Lotus Elan

Piano black dash

PostPost by: Jem » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:57 pm

I need a new dash for my 71 sprint.
I could go original and get a replacement dash, but I'm not normally a fan of wood in cars,
I wondered if anyone had tried a piano black gloss dash or even a metal dash like in an early 3.8 e-type.
any thoughts or photos appreciated.
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:54 pm

Hi Jem and welcome to this forum.
You asked for thoughts on a black dash.
I think it is a lot of work to make it look wrong. It is a 1971 car and that is how they were made. One day you will be the previous owner and someone is going to have to do it all over again to put it right.
Of course it is your property and you can do as you wish and most modifications are reversible, so if that is what you want then my opinion doesn`t matter.
I do approve of some mods, such as electronic ignition, starter motor and drive shafts, which improve the experience of using an old car and improve reliability.
By the way whereabouts are you. Even a continent would be good.
best of luck
Eric in Burnley
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:43 pm

Jem wrote:I need a new dash for my 71 sprint.
I could go original and get a replacement dash, but I'm not normally a fan of wood in cars,
I wondered if anyone had tried a piano black gloss dash or even a metal dash like in an early 3.8 e-type.
any thoughts or photos appreciated.
Jem


Nah. reflected glare, heat, scratches etc... and the wood dash is essential in a Lotus, ensures that ALL of the car burns equally if/when it catches fire.
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PostPost by: HCA » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:52 pm

Jem - I think it all depends on how practical you are! The actual dash is no more that a slab of birch ply.

Piano black would be good, and if properly applied to a quality base should see quite a few years before cracking..

Metal would be very easy as all you need is to bond a thin piece onto the base and of course you have plenty of choices of metal finish.

I am about to make a leather covered dash to match the interior a la early TVR 3000s. I am like you and have grown tired of wood. I have no photos as it is not yet started (still bogged down in running the new wires) and working out how to fit a decent satnav into the restricted backspace that is available. Might be another option for you?
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PostPost by: HCA » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:53 pm

Slowtus wrote:
Jem wrote:I need a new dash for my 71 sprint.
I could go original and get a replacement dash, but I'm not normally a fan of wood in cars,
I wondered if anyone had tried a piano black gloss dash or even a metal dash like in an early 3.8 e-type.
any thoughts or photos appreciated.
Jem


Nah. reflected glare, heat, scratches etc... and the wood dash is essential in a Lotus, ensures that ALL of the car burns equally if/when it catches fire.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:02 pm

I have seen some Elan 26r around here with fabricated aluminum dashes painted with wrinkle finish black. Looked like a fighter plane panel.
There is no cure for Lotus, only treatment.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:06 pm

Jem wrote:I need a new dash for my 71 sprint.
I could go original and get a replacement dash, but I'm not normally a fan of wood in cars,
I wondered if anyone had tried a piano black gloss dash or even a metal dash like in an early 3.8 e-type.
any thoughts or photos appreciated.
Jem


I've had a few 3.8 E-types and there is a reason why Jaguar dropped the alloy dash, it's fairly obvious if you've ever driven a 3.8 on a sunny day.

Non reflective dashes are the way to go in my humble opinion, but hey, if you like piano black go for it.
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PostPost by: ecamiel » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:23 pm

The wooden dashboard is also a structural bulkhead tying the body to the frame.
A black leatherette Dash was the original equipment on the Jim Clark special versions, I have read
I have one on my series one and it looks great
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:35 pm

I think the black padded dash was on a S2 that had the Radford make over (coach builder / custom shop).
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PostPost by: 661 » Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:02 pm

Personally I just think that for anything other than a stripped out race car, a non wood dash just looks wrong.
Even the FIA have stopped new passports for non 'wood' dashes

IMG_1607 - Copy.JPG and

IMG_1544.JPG and
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PostPost by: DJW » Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:09 pm

Would personally prefer a black leatherette dash for my Plus 2. May do it at some point with a new dash, keeping original so it can be put back to standard when sold.

It’s your car, and as long as reversible see no harm in changing it to whatever you want.

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