Lotus Elan

Current Dash Replacement Options

PostPost by: jbeach » Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:35 pm

Dear Lotus Community:

I am finally ready to replace my worn, yellowed, cracked original dash with a new one. Who is currently making a good-quality replacement dash?

When I looked into this a few years ago, a source on the U.S. west coast named "Prestige" was offering these. They were good quality, but not cheap ($1,000+, as I recall). If Prestige is my best option, I am willing to pay that, but I am also open to having a dash shipped from the U.K., if good-quality for significantly less money.

While I do want a glossy finish, I am otherwise going with a dash that looks somewhat original, rather than something exotic, like zebrawood, birdseye maple, pecky cypress, etc.

Many thanks!

-John
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:07 pm

Randy Keller at Prestige Autowood really does an excellent job. I have one of his Elan dashboards and it is all you could hope for:

1. Straight grain wood (like original). You can specify any wood you want and approve the actual piece to be used.
2. Lettering exactly like original. I see a lot of replacement dashes with lettering that is not in quite the right font or placement.
3. Impeccable glossy finish. Covers and protects the letters.
4. Glove compartment, radio blank precision cut and fit, with grain perfectly matched
5. Dash bolt holes include the metal inserts
6. Finished on all sides
7. Switch holes precise and include the raised shims on the back to ensure proper mounting depth.
8. All hole edges finished.
9. You can add/delete any holes that you might want (extra gauge). I kept mine original.

But, as you say not cheap. I paid about to $800 a couple of years ago (with no shipping - I picked it up).

img_8624.jpg and
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PostPost by: elanner » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:06 pm

Eight years ago (how time flies!) I got an excellent dashboard from Gary at C. G. Woodcraft in Connecticut. He's posted on this forum in the past so you could search for his entries. It has all the right features (screw collars, lettering, etc.):

http://www.cgwoodcraft.com/vintage.html

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PostPost by: jbeach » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:03 pm

Thanks to both of you. I look forward to this purchase and having a dash that is as beautiful as the one photographed above. I'm sure I will have a thousand questions as I proceed with the removal and installation process.
Best,
-John
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PostPost by: tvacc » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:39 pm

Madera Concepts in California did mine 20 years ago. They still do them. At that time they were about $400.
Great job. Very happy with their work.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:41 pm

John,

I bought my dash from Sue Miller (Mick Miller Lotus) as a new dash was cheaper than having the old days re veneered. At the time, Sue sourced her dash boards from City Polishers. I was impressed with the finish, however, when I came to fit the instruments and rocker switches I found that all the holes were too large. I spent so much time making everything fit that having my old dash restored would probably have been the better option, as everything would have fitted. I am of the opinion that that the dash was made from a jig that had worn a little every time it was used, so that each dash produced was a a bit further from the original design.

Hope this helps,

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PostPost by: tvacc » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:24 pm

I just went to the Madera Concepts Website...http://www.maderaconcepts.com/

They have a link to the Jay Leno website as that is where Leno got his Elan Dash.
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PostPost by: tvacc » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:24 pm

I just went to the Madera Concepts Website...http://www.maderaconcepts.com/

They have a link to the Jay Leno website as that is where Leno got his Elan Dash.

Sorry guys. new keyboard...double post.
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PostPost by: jbeach » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:22 am

Tony,

Madera Concepts certainly has a sufficient pedigree to meet any quality requirements I might have. I emailed them a few minutes ago asking for some details and a quote. The only concern I have is the "OEM" dashboard on their website does not appear to have the white lettering for the accessories. I have asked them to clarify, as I'm not interested in purchasing a new dash and then having to apply the letters myself.

Richard,

I appreciate the heads-up on Sue Miller and City Polishers. I had actually emailed City Polishers earlier today for a price quote. I think I'll strike them off the list - you may have saved me.

Thanks to you both,

-John
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PostPost by: nigelrbfurness » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:00 am

This is just my opinion, but all the restorations I've done where the dashboard is not actually damaged but the veneer and polish is cracked, I've had them stripped, reveneered and polished by a furniture restorer. Final cutting back of the lacquer by me by hand, just like you would cellulose paint, takes the wet-look shine away and the result is very original looking. Never had any complaints!
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PostPost by: jbeach » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:12 pm

Dear Dashboard Connoisseurs,

After looking into various options, I decided to go with Randy Keller at Prestige (I have neither the time nor expertise to re-veneer my current dash, which is in pretty sad shape).

I realize I could have saved some money with other suppliers and would likely have gotten an absolutely stunning dash. But, as with so many other decisions I have made restoring this car, I felt going with Randy would eliminate risk, while ensuring everything will be top notch. Dealing with Randy has also been a pleasure.

I'll post photos upon receipt of the new dash!

When I removed the bolts from my current dash (I have not removed the dash yet), I discovered about half of them were stripped. Not surprisingly, it appears the anchor point/nut, not the bolt, is stripped (I have new bolts from R Dent).

I have looked through the parts manual on Ray's website and can find no drawings of the attachment nuts/points. Can anyone please describe them so I can begin to get an idea what I'll need to do to resolve the stripped nut problem?

Many thanks!

-John
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:29 pm

John,

The anchor points are small aluminum buttons, drilled and threaded, 5/16NC18, glassed in to extensions hanging down from the underside of the dash top.

When I rewired my dash recently, forcing me to take it off for the first time, I found one of the mounting point threads had stripped, and the PO had used a nut behind it, making removal more of a task than it should have been.

I repaired the threads with a helicoil insert, very quick to do and stronger than the original threads (helicoils are steel, vs the aluminum button threads).

Steve
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PostPost by: jbeach » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:37 pm

Thanks, Steve,

Helicoil inserts are about the only thing I haven't learned to do with this car - so it was only a matter of time....

Looking forward to the education! I assume I can purchase a helicoil kit at my local O'Riley's parts store - headed there now.

-John
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Sun Nov 24, 2019 6:00 pm

O'Reilly's might have it, or a local tool supplier. If not, Amazon does: https://www.amazon.com/Helicoil-5521-5- ... B0002SRDUU

Helicoils are quite handy, I used several in my MGB restoration.
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PostPost by: Bushwacker » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:45 pm

nigelrbfurness wrote:This is just my opinion, but all the restorations I've done where the dashboard is not actually damaged but the veneer and polish is cracked, I've had them stripped, reveneered and polished by a furniture restorer. Final cutting back of the lacquer by me by hand, just like you would cellulose paint, takes the wet-look shine away and the result is very original looking. Never had any complaints!


This makes me want to know what the ?original? finish should look like? I?ve always assumed that it should be high gloss. My car came with a dash that been refinished with a satin sheen clear coat.
I am planning on taking the long hard way of building a new dash for my 66 S3 Pre-Airflow Coupe. I have a bit of experience in wood working and think it would cool to be able to say ? I made that? about the dash. I also know that finishing wood can be a real PITA. Any suggestions from the group on finish material to use and desired end result?

Thanks much,
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