DASH 3.0

click images to enlarge
Dash 1.0 was the dash installed at the Lotus factory back in 1969. After 37 years it was looking pretty sad.

Dash 2.0 was my...well let's just call it lame attempt to improve the appearance of Dash1.0. It doesn't look to bad in the photos or from 10 feet away. But up close it's not something of which I am proud. So after a few years, I decided to try again.

Dash 3.0 is my project to fabricate a new dash from scratch.  The end product will  be covered in Naugahyde.  Since my  budget crash pad  has no vertical elements at each end, I will  glue  ABS  "wings" to each end of the dash that will fill the void. Pictures speak louder so take a look

Paper pattern courtesy of Steve V. A fine member of the Yahoo Lotus Europa group
Baltic Birch 7 ply with pattern transfered and some cutouts. Baltic Birch is used since the dash (like most of the other parts of any Lotus) is a structural element. I should have used "marine grade" but to be honest, I forgot that bit. Hopefully a good coat of varnish and the mild climate in San Jose will help this dash last a few years.
thdash3.jpg thdash4.jpg
Tools and progress. Wing mocked up. Total width is 56". Wings will curve to the adjacent door openings. Don't tell Wifey I took this photo on the couch.
thdash5.jpg thdash6.jpg
Spar varnish drying. "D" shaped hole for the ignition switch was a challenge. As were the rectangular switch holes.
So here it is. The naugahyde, from PerfectFit.com, is glued in place with 3M automotive trim contact cement. It took me a while to figure out the best way to use this adhesive on this project. I ended up just spraying the adhesive on the wood and applying the naugahyde before the glue got tacky. That would give me a chance to reposition if neccesary.
As it turned out, I got it placed correctly on the first go.
Escutcheons courtesy of Dave L. of the Yahoo Lotus Europa group.
thdash 9.jpg  And this is the bendable bit. It will make sense when you see it installed in the car.
I probably won't install it for a month or two.

Did I mention?, I'm cheap. The wood cost $20 from Amazon.com and I had the naugahyde, varnish and glue left over from previous projects.

Dash Install