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Need a little help with my project......

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I have never seen this topic before. Interesting project. I don't know if you have mentioned it anywhere, but what are you going to do for engine and drivetrain? The original gear from the S3?


Seriously impressed by your coach building skill. :thumbsup:

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

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Hi all,

Sorry if this post is a bit pic heavy, and if the writing and pictures dont exactly correlate. I cut and pasted this from another forum. I will be keeping this thread upto date in future.

The lotus chassis has been taken out from under the body shell and stored. We have set up a table infront of the cab so we can set up and finish the fitment of the front end. Today i cut the flange off from the underside of the front bumper and im fitting a piece of 6mm grp sheet i had lying around, i have decided the front bumper will be attatched to the chassis and the bonnet will hinge from it. It will be a much nicer way to finish it as the brake and radiator ducts can all be fixed into place, it also helps with my plan for the car to have a flat floor. i have also started to fit the lower half of the inner arch as these will be molded in.


We have now been over the body and made a complete list of all the jobs that are left to be done, its quite a big list but we are knocking jobs off. Today im working on the rear wheel tub to get it upto the stage of the other one. We have now found a supplier of the 308 screens at a very reasonable cost, £300 delivered. So next week we will be ordering one so we can fit it into the plug to check the fitment before we mold anything. Once we know the screen fits we can fit a wiper arm and motor (we're going to use one from an x300 xj6, single wiper, cheap and plenyful) as this will need a dimple on the scuttle so the arm aligns to the screen properly. Then we can finish the front bulkhead, first by putting a water channel under the screen, then make clearence for the front wheels and the flat end to the footwells. In an above post i said we would now leave the floor pan till after we have molded the body but it looks more likely that we will now do it at the same time so once we are done with making molds we can move on to finally building a car!

Yesterday i borrowed a pair of original 308 doors from a steel bodied car. I used these to check the door window fitment into my shell and im happy to say it all fits well. I need to buy a set of window frames by the end of the year so i can finish my door moldings.

I have aslo been looking into wheels and tire again, i wont need them until the molds are done and i fit the first body to my chassis. Tires for the original size are really expensive because its only the f40 and diablo that used 335/35/17, the tires are actually more expensive than the custom image 3 piece wheels! But i started looking around and if i went for 325/30/19 instead the tires are actually quite cheap because lots of modern supercars use them. Image also offer a copy of the f40 wheel im 19inch so i can stick to the original look just bigger. Im hoping it will make the car look a little more modern? any thoughts?


i have been working on the rear 1/4 windows because they were lacking in detail in a few places. The shape in the picture is how the window will look with the glass in. I have to mold it like this so the mold will pull off the plug. Once the mold is make i can make a removable insert that will fit to the mold and will give you the recess for the glass in the final moldings.

I have also completely cut apart the vent on the left hand side as i wasnt happy with it or the curve of the window but its looking much btter now.


I have also been working on how i am going to finish the top of the pillars at the front of the sill and how they will join the front end. The final version will be very similar to what is pictured but the pins will be stainless. These just locate the sides of the front, i am planning on having sprung catches to hold the hood down.


Yesterday we had a 308/328 windscreen delivered so today i test fitted it, The fit around the top and sides is excellent but there was about an inch gap between the bottom of the screen and the frame....
So i cut the lower part of the frame out of the body and reattached it correctly.
I have also been blocking thebody down with 120 grit, all pretty smooth now, should be able to get some 2k primer on once we have the next few body mods done.
I now have the screen frame bonded back in and the screen now fits well and only needs minor adjustment.


Next its time to work on the 'A' pillars and to start to finish up the front bulkhead and wheel tubs.
I then replicated the Lotus chassis in ply wood so i have the mounting faces in the right places and clearence where i need it, the only thing missing from it at this point are the strut tops, they will go in soon.
Then bent a flexible sheel of flate grp round to form the inner wheel tub, it returns under the screen to give the front wheels as much clearance as possible
It was then gel'd red and layed up with glass, this is how it looked with the grp sheet popped off..
I also started to lay up a thick flat sheet of grp today, this will be cut up and pieces put shiney side onto the plywood then bonded together to form the chassis foor, next i have to remake the end of the sill so it blends into the inner arch.....


I struck the sheet of 6mm grp that i layed up the other day and i have started to put together the front of the tub where it sits on the chassis and clears all the front suspension. Its only dropped onto the former for now, it will all get aligned properly,then glued into place before i bond it all up. The top 3 pieces need cutting up and lifting in the middle leaving a 25mm raised section, this return makes it all stronger and will act as an opening so the rad pipes and brake lines can be accessed. This opening will have a lid on top that will carry the battery.

The front of the tub has a large curve because im going to mount the rad upto the front of it and all hot air will be ducted out under the car.

This is the last of the pieces the go around the front of the chassis, i also cut the piece for the end of the drivers foot well. I need to re cut the side piece as i am now going to put a 25mm taper on the end of the footwell and infront of the lower arm, This makes it come out of the mold easier and access to the suspension bolts is much easier.




Edited by plasticfantastic
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Hi all,


Got a little more done today, I have mocked up the top mount where the shock fits. I have built the tub around the top so i can bolt the tops to roll cageand triangulate them to the dash bar and door bars.


Im after a s3 pedal box if anyone can point me in the right direction?










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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all,


Been working on the tunnel and starting the floor pans. I built a former out of wood so I could build the grp tunnel onto it. Then trimmed the pieces to length, There is a 50mm wide strip that runs around the opening in the floor where the chassis fits through, this lifts the chassis above the floor so a cover can be fitted completing the flat floor underneath the car. I then started to piece in the rear bulkhead around the engine bay, next is the main floor areas and to build the rear bulkhead into the rear wheel tubs.

Comments always appreciated


























































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  • 4 months later...

Love this project.

I had plans to build a replica F40 back in 2005. I was going to use the new Ford GT drivetrain and fabricate the chassis by reverse engineering a 1/5 scale F40 model kit. I abandoned the project because of the lack of a source of body molds. Add to that.. a bill of materials of over $130,000 USD, plus labour and it seemed pointless, because at the time, a real F40 was about $300k.

I decided to do an Esprit instead..

See my Facebook page : F1 Motorsports - Lotus Esprit S3R

What is the construction materials you are using? Looks like coremat with 10oz overlays?

Also perhaps you need one of my space frames built for you... Mine has been designed on lotus oe geometry using Susprog 3D and 40mm lower ride height. ;)


If you set no goals you shall surely reach them..

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Great project, well done.

How are you keeping the whole project straight, I mean do you have jigs? Reason I ask is I made a giant scale RC plane once with the help of a club, first time I used a jig with datum markers to ensure the airframe was straight in 3 dimensions. Until then I just did 'square, level, plumb etc'.

Great photos.


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Love the build, keep the updates coming...


Out of interest, how are you going to do the interior?  using the lotus bits, or are you going to make a Ferrari replica from fibreglass?



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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for all the kind comments about my project guys,


I havent been able to touch the F40 for a while so very little has changed, I need to do a large resin order before i can continue. Instead i have spent most of my time lately working on my Davrian, ripping it appart, so still playing with fiberglass!



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  • 1 year later...

Hi all,

I have been back onto the F40 over the last couple of months trying to make a final push to get the shell finishd and to start making moulds, it's been 11 years now so it would be nice to move on to another aspect of the build!

It started with me spending half a day just tidying up the workshop so i could get to her, then i dusted it off and degreased the body. First i decided to build the passenger side (n/s/f) front arch as i didnt get around to it before. First i had to re-setup the tube and clamps for the top return. Once done and taped i gel'd it red and layed a few layers onto it. Then it was onto filling the big hole that was where the drivers floor pan is meant to be. I layed up a flat sheet of grp that was 6mm thick like the rest of the floor pieces, this time black instead of red as i have run out of red. Once cured i pulled the sheet from the mold and with a few measurements i trimmed it to size and dropped it into the drivers sie floor.

This was also the time to finish up where the sill, floor and inner arch meet ready for bonding, once i was happy i layed a layer over the joins. While i was at it i put a couple of layers inside the drivers side suspension turret.

The floor pans are now almost done and i have started to finish up the front of the tub. With the floor pans almost done it was time to do one of the jobs i have been putting off for quite a while.

The major down side of fitting my body to the Lotus chassis was the wheelbase being just over 2 inches shorter on the chassis than my body. Now the body has been aligned to the front wheels it meant that the 2+ inches had to be sorted out in the rear arches.

In the end it didnt work out too bad, its not easy cutting up a panel that your happy with though. To move the rear arch i cut behind the door so the join lines will be easier to blend. The arch is now 3 inches bigger which is good because i had built them with too little space around the tire before. Also i now plan to run 19 inch wheels instead of the 17's they originally had. 19's will mean i can run bigger brakes and it will be easier and cheaper to buy tires as alot more cars run the 19's. Im now looking at running 345/30/19 on the rear instead of 335/35/17.

With the arch moved i have been filling and blocking back the arch to get the shape back and today i have started to fit the inner wheel tub back in. The arch lip still needs shaping.

Apologies for the picture dump but it seems the best way to catch you all up......





















































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WOW! thats looking very very great! keep on rocking! want to see the car when its done!

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  • 4 months later...

Extremely impressed. I wish I was that confident with glasswork.

Can't wait to see it mounted on the larger wheels.?And I'm curious about the room for the pedal box - seems tight - could it be tighter than the Esprit???

Keep the pics coming - I love this thread :)

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This F40 replica is the nuts ! He is on some other sites and this is been said by many people to be the best F40 replica, body wise that has been build,  The guy is looking at taking moulds of it when finished and selling them.


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  • 1 year later...

Hi all,

It is with a heavy heart that i write this but i have to be realistic about my F40 project.

It has been over a year again now since i have managed to work on the F40 and the build its
self has been going for over 13 years now on and off. At no point in those 13 years has my
love for this car or project changed, but that hasnt stopped life from getting in the way of
the progress of the project. I am also my own worse enemy and im a stickler for detail and
this has seen me re-do many aspects of the car numerous times each time trying to achieve a
 better level of finish while also making the end build for the customer easier. It would have
been easy to have molded the body long ago without any though as to how it would ever fit to
any kind of donor vehicle after, this would have then been upto each builder to work out on their
own which would make the final builds complicated. My decision to use the Lotus Esprit S4 V8 TT
 as a donor was to enable the final build to be as simple as possible while also having a replica
 who's underpinnings matched it's perfomance exterior.

Whereas a replica body like this is usually bonded and glued onto the existing body work of the
donor vehicle, with this design it completely replaces the donor body and is fitted to the chassis
with only 12 bolts, this means that there is hardly any panel alignment to be done except for hanging
the doors, as well as the front and rear end. With this being a replacement body onto an exisiting
chassis, it means that it does not need to be IVA'd to be used on uk roads.

The project is now at a stage where i need to invest money into materials to produce the molds from
the plug you have seen me building in the pictures. While this isnt an extortionate amount of money
it is enough to bring a project like this to a stop because im at a point in my life, with a young
family and other commitments, which mean that i connot afford to put the money into it. I will never
sell this project and if i have to chip away at it until my retirement then that is what i will do
but really this project deserves to be finished in a quicker time frame.

So realistically im now at a point where i have decided to see if anyone out there is interested
in investing in having the first rolling shell produced for them self. If someone was to step forward
and order the first rolling shell it would enable me to dedicate almost my entire working week to the
project which would enable it to be finished within a decent time period.

This isnt going to be the cheapest replica going, and i will make a rough list below of some of the
build costs to give you an idea:

Lotus Esprit S4 V8 TT donor around £25,000. The Lotus body, wheels and interior can be sold returning
around £10,000 or more.

F40 replica wheels tires £5,000

Ferrari 308 windscreen, door window frame + glass, replica rear screen, cab rear window + side windows,
replica headlight covers £5,000+

One of my relica bodies, molded using replice carbon/kevar wover fabric, fitted to the lotus chassis
 with doors hung and the front and rear end hung. This will be around £30,000 depending on spec and
negotiations with the customer.

Im open to negotiate with someone over the exact build spec they would like right up to a turnkey finished car,
and at minimum i am looking to work with someone to have the first body fitted to a donor rolling chassis.

If anyone out there is seriously interested in this project then please PM me and communications can go from

Many thanks

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  • 6 months later...

Hi Mike,

Well done with your progress so far, I can appreciate your effort and pain so far as I have built many of my own custom bodies and moulds, I try to design with option for 3UZ Lexus with Audi box or the BMW M70 V12 with Audi box with custom adaptor and flywheel.

One issue is that most people will not be prepared to spend cash on a decent donor to re-body and it may be a better idea to also have a custom chassis option as well.

I will PM you as I would be interested in assisting with the completion of the project.






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  • 1 year later...

Hi all,

I though id update you all as more progress has been made on the project for those of you intereted :) I apologise if the writing below is a bit cut and paste but i think it makes sense along with the pictures.

The last few months have seen quite a change in the f40 now, as you can see in the pictures the tub is now bonded together and the majority of the cab rear bulkhead has been finished. I have layed up the reare wheel tub since these pictures so next step is to finish the left hand rear arch and a little work on the L/H cab window and vent. Then the plan is to lift the shell off its current table and ive bought a chassis table so that will come into the workshop and my Esprit chassis will be bolted to that them my body can be fitted to the chassis.

Once the fitment is sorted i have already bought a roll of carbon/kevlar hybrid weave to skin the inside of the shell. once all this is bonded in i have also bought a tube bender so i can design and build a prototype roll cage that will also bolt to the chassis. This will be tacked together inside the shell so i can cut it out of the body later when the molds are done then a jig can be made. Eventually the roll cage will bebuilt and bonded into the shell during construction.

Final stage is to then buy the custom wheels and tires to final check all clearences and to paint the shell. Then i can finally start to make the molds!

Another small update on some of the jobs done over the last couple of weeks. Ive been working more pn the RH rear arch, i bought a part worn 345/35/19 to continue checking the arch shape, all seems good so far, i need to do a little more work on the arch curve before being able to put the radius' onto the lip.

Ive also started to finalise the front end location and fitment. Its now locked down square to the body and ive cut apart the LH front arch to finalise the shape, size and location i want. I havent completely decided on what wheel and tire size to use on the front yet, whether to balance out the wheel size and have matching 19 like the rear, but id have to run quite a low profile to keep the circumference down, something like a 225/30/19. Or to more match the tire profile with something like a 235/40/18. Im not a huge fan of super low profile and the 345/35/19 has quite a big sidewall so id like to balance that out on the front.

Ive also now buzzed most of the body down to 400 grit. i still have repairs to do, and parts need blocking down but im pushing towards getting the shell ready for primer. Im currently widening the flanges around the door openings to make laying up around the sharp corner easier later on.


Comments and criticisms appreciated







































  • Like 2
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Hi all,

A little more progress has been made. I have thickened up the return flange around the RH door, this was because in places it was a little too narrow and would be difficult to mold later and also i need a wide flange around the edge of the mold for the vacuum bag to stick too.

I have also done most of the work needed to catch the LH rear arch up to the same stage as the RH  rear arch, only a little more todo now before i decide on rim width's and offsets, but the body needs to go onto the chassis before i can do that.

In an effort to do something other than sanding filler, today i have been mocking up ideas for how i plan to do the roll cage and the bulkhead areas behind the seats that enclose the fuel tanks. The tube in the pictures is a little thick at 55mm as i plan for the main hoop to be 50mm and the rest of the cage will be 40mm keeping it inline with the MSA designt regs.

Comments and criticisms appreciated


















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