Lotus Elan

Spyder chassis painting

PostPost by: mikealdren » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:04 pm

I've been building up my Spyder Zetec chassis and noticed that the paint is fairly fragile, it chips easily. The same on the suspension arms.

I'm considering over painting the chassis but not sure whether to use: Stonechip, traditional bitumastic underseal, epoxy or some form of rubberised paint.

I'm also wondering whether to over paint the suspension arms, I don't want to get into stripping the existing finishes and starting again from scratch.

Views and experience much appreciated.

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PostPost by: Davidb » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:43 pm

I used POR15 on my chassis-I don't know if that is available in the UK?

Remarkably easy to use although surface must be very thoroughly scuffed in order for the new paint to adhere.

It flows out amazingly well-no brush marks and is very chip and chemical resistant.

Only downside may be that it is available in black or grey-I went with the grey and am very happy with it.

After three years of use - some of it on gravel roads - there are no chips on the chassis!

Edit: I just checked and it is available at Holdens in the UK plus ebay.
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PostPost by: alanr » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:25 pm

Are the chassis and suspension parts definitely painted or powdercoated?
If just 2k paint or other paint then overpainting shouldn't be a problem, however If it is powdercoated you cannot just paint over it. It will need to be blasted first.
I am against powdercoating anything like chassis or suspension parts that are exposed to potential chipping by road gravel or whatever because you can't just over paint it when chipping occurs, also powdercoating can hide cracking in a component.

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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:59 pm

I painted my early Spyder chassis with red Smoothite - went on well over the old paint and seems to ok. I’ve also used por15 on another lotus chassis which went on well and seemed pretty resilient
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PostPost by: mbell » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:11 pm

It is some form of enamel paint. I briefly spoke with spyder about it when collecting some parts, my memory is that they said they used it so it was easy to see if there damage in the chassis when is use or something like that.

As stated it does tend to chip and need refinishing. I don't remember any good advice for them about how to do this. It might have been to strip it first before re painting.

My guess is that most paints won't adhere to the current finish very well and lots of prep might be needed.I'd be very concerned about POR15 as it needs a rough surface to adhere well and current enamel paint might be too smooth.

Will be interest to know what you do and how it works as I have a spyder chassis waiting to be fitted that needs some work on it's paint.
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:01 am

Thanks all, I've used POR15 where the paint has chipped (I too rate POR15 highly). It is susceptible to UV degradation so I'll over coat with chassis enamel.

My real interest is whether to cover everything with a top coating that will withstand the rigours of regular road use better than the original paint, hence thoughts of stone chip or bitumen/rubberised coating. Anyone used these on the chassis and/or suspension?
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PostPost by: Foxie » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:30 pm

I fitted the Spyder chassis to my 1970 Plus 2S in 1998, with the original Spyder paint finish.

I had to remove the body in 2015 to make a modification to fit the Voigts T9 Mk II gearbox. I had to remove a diagonal tube on the LHS and replace it with a flanged steel panel to accommodate the reverse selector detent on the tail housing.

The original red paint was mostly good, but had flaked off on a few edges.

I repainted the complete chassis with Rustoleum Combicolor red ( except the "Spyder" logo ! :) )

The black paint on the suspension wishbones was perfect.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:35 pm


I know this is not what you want to hear, but probably more than 90% of any good coating/paint result is preparation.

When I was working (chemical process industry) we specified shot blast with surface texture and degree of cleanliness. We also specified new shot to be used, and no shot to be reused, as reused shot also contains the rubbish that has been blasted off the substrate, and we did not want that rubbish hurled back onto the newly cleaned substrate. All this is difficult have done and even more difficult to ensure it is done, but if the preparation is done correctly you can expect a good result.

Sorry to give bad news,

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PostPost by: mikealdren » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:19 pm

Hi Richard,
yes the ideal solution is to start with bare metal but that isn't realistic now.

What I am looking at is protecting the existing paint which has a tendency to chip. Either Stone Chip or bitumen should achieve what I want for the chassis. I've never seen either applied to suspension components although they live in the same environment. I'm tempted to give them the same treatment.
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:35 pm

Hello Mike,

Mine has been painted over with what appears to be Waxoyl underseal, it's not pretty but it seems to stick well. It has been on there since the late 80's at least and has only lifted in areas where the original finish has peeled. It was done by a previous owner so I can't say what the condition of the paint was in before it was overcoated.

The original finish for the Spyder spaceframes is stove enamelling I recall reading on their website a few years ago, or maybe it was in Robinson and Ross...


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