Body Shell

Bulkhead Holes

Many owners have expressed a desire to cut a hole into the bulkhead (firewall) behind the seats, in order to gain access to the front of the engine. This would be convenient for jobs such as replacing timing belts, v-belts, water pumps, etc. According to Patrick Peal who used to be Head of Communications for Lotus: 

    "The bulkhead could be called a stiffening diaphragm, and is definitely a firewall. So theoretically if you cut a big hole (2 foot square) it would a) be v. noisy & smelly b) make the shell floppier c) be very bad news if it catches fire..." 

    "However, we get the handbrake cables and other things through, so if you make a sensible size hole and make a seal-able lid, say of ally bolted in place with some sealant and some sound-deadening material you should be well OK. As to making the shell less stiff, that would be hard to do! It's got the torsional stiffness of a lettuce leaf (wet and old) and contributes about 10% of the overall chassis stiffness."

    "Don't modify the steel crossbeam that goes across the top of the bulkhead - that does do something useful! (Like hold the seatbelt and generate some crash protection by linking in to the door beams!)." 

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Sitting in the Boot

Due to the inconvenient location of the engine, it may become necessary to sit in the boot to perform some of the work. It makes reaching some engine components much more comfortable. Although it looks fragile, the boot can easily withstand the weight of a 250-pound individual. If you sit in it, do it carefully. Try to stay near the edges when stepping in and try to distribute your weight as much as possible once inside. If you don't and it cracks, don't blame me. Also, if you have a X180R or S4s style wing, be very careful not to damage it while climbing in or out. I guarantee you that these won't handle 250 pounds.

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Opening the Bonnet
It may sound like a silly topic. That is, until you try to do it for the first time. You will sitting there wondering, where the heck the "hood release" is located. But you won't find it, because there isn't one. At least not one that looks like anything you may be used to seeing.

Leave it to an exotic car, or call it British charm, but the hood release is one of the more non-standard pieces of automotive hardware I have seen in recent cars. Once you have found it and used it, it will feel natural. Finding it is the only real problem. Just look for a thin U-shaped piece of wire on the driver's side, underneath the dash. Swing the wire down and forward and the bonnet will unlock, allowing you to open it by lifting from the end nearest the windshield. To close it again, gently lower the bonnet, and then swing the wire forward as far as it will go, then backward until it latches. Don't worry, it really is simpler than it sounds.

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