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Carbon Fiber Body Panels

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Hi Glyn,

It's just not worth the hassle. I've been trying to launch CF products only to get shot down in flames so I don't put anything up on this forum anymore about any of my products. I used this forum to gauge genuine interest because I wasn't prepared to go out on a limb and make something (with all that expense) only to find no one wants it.

Fine examples are the CF sunroof, only weighs 3KGs and looks fantastic! How many have I sold since it's launch in March (I even mentioned this project in January)? ONE sold and one or order as we speak.

CF wing, how many? None! Apart from the one we made for Alan Croft which was the development one. I've had the odd enquiry but it doesn't go any further than that.

Problem is low quantities and supply and demand. People think that these products are going to be the same as a CF wing off Ebay from China or Taiwan. These companies make hundreds if not thousands so the costs can be kept to minimum.

Now if 5 or more people came to me with the same product idea then I will make whatever they want making. It's upto them to raise the interest on the first place as I don't want to use this forum for this purpose. So if you want to keep this thread going then it may be a good idea. If some people start to come up with the same idea (I mean people who actually want to buy now) then start a new thread with that said product.

Regards,

Dave Walters

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You've hit the nail on the head there Dave, supply & demand. You can make the most amazing products in the world (supply) but if no-one wants them (demand) you're not going to sell any.

I can, with my opinion, address the 'demand' side. I would guess that no one wants them as they are mainly cosmetic improvements to the car and not cheap ones at that. The sunroof may lose a couple of kgs off the weight of the car but the performance benefit is negligible unless you have figures to prove otherwise. To add a bare CF sunroof may be a style risk to many people as they aren't sure if it will suit their car/taste so it's an expensive experiment from that perspective. To want to spend


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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Just a suggestion, something universal to Esprits, maybe a wing, personally I doubt the roof panel, but just make 5 or six of a single item, spread your costs, if they don't sell, OK you've done some time and some materials.

If buy making 6 you bring the cost down and they do sell you've launched yourself into the CF business. If they were not too expensive the panel in the door with all the switches, Chapman must have had the day off, it weights a ton! and there's 2 of them.

Anyway just a thought.

Roger


Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

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I love CF too and would use it all over Lottie. Trouble is SuperDave, you have knowledge of the processes and costs involved, and most of the rest of us don't.

I was sorely tempted by one of your CF roof panels (primarily to stop the rattles rather than save weight) but I can't justify that sort of cost. I'm sure it's a great price and don't doubt that it's worth every penny, but we all have a (probably misguided or ill-informed) idea of what something is 'worth', and good CF is simply out of my price range.


Proud recipient of the LEF 'Car of the Month Award' February 2008

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: "Wow, what a ride!!"

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Hi Bibs,

I agree with most of what you said. The bit about being shot down in flames was never about price or critism, I welcome this all the time. It was for plugging on this forum, which I have stopped now.

With regards to the products, I have not wanted to develop the most recent products for my own car, it's people asking for them. So for highlighting the benefits of a wing and providing test data then this would simply cost too much in time and employing an aerodynamics company, too expensive.

There's no real benefit for having a CF apart from the weight (if that bothers you) but compared to the overall weight of the car, will make no real difference. so it's people who simply want if because it's Cf and it's going to make their car different.

The wing, I never really expected to produce anymore and agreed to make it for Alan, because he wanted one. This is why I don't list it on my site. Personally if I had one on my car, I would make it not as wide and the end plates smaller and also in aluminium.

So, I would go back to my previous statement, if anyone wants something making and can get 5 or 6 people together then I am prepared to make it.

Any future CF I make myself is purely because I want to and won't ask about interest on this forum. Even if I only make for me and maybe Alan then it's to prove that we can make CF parts for the Esprit.

If someone else owuld like to make Cf parts then I'd be more than happy to buy from them. I've spoken to Geoff at Esprit Engineering a few times (who does Cf airboxes and headlight covers) and his opinion is similar to mine.

I have used two different companies in the past. They are not hard to find. just dealing with taking a part into them and making a mould, modifying it and getting a

Cf version out suitable for road cars takes a lot of time.

I wish for someone on here to have a go. I will definately put my name down as one of the 5 or 6 people to have something made and even pay a deposit.

Any takers?

Stu,

Just out of interest, I do have access to two CF roofs which are suitable for painting? they have a few air bubbles in them. Big discount for what is essentially the same roof. PM me if you are interested. They would come primed so not to get mixed up with the retail one.

Regards,

Dave Walters

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Just a suggestion, something universal to Esprits, maybe a wing, personally I doubt the roof panel, but just make 5 or six of a single item, spread your costs, if they don't sell, OK you've done some time and some materials.

If buy making 6 you bring the cost down and they do sell you've launched yourself into the CF business. If they were not too expensive the panel in the door with all the switches, Chapman must have had the day off, it weights a ton! and there's 2 of them.

Anyway just a thought.

Roger

Thing is the costs involved in making the moulds as well.... normally due to the small numbers sold it's only worth making 1 mould of each part and you've got to hope to cover the cost of the mould by selling x number of parts....Believe me, there isn't any profit in making the roof at the price it is now - it was only done to cater for the few that kept inquiring about the original cf (but completely fake) roof. - not much difference in price but a Loooong way out in terms of function and quality....

Making 5 or 6 just takes 5 or 6 times longer than making 1 so there is no cost saving in doing it!! - same goes for buying the materials, can't really compete with the likes of BAE in terms of quantities bought.....!!!!

Each person has different tastes also, carbon comes in a huge variety of different weaves etc and thats before you start laying it into the mould in a certain direction which the first person likes and the second doesn't...! Gets very complicated!

I personally don't have a single bit of cf on the racer, it's still considerably lighter than the original - in fact not far off the GT1 weight and there's still room for improvement. But then i don't have to worry about squeaks and rattles or loading the shopping into the boot........ :)

Bibs, i have a whole wind tunnel study that we did on the V8 - various front, rear, underfloor options etc and the benefits/ effects caused. It was done before the thread on wind tunnel models etc was started (many moons ago now!) and i doubt it would help to sell anything without starting another debate on the validity of the results etc...! Additionally, it was done for my own personal use...

Jon

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Just a point on the wing.

I hated the standard rear wing on the V8 (the SE one) and even though the GT has the longer transom Lotus actually offered the wing as an optional extra on that model (surely contradicting their own aerodynamic comments) Anyway I hated the look and quite fancied the S350 wing but I feel that is too small. I ersonally like the GT1 wing and tbh the whole look of the GT1 race car. To me a GT model is as close to a racer as possible (e.g. Porsche GT3). I discussed with Dave the possibility of making a wing ourselve as a new S350 wing is


Alan Croft

2000 V8 GT

87 Turbo Esprit HC

2000 Elise Sport 160

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Just a point on the wing.

I hated the standard rear wing on the V8 (the SE one) and even though the GT has the longer transom Lotus actually offered the wing as an optional extra on that model (surely contradicting their own aerodynamic comments)

I'm going to have to pick you up on that one. Lotus never offered the SE wing on the GT or GT3, ever. Dealers would buy it as a part number and fit it to the car once the car had been delivered to their premisis. The cars didn't leave the factory with the longer transom and SE wing. Infact the factory even issued warnings that (very) high speed stability could be compromised if both were fitted, but ultimately if the customer wanted a wing, then they got a wing.

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My personal thoughts on carbon are that it is expensive, but it's worth the money. The weight saving is a big issue to me, as I am always trying to make my car as light as possible.

But not at the risk of making it look like a boy racer car. That's why my carbon sunroof and spoiler are painted body coloured.

Dave, I would have bought a carbon roof off you, but I had already made one myself probably a year before you started selling them!

Wish I'd known though. it took me ages to make.

Carbon tailgates, doors, bonnets, etc.. would cost a fortune and have a very low takeup probably.

But there must be some easy stuff that can be made quickly maybe? My favourite idea is an undertray. I reckon an original tray could be painted and covered in release agent, then some pre preg layed up directly against the original and vacuum bagged.

Probably look awful, but it would be functionally perfect, and weigh hardly anything.

Stew, the original glass sunroof is about 7.5 kgs. That 7 and a half bags of sugar. A lot of intertia when you corned and stop/accelletate. That will be where most of your rattles come from. Mine stopped when I went to a carbon roof.

People spend so much time and effort (and money!) modifying their cars. Yet the best modification is to loose weight.

You accellerate quicker, stop faster, corner faster.. your break pads and tyres last longer, and you use less fuel to boot.

You may think it's not that easy to make a difference.. but I have saved over 100kgs so far on my car, and I've not spent thousands doing it. Subtle things like Sport 300 seats save a load of weight (15kgs), carbon sunroof (5 kgs), loose the soundproofing in the cabin (20 kgs) spare wheel and jack (20 kgs).. It all adds up!

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Glyn - I know what you mean, but I think losing weight is only for the brave.

I relish the fact that Lottie goes like stink but still has all the creature comforts...stripped out racecars are great on the track, but can be a pain in the ass as a daily drive. And the thought of dieting myself to gain a few fractions is NOT an option for a pie-lover!


Proud recipient of the LEF 'Car of the Month Award' February 2008

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: "Wow, what a ride!!"

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That must have happened to mine then as it was supplied with the wing from new. If that is the case then I stand corrected.

Cheers

Still hate the wing though lol (even on an SE) :lol:


Alan Croft

2000 V8 GT

87 Turbo Esprit HC

2000 Elise Sport 160

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Old thread, but would there be a renewed interest in some of these super super nice Things made today, with possibly new owners to many Esprits?

Ì am in for some carbon fiber panels, trays, seats etc, and if there are any others, please write it here, so we can put a smiling pressure on some of the wonder-do-thing guys ;)

Seriously, if would add some greatness to the Esprit, and save kilos, and people can just paint them (I would) if they want to keep original looks.

 

So, please put your opinion and eventual interest here, if this still appeals to you!

 

Kind regards,

Jacques.


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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you should get in touch with pnm my last chat with him involved talk about carbon fibre mirrors rear bumper 1/4 window trims and the small panels next to the fuel flaps

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Surely a cheaper material can be used, Carbon being so dear?

How about Kevlar or even just fibreglass but with a thin weave, one layer thick, reinforced at critical points with Kevlar or thin lengths of carbon. That would keep the cost down.

Still a lot of work I'd have thought.

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A place to look is here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/F1-Motorsports-Lotus-Esprit-S3R/178516808826230

Jan has made molds for various panels on the G car esprit.  He MAY have others.  I know people on the site have asked him to make some parts to which his reply was positive....after he finishes his car.

 

Good Luck


If the only thing constant is change, then why do we resist change the most?

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As you may all have seen by now, PNM started fabricating some carbon parts. If there's enough interest, more types will be made; that is at least what I was told.

 

For now, the following parts are being made:

 

- carbon roof. This is a replica of the fiberroof, not the glass model. And can be upholstered if one so wishes.

I was told that it weighs just over 4 Kg. My glass type replica carbon roof weighs 6,3 Kilo. So I wil get this new one for sure. I have bought leather in magnolia to suit and wil post it when completed.

 

- carbon center deco for the GT3. The part that is normally in same colour as car.

 

- carbon mirrors. As per 1989 se onwards (the Citroên model).

 

- the v8 rearlid vents.

 

- carbon B-pillar covers. The originals trend to break sometimes.

 

- Headlight covers. The originals sometimes break.

 

I have spoken to John some times about it, and ordered a set of headlight covers and B-pillar covers, as a testbuy. I will post here what I find, once I get them. Hopefully soon  ;)

 

Furthermore I asked him if they would make some other parts. I mentioned the undertray, the engine cover, the cover for the relays in the front compartment, the other Black cover same place, the rear lid, the front lid.

He answered, that they are thinking about it, and need more interest from us.

He also mentioned, that Whole headgíght housings are under way, as well as front lid (I think), ans the bumpers.

 

Great news to those of us, WHO want to modernise, save weight, change, or otherwise make it a bit different.

Personally, I'll paint mine red, as not to be seen.

 

I can also add, that I have the old producer of the carbon airbox, make me one, and it can still be done. Very well made. See pic. You have to drill the holes ourself, thereby choosing if you wan to retain the ventsystem as per original, or let it out elsewhere. Fits perfect and saves 0,346 Kg.

 

More later.

 

Cheers,

Jacques.

post-1034-0-59105300-1409489521.jpg

post-1034-0-88889800-1409489695.jpg


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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PNM had their carbon range with them at the Lotus Festival. Looked real good, and I can confirm the roof is very light. The demo Sport 400 also featured the carbon rear bumper.


I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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Was it Kylie in NZ that had lots of carbon bits made, including an engine cover?

That engine cover did look nice.

In other news. I'm looking to buy a load of kit to start making carbon fibre components.

Something I've wanted to do for years and about 8 years ago I bought 3 off cut rolls of carbon fibre and carbon Kevlar. From memory they were just over a meter wide and I got about 20 meters in total. The plan was to make some bits for the Esprit and motor bike. I got married instead.....

Now that miserable mess is over, I'm rekindling my desire to use it and have spent my time, whilst on the sick reading up on vacuum infusion.

The money I was going to use realising a child hood desire for a Tamiya Avante may well now go towards buying the compressor and vacuum bagging fittings I'd need to make a start.

As I'll not be using pre-preg it will eliminate the need for oven curing, which will be a big help when it comes to keeping costs down, but will mean a slightly increased weight and quality of appearance may not be as good.

Watch this space I guess :)

The PNM range does look very nice. Pre-preg too...! :thumbsup:


Chunky Lover

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how-to-find-inexpensive-vacuum-pumps.jpg

Instead of

tamiya000142_2.jpg

Doesn't seem right :(

Wanted one so bad when I was a kid, I'm not a kid anymore and it's difficult to justify spending money on what is essentially a toy, of which I already have far too many and could, but don't use! I'd like it as a shelf queen, maybe when the whole house and garage are finished.... That may be never then! :D


Chunky Lover

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It may or may not, but I am sure, you'll sort it out.

I remember having tried the old school Tamiya rc cars 30 years ago or so.

Been through some 1:5 FG and they are fast, but have  a Graupner 911 now and some airplanes.

Still want a rc Lamborghini LP5000 from Tamiya though.

 

We'll see.

 

Cheers,

Jacques.


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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As was once said by our fair Avante, "Being nuts is NEAT" I have taken that quite literally and as such am about to embark on something that's, well, a bit NUTS as clearly it will be very neat!

I'm having the garage knocked down next week!

Watch this space. Carbon fibre product production will have to take a back seat for a couple of months!


Chunky Lover

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