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88 to V8 interior change

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Some of you may have seen from various other posts, I'm changing my interior on my 88 Esprit to the one off the V8 2002 onwards.

I've also changed the doors as well, so I can have the complete package with later door handles and later door cards.

Just thought I'd post a few comments here.

In fact there is far too much to write really! suffice it to say, so far it is possible.

All sorts of rumours about doors being bigger on the later cars, centre tunnels being smaller, etc.. are not true.

The doors do fit. Perfectly. And the later interior does fit. Perfectly.

You do need to make sure you have all the relevant parts though.

For example, when you swap the doors, you also need to swap the striker plates.

Interestingly, the later doors do fit, and will close properly, even with the earlier interior. Another rumour was that the dashboard fouled the area of the later door cards. They don't.

with the dash, you must also take over the scuttle beam thing that it all mounts to, as the steering column is different. The scuttle beam fits over perfectly, Buy you will need to fill an area on the top of the dash (just below the windscreen) that was cutout at the factory for the older, bigger instrument cluster.

You'll also need to cut a slot for the windscreen vent. On the earlier cars the drivers one was in the imstrument cluster. On the later cars its at the top of the dash.

They changed the location of the slots on later cars, so if you cut your new slot symmetrically the same as the passenger side one, then the vent will fould the wiper arm.. I only discovered this after I'd cut the slot! some fibreglassing and filling resolved this mistake :)

Steerng columns are a big pain. The earlier car used a cortina steering rack and some Mk2 escort column (or something). whereas the later cars with power steering use a different rack and a Vauxhall/Isuzu column. This will not make to the earlier rack. Changing to power steering is more trouble than it's worth.

They did do a car for the USA that had the old rack and the new column, and there was a complicated system of extra brackets and bearings, as well as longer intermediate shafts, to allow this to happen. Sadly though, the bearing panel was fitted to the chassis before the body is dropped, so it's not possible to retrofit without lifting the body back off!

The fix I am doing is to 'cut and shut' the old/new column together. It's safer than it sounds, as I have an engineer doing it for me that used to make Rolls Royce jet engines!

The last thing really is the wiring! The later dash has it's wiring totally different.. including an electric speedo, rather than a cable driven one. Brantz do speedo driver that will allow a pulsed electrical output from a cable drive, so I've fitted one of those for now until I can do a better fix at the gearbox end.

The wiring is going to take the most time. A lot, but not all, the wiring is the same colour scheme on the old loom as the new loom. But a lot of the wires are not needed, and some new ones are, in order to make the new cabin loom fit.

Fitting a new cabin loom though, is easier than trying to adapt the original loom to fit the later car as you'll need all the correct plugs as well.

Here are a couple of 'before' and 'during' pictures. I'm hoping to provide some 'after' pictures before too long.. when it's finished!!

Please note, the 'during' picture only has the interior 'thrown in' to make sure it all fits together in the car. It will look a little tidier when finished!

The eagle eyed amongst you may spot that I've changed the orientation of all the instruments in the cluster. This is so they are in the same order as those on my BMW, so I don't keep looking at the wrong ones when I'm driving!

Many, many thanks go to Brian Angus from Lotus for all the assisance he has given me so far. Without his help, I don't think I would have managed this.



Edited by Glyn Harper
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I admire your skill. you obviously know what you are doing.

I would end up with a clown car where when I tooted the horn the doors would drop off etc.

I love the new interior but think I'll make do with the old style one. Looking forward to the finished pics.

Where did you source all the parts and what sort of cost was involved?

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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Well at the moment, the wiring is at the stage that if you toot the horn, the lights will probably pop up!!

Cost has been spread over a year or so really. I bought a lot of the stuff of Malcolm at Espritism. I think I paid about

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"I would end up with a clown car where when I tooted the horn the doors would drop off etc"

That would be me too! The enthusiasm is there but tech skills sometimes lacking!

Interior looks good Glyn, nice job.

Edited by esprit s2
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  • 4 weeks later...

Nearly there now.. All wiring issues sorted eventually. (few silly things like the pin for a relay dropping out of the fusebox board).

And the new interior is in!

Managed to fill the cutout for the old instrument cluster on the top dash really well, and painted over with some special paint that is designed for repairing plastic dashboards. It leaves a really textured appearance that looks factory. Better than factory I personally think :)

The new interior went in without too many hitches.. took ages though to work out, as some stuff needs to go in in a certain order.

For example, the first thing to go in is the centre panel with the heater controls on. You then drop the main dash over the top of that. Try it any other way (as I did) and it just will not happen.

Spent about 3 hours working that one out.. Eventually, after listening to the same 'Dr. Hook' CD about 4 times on repeat and getting thoroughly frustrated almost to the point of smashing something, it all came together.

The worst part, in my opinion, is fitting the trims for the A pillars. They are awful things, and the clips are so fragile. I've got them on now, but they're not the greatest.








Edited by Glyn Harper
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Wow Glyn that is looking great, that is pretty clever. So the door skins and dash are essentially the same size as earlier stevens cars then? I was going to put updated V8 door skins and mechanicals on my 89 Turbo but thought they were a different size?

How did you get on with the stickers??

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Yes, there are lots of rumours such as 'the later doors are bigger and don't fit the earlier opening' and 'the centre tunnel is narrower on the V8'.. It's all nonsense :)

the V8 shell is the same as the Stevens shell, but with little subtle differences that can be got around.

The major dimensional things like tunnel widths, sunroof openings, doors, are the same.

They are drilled differently in the factory for things light where the steering column pops out, air con hoses go, etc, but they are mainly the same.

For example, the scuttle beam for the V8 that I fitted, went straight into my car, and all the holes in the fibreglass dash lined up perfectly, as did the bonnet release bracket, etc..

I asked Lotus about this, and they said that in order to avoid having to re crash-test the cars at various stages, things that didn't need to be changed, weren't.

The Sport 350 has a slighlty different shell, as the bottom half is hand layed up, I believe, and uses less fibre glass and resin.. possibly with some carbon in there? Not sure what, but I know some of the weight saving on the 350 was down to a different shell.

As for the stickers.. they're on their way! Malcolm is a top bloke, and really nice to deal with.

So pretty soon, there will be another Sport 350 replica for you to see everywhere! :zorro:

I may also add a signature like yours.. Sport 350 #51 :) :) :)

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Cool Glyn im loving this project of yours its going to look incredible when its done. I was going to get Malcolm measure and design up the front radiator intake decal which I havent bothered about yet as I was just going get it professionally painted in as this would look heaps tidier than a sticker perhaps. But if I do gets Malcs help I will let you know, that way its on file for ya :zorro:

And yes S350 # 51 im lovin it :)

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Goodness.. the forum was down when I was replying to Kylie and I can't remember what I was going to say! :thumbup:

Well, the good news is that apart from an LED bulb in the dash I need to change.. it's finished!!

Here is a 'quick snap' for now, but I'll try and get some better shots tonight with my proper camera.


Edited by Glyn Harper
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Brilliant work mate, looks $1m :thumbup:

(PS, please keep your images below 800px on their longest side, they take an age to load otherwise.)

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Hi Glyn,

I take my hat off to you. That must have been the biggest project I've seen short of a full restoration.

There's no way I could attempt this, well done, top job!

What seats do you have in your car?

I like the red theme too!

Dave Walters

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Thanks very much chaps.. most appreciated! Just a couple of little niggly wiring issues now to sort. The alarm is buzzing at me (think the microwave sensor has unplugged itself) and the water temp gauge isn't working. I should be able to fix that fairly easy.

Dave, the seats are 'SJ Sportscars' copies of GT3 seats. They're really nice and comfy, and really light compared to the originals!

Well, took some better pictures last night..

So.. this is the car I bought 10 years ago next month...



And this is the same car as it is now..




Just waiting on my red/silver Sport 350 graphics to arrive from New Zealand! (Cheers Kylie).

Edited by Glyn Harper
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Caninus Genitalius Maximus.

The Mutts nuts, dogs danglies. STUNNING

If i were to attempt something like that it would be a nightmare. In fact i would be better off selling the 88 Turbo and a kidney to buy a S350.

2009 World Singstar Champion

No I don't like the Europa, Evora or Exos.

"Like a cockmonkey with 3 cocks."


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Looks great Glyn, Fantastic workmanship.

Only one question.....When you coming to do mine :hrhr:

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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It's not really too bad a job as it looks really. All the parts pretty much fit together with the exception of the steering column. However, a hybrid between an old and new one can be made really easily it turns out.

now I've done one, I reckon it wouldn't take me half as long next time.. although I really don't plan on doing it again!!

Still got a couple of niggles to iron out. The alarm and the water temp gauge not working.. but these are hopefully minor issues and don't stop me driving it.

The main part is wiring really. If you can read and understand the Lotus wiring diagrams, you're most of the way there!

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Glyn, my hat is off, well done mate, great effort and looks AMAZING!!!!! If I was keeping mine I'd be shipping it over to you with a box of V8 interior bits hahahaha... Well done and all the best


Mark MacKenzie  Elise S2 135 Sport 

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