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1990 SE wooden dash

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When I first bought the SE the wooden dash trims were falling apart I could not find a new one and thought the light wood looked out of place very Allegro Vanden plas. So I took it out glued it back together and wrapped it in black vinyl as a temporary measure. 

The substrate re gluing and filling seems to have worked so I have a good base.

I am deciding whether to redo it properly in a dark wood something like rosewood or Spray it black as the wrapping does not look good in certain parts . I don't want to do something that will devalue or make the car difficult to sell if I do something silly like buy an Esprit with 4 extra cylinders.

Does anyone know what the standard SE options were from lotus for the dash trim around the dials? did they offer black or dark wood or was only light Elm? Do you think it matters as long as its done nicely?

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.......just only light Elm far as I kow......(as my LHD 1990 Esprit Turbo SE)


Edited by rudolphwolven
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the 89 had black plastic.


My 89SE had the light burled Elm (Cracked Badly).



As far as I know the SE's all had the same Elm, but I do know of a 90SE or 91SE that had the black plastic dash.

I replaced my wood veneer with a carbon fiber veneer (real carbon fiber)



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Vulcan Grey 89SE


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I peeled off the wood veneer, painted the plywood black and then bonded the carbon fiber cloth on with the resin (clear polyester).

photos here














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Vulcan Grey 89SE


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Walnut on the SE's prior to I think '91, then burred elm. Sport 300 had clear plastic. 

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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Burred elm on my 1990 SE.

Well done btw. Travis.

I'd certainly like to have a complete Sport300 instrumentation (or a S4d for that matter) for two reasons. One: the speedo and rev counter are bigger. Two: they sit lower, so I can better read them.

Question: would it be possible ti tighten say the speedo holder bracket so much to keep it tight, so that the Wood veneer breaks? I was thinking that, since I've seen some and heard about some being cracked.

Kind regards,


Nobody does it better - than Lotus ;)

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Nice Job Travis, that should keep it stable!

The original design is fundamentally poor thin to thick ply wood with veneer coated in too thick clear coat will always crack according to my cabinet maker friend, especially in a climate like the UK. Always garaged cars might be OK.  My clear coat was particularly thick and the inside not sealed at all. 

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  • 2 years later...




couple of pics for carbon dip interior parts.

can take some in daylight if required.

i also had the ally wheel centre cap rings, rear number plate plinth and headlight surrounds done at the same time.  Although these parts are exposed to the elements they still look great after a years motoring in some rubbish weather!!

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very nice!  i was not aware of that process.  Certainly gives another option for the dash.  thanks

what are your climate control knobs from?  did you reconfigure the stock system?



just because I don't CARE doesn't mean I don't UNDERDSTAND

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The system is from an alfa.  I ripped out the original heater box and shoehorned in the alfa unit.  I also used the condensor, receiver dryer and low pressure switch. 
I opted for a new original spec esprit compressor and had a custom set of pipes made up to plumb it all together. 
I’ve lost the majority of storage space in the front boot but then I didn’t really use it much. I’m still refining the system, next job is to swap out the old alfa fans for some Spal ones to increase the airflow. The fan install will give me the opportunity to box it all in nicely.

The controls are way better to use With green backlighting to match the binnacle, plus I’ve been able to use the heated screen button to turn on my electric front windshield demist.

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