Lotus Elan

Dashboard

PostPost by: HCA » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:37 am

Good morning.

Does anyone know, or imagine even, if the dashboard in an [+2] Elan is in part, critical to the overall body rigidity? Something inside is telling me that it serves to space the A pillars correctly by triangulating them to the gearbox tunnel, but then I look at the plenum scuttle and ask if this is not sufficient...

I wonder if anything would be compromised if the dashboard were to be replaced by a moulded one in GRP//?

Thanks for any opinions, Hal.
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PostPost by: lomh 13 » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:15 am

When I bought my car, there was a new dashboard in the spare parts.
In my opinion, the thikness of the plywood can't give some rigidity. But I may be wrong.
But even if it was true, a GRP dash if correctly build can give more rigidity than wood.
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PostPost by: HCA » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:39 am

Since I posted, I did some trawling around and see that the subject has come up before but never resolved. I guess that by the very nature of GRP car bodies, there will be movement so difficult to tell the importance of one component outside controlled trial.

My suspicions that the dash might have some importance is that the mounting screw holes are bushed with steel dowels. If the dash panel were not of any importance, would they have not just used countersunk screws..?

You are right that a GRP panel can be rigid. I did not really think of this.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:18 pm

I think that the steel bushes are there to protect the wooden dash. The outboard mounts are bolted to two light steel plates on the back of the dash with what look like #4 wood screws. The upper two screws bolt through fiberglass tabs that are about 1/16" thick. If it's structural, it's minimally so. JMHO
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PostPost by: HCA » Tue Mar 02, 2021 4:28 pm

I am sure you are correct. I looked closer today and cannot see where it might add rigidity. But you never know!

I just want to get away from a flat wooden plank in front of me and thought it would make things brighter if I could do something like the TVR S. But on reflection, it is a lot of work, so I will probably make a new board but cover it in leather...

If I am alive in five years, I might look at the idea again :D
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PostPost by: Bud English » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:03 pm

I feel your dilemma. I've gone back and forth. Do I re-veneer it, cover it in leather or vinyl, or go carbon fiber. Carbon fiber looks a bit 21st century and a bit busy for my tastes, but leather looks a bit plain. The nice burl veneer looks good, but it's the only wood in the car. Hmmm, maybe if there was a bit of matching wood in the center console and on the door cards, it might look a little more at home. :D
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PostPost by: HCA » Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:51 am

Not that I ever had much time for the MGRV8, they did a good job in brightening up the interior of the old MGB - an especial nice touch were the wood cappings on the door cards that, as you say, complimented the wood on the dash. It wood look well on the +2:

MG-RV8-BUYERS-GUIDE-001.jpeg and
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PostPost by: pharriso » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:33 am

Definitely not adding lightness! :twisted:
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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Mar 03, 2021 5:25 pm

I agree with Bud. Not much if any structural significance, and even if there was, plywood would be a poor choice since it will eventually deform under pressure.

As for the looks, I don't find the dashboard being the only piece of wood to make it seem out of place and I'm proud of the re-veneer job I did to it. If you'd prefer leather, I recommend one of the rather good synthetic types now available as it's more stable against shrinkage over time and doesn't need as much care as the real stuff.
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PostPost by: Donels » Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:51 pm

Have reveneered my dash and rebuilt the fixing positions that hold it in body I can state categorically it is not structural for the body. It may be structural for the glass fibre under the crash pad, but that’s all. The body stiffness comes from the bulkhead just in front of the dash.
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PostPost by: HCA » Thu Mar 04, 2021 9:31 am

Thanks everyone!
I just needed re-assurance :)
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:54 pm

Bud,

I have an S4 Elan. I decided to buy a new dash as the price was about the same as replacing the veneer. The dash looks lovely, I am really pleased with the result I have achieved. Perhaps I was unfortunate, but none of the instruments or switches fitted the holes. All the holes were too big! The instrument holes were easy enough to reduce in size, but the rectangular switch holes were difficult to reduce in size and still look good. I lined these switch holes with black velvet ribbon, which does not notice beside a black rocker switch.

Hope this helps,

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PostPost by: Bud English » Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:21 pm

It was Hal that originally posted looking for input. I've decided to take the same approach that The Veg and others have. I'll replace the veneer, myself, with walnut burl and build up a new finish with white lettering under the last couple of coats. Many have done it and there are several good threads on that project.

I can't imagine finding a new dash for the same cost as the supplies to replace the veneer. The bulk of the cost here in the US is the veneer. It's very pricey if you want to do it with one piece but not so bad if book matching two smaller sheets. It should be less than half the cost of new when done.

I can see that the time saved would be significant if the job was hired out as long as it didn't sit in someone's shop for months. If it was down to that I'd certainly consider buying new. :D
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