How it all started
Late 1960’s, Entered my first Solo II, also called a Gymkana with Dad’s 1963 Buick. Won the class! But when the trophy arrived at the parents house I was grounded for six months.
1969 – Purchased many VW’s over the next four years. Of course entered them in numerous events.
1972 – Became a member of the terrific and outstanding Lotus Corps Sports Car Club (without owning a Lotus)
1973 – Purchased my first Lotus. A used 1972 Twincam Europa followed later by a 1974 Europa Special.
1976 – Purchased my first Lotus Elan. A 1965 S2!!! Let the adventure begin!!! Removed my first body from the frame for the start of a full rebuild.
Jump ahead -The Time Period = Mid 1990’s. I owned 4 S2 Elans. The Arm Rest Pads on all four cars are either missing, cracked, torn, tattered, or just hanging off. They looked awful! Called every supplier in the world I knew. No one could tell me where I could buy new ones. Recommendations were to take it to a Trim Shop and they could cover it in black vinyl. The embossed vinyl could be partially replicated with stitching.
I didn’t want stitching! I wanted it to look like it did when it left the factory with a die-electric welded design heat embossed into the vinyl. I heard of a guy in the UK that could make some up. After a year of waiting, a small fortune in long distance phone calls, I finally received one set. They were horrible! The lines were crooked, not the correct number of lines, and burn holes in some locations. I was fed up!!!
1998 – This is America, there is nothing we can’t do here. So I attempted to contact the President of the eight companies I found in this country that would do that type of work. Most had million dollar contracts with companies like GM, Ford, etc., would not talk to me. Finally I found a company where the owner gave me ten minutes on his calendar. I traveled to that part of the country for the meeting. Showed him my torn samples and he said “oh, this is no problem! How many do you need?” I stated four sets for my own cars and maybe some extras that I’ll try to sell to get my money back. I said 25 is going to be a stretch. He said, “Oh, we can do 25,000 with no problem at all !!!!!” I choked, and when I mentioned there were only a couple thousand initially made and maybe there are only a few hundred left, he had a good laugh. But he himself was an enthusiast and said, “Make a run of 100. We’ll make a prototype, you approve it, you pay for the tooling and dies, and we’ll do it in our spare time”. They came out perfect.!!!
Lotus Elan S1 and S2 Door Arm Rest Pads now reside in garages throughout the world!