came with no carpets at all, just the LF1 floor mats.

So I would need the underseat and rear bulkhead carpets as well.

I would need to cut the full height sill carpets and make them into two, like you have done.

I assume Lotus have plenty in stock as they are quoting £350 to full carpet the final edition cars so they must be available.

Did it take long for you to get them from Lotus?

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