Dario's Lab

1969 Lotus 62 Restomod

The Lotus Type 62 race car was a development of the successful Type 47 and intended to race in the Appendix J Group 6 Prototype Class.

It had a spaceframe chassis clad in bodywork designed to recall the Europa road car that Lotus was selling to the public at the time.

The car’s most successful race was finishing 3rd at the Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park in 1969.

Though relatively obscure, it was rediscovered recently when Radford made a modern recreation.

This example had been brought to Australia by a prominent member of the Lotus Club who used it regularly in historic racing, super sprints, and track days.

Though mechanically healthy, the car required significant work to the lightweight chassis (that wasn’t originally intended to have such a long life!), body, and interior.

The work was carried out in collaboration with Berlina Bodyworks.

Perhaps the most interesting task was replacing the suspension uprights. The originals were fabricated from sheet and RHS steel stock. In period the fabrication would have used temporary jigs. The geometry would then have been modified as the car was developed.

As always when dealing with historic cars, there’s a balance to be struck between originality and applying modern knowledge to improve safety, durability, and accuracy. This calculation should also take into account changes in the supply-chain and specific available knowledge/skills.

In this case we decided to make the replacement uprights in CNC machined billet aluminium. The new uprights maintained the original geometry of all the pickup points for hub and suspension members, thus preserving the car’s race-bred handling characteristics.

But the new material and manufacturing technique guarantees consistent (predictable) mechanical properties and better fatigue life. It also takes into consideration increased loads generated by modern tyre compounds.

As always, we took the opportunity to make a feature of the new components that happen to look fantastic (as well as decreasing the car’s unsprung mass).

The interior was also transformed somewhat: The original interior, though spartan, was set up to make the car usable on the street. Over time the original seats were replaced with modern buckets and most of the trim was deleted. The modern seats, as well as looking out of place, were too heavily bolstered for use on the street.

Looking for a period-correct solution that offered sufficient support for continued track use whilst restoring streetability, we identified modern Lotus Elise seats as a suitable starting point, being moulded in a classic shape, the right size, and appropriately light and grippy.

The cabin and firewall geometry (not exactly a cavernous interior!) required the seats to be mounted lower and more reclined than would be allowed by standard Elise rails.

A good excuse for some nice custom hardware! The plan was to create mounting hardware that would be period-correct whilst uplifting the quality look and feel of the interior.

First step: 3D scanning to digitise the shape of the seats. This was necessary because the mounting geometry (threads tapped into metal inserts laminated in the seat shells) is very much arbitrary and would be very difficult to measure and digitise manually.

This solution also minimised lead time as the 3D model generated by scanning could be used to design and manufacture the mounting hardware whilst the seats were being reupholstered and delivered.

Carried out in the UK where the seats were sourced and reupholstered (by Allon White Sports Cars), the scan generated a point cloud with density maximised for the areas that will interface with new mounting hardware.

Next, various solutions were sketched up for the supports and adjustment mechanisms…

Note below the red and green surfaces are the individual seats superimposed.

Below are some images of the ensuing machined hardware ready to be assembled and installed…

The rest of interior was tidied up and finished with a new steering wheel, leather shift lever boot, some custom brackets for the instrumentation, and soft sleeves for various pipes and cabling running along the centre tunnel next to the passenger seat.

Overall, the effect is of a high-quality simple and business-like period-correct atmosphere that makes getting in a special event every time.

Externally, the bodywork was restored to its period configuration, deleting certain aero features added in recent years.

The paintwork was given a general tidy up and we applied a period Gold Leaf livery with racing roundels to evoke the car’s racing and track heritage.

The original wheels were retained but refurbished, powder coated in the correct Gold Leaf colours, and shod in new Yokohama rubber.

Below are some overall views of the finished product. Proudly showcasing the aesthetic sensitivity, quality, and attention to detail that I’m so passionate about.