GT6 Mk II
I found this GT6 in Maryland as an abandoned father son restoration that was started and then stalled in the 90's. Overall a lot less rust than the usual suspects, but missing some parts either from being lost over time or parting out. The good thing was that it appeared that while the interior and some of the body had been disassembled, the mechanics, engine, drivetrain, and suspension was not touched. Needless to say, there was enough parts to hunt down from the interior and body bits, some of which are NLA, or parts of larger parts that you cannot get used unless you buy the entire assembly. But this is what ebay is good for. As for the rust, both front floor pans had rot and holes and the bonnet looked like it was stored on a wet dirt floor as the very back showed rust through in places and was loaded with dirt. But the rest of the car and frame looked pretty solid. The car sported a non stock triple weber set up, but the PO had to cut a hole in the bonnet to clear the number one weber DCOE. After some research, it appears that this is the wrong manifold for the car, rather it was meant for the TR6. The correct manifold actually steps down as it move forward to follow the curve of the hood. The original SAH manifold is NLA, and the only one I found was from Moss Motors in the UK, but at a cost of $1,100. Ouch.
While I was in the middle of the Lotus Elan (Eagle) restoration, I don't think I can really start on this until my trip back home next year. But I have started to buy parts. I found two front floor panel repair sections on ebay along with some trim bits and of course factory manuals and litterature on the car. The most worrisome part was the bonnet. The two rear reinforcement panels on each corner had seen better days, and all the US suppliers called them NLA. But I did find a UK supplier, Rimmer Bros., that had both sides but shipping and taxes equaled the cost of the parts. Oh well, just happy I was able to find them and not have to bang them out by hand. They were relatively complicated parts and difficult to replicate.
After a day of sorting the boxes of parts and identifying what was what and tossing the non Triumph parts I got a good idea of what I need. One of the parts that was in the box was the hinge cover, but it was made from ABS plastic, broken in half, had numerous cracks and missing sections. Unfortunately, this was one of those Unobtainable parts new and most used ones are broken or in the same shape as mine. I had good luck gluing parts like this together in the past, but without all the pieces, it was not going to look right, even after painting the cover. I had ordered 2 yards of this grained Vinyl material called Whisper Vinyl that is used by many custom sound system installers to cover those boom boxes in the trunk. What intrigued me was that the forums were all saying how easy it was to use, conformed to odd shapes, and looked like real leather. I intended to use this to recover the dash on my Elan or to recover the fiberglass reproduction of the dash that I have. The GT6 hinge cover looked pretty bad after I glued and used epoxy to build up the missing pieces, but it was straight and looked good outside of the different color of the epoxy, glue, and missing grain. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I did buy extra vinyl so why not?
Even after the cover was epoxied, glued, and reinforced, it was still a bit fragile. So I carefully applied spray adhesive and vinyl to the center of the cover first, leaving the to two hinge bumps to deal with after I had the middle tightly stretched and covered. I used the best 3M yellow spray adhesive, and worked the vinyl on by stretching and massaging the material into place. The vinyl contoured to the center dome light protrusion very nicely and the middle, being relatively flat, was an easy application. I just flipped the part over and over again to stretch out any wrinkles and the adhesive allowed you to apply, peel off and re apply over and over again until you get it just right.
After the center part dried, I peeled back the un-glued vinyl from the ends, working one side at a time. I sprayed the adhesive on both the part and the vinyl and let them dry for about 5 minutes before stretching the vinyl in place. The hinge bumps were about 1.5 to 2 inches high and I was not confident that the vinyl would actually stretch and contour over these humps. But I slowly worked the vinyl in and around the humps, using a hair drier just a bit to soften the vinyl in the tough spots. I worked the wrinkles out slowly and one at a time. Peeling back and re-applying the vinyl until I was satisfied. The vinyl wanted to lift up on the 90 degree up turns, but I kept at it, pressing them down and massaging the vinyl and applying some heat. With some trimming and darting around the hinge opening, I finally got a very good outcome.
The final result looks better than factory. I hemmed the vinyl over the edges and glued them down which gave the part much more structural integrity, and gave it a very finished look, very Porsche like in finish and texture. I am very happy with the outcome and I am very picky about these things. I let the finished part sit for about 6 hours and didn't notice any lifting. But time will tell.