An Introduction to an Historic Business
by Nick Fulcher
N. Fulcher Coachtrimmer • 50A New Road, Hethersett, Norwich, Norfolk NR9 3HH • Tel/Fax: 01603 811993 • www.coachtrimmer.co.uk
It doesn’t seem over 30 years ago that I found myself working at Ital Design with Giorgetto Giugiaro on the interior of the first Esprit. How time flies..!
When I got back to Lotus Engineering Division I spent a few weeks at the factory but then moved to Ketteringham Hall with the “Think Tank” to develop and productionise the interior, source the materials, test them and make sure they all performed to their specifications. The original Interior had a Tartan headlining and gear lever gaiter but they were scrapped and changed to green.
One of the early Prototype Esprits at Ketteringham Hall
It was then back to the factory to write the EI’s (Engineering Instructions) and to cut all the production patterns for the trim shop and show them how the cars were to be trimmed. I trimmed the first 3 cars for the Paris Motor Show, after that the trim was handed over to production and after a few teething problems we were up and running.
The picture on the left shows the radio & rear pocket, but when you changed gear you also changed stations with your elbow. The picture on the right shows the Nextel gear knob and steering wheel but these got dirty very quickly. As you can see we also trimmed the car with no Tartan, it looked awful as you can see. All these ideas were scrapped pre production.
An early prototype with radio between seats. Early prototype withNextel Gear knob
Out of the blue I was told I had to go to Pinewood Studios. I had to make some alterations to the Esprit interior for the Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me” which included changing the head rests to green as the tartan clashed with Roger Moore’s complexion. I also had to make a clock/TV screen unit to go in-between the sun visors and also make a dashboard 1/3 wider for a special 7-second hand shot. The shot in question was where Bond flicks the switch to turn the Esprit into a submarine. That went down well…..!
Pinewood Studios here we come..!
All that sorted and it was back to the grindstone and work on the Esprit S2.
As well as all this I also worked on the F1 cars from the Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt era right up to the fold in the mid 90’s. I think I was the first person to put Headphones/Microphones in a crash helmet (Graham Hill’s). Colin Chapman couldn’t hear what the drivers were saying above the roar of the engines in the pit stops and it took too long for the drivers to remove their helmets to talk. All Colin Chapman had to do was push the jack plug into the car. It worked quite well…! I guess I’ve been very lucky to have worked with so many great F1 drivers, team mechanics and most of all Colin Chapman himself. I wish I could do it all again.
Graham Hill at the wheel
After leaving Lotus I did have the opportunity to work with Colin Chapman again as I was approached to trim the interior of the Delorean in Detroit at Visioneering Inc which I duly did. On returning to the UK 2 months later I then designed some of the interior and then put it into production in Northern Ireland and helped set up a trim factory and train the trim work force.
As fate would have it we have just restored a Delorean Interior, it turned out to be a relatively easy job as I still have the trim patterns and specifications.
The Delorean back to former Glory
2006 and 07 has seen a surge in Esprit S1 owners wanting to re-trim their cars in the original materials. Wyn Edwards has been having a complete “chassis up” restoration carried out over the last few years and his car finally came to us late in 2006. We fitted new 1⁄2” felt, new original orange carpet, original tartan cloth and new green cloth made to the original specifications, thanks Wyn for your help.
Wyn Edwards’ newly re-trimmed Esprit S1 as per original specifications.
We are now currently re-trimming another S1 Esprit that has come over from the states and have more Esprit owners now beginning to form an orderly queue at our door for our services. It’s not just full re-trims all the while though, no job is too small, whether it’s a new leather panel in a seat, new carpets or just a headlining we are able to help. We also offer a leather re-colouring service (providing the leather surface is ok) and we are also able to re-trim steering wheels in leather too.
We do carry some Ex Lotus hides made by Connolly in stock but as Connolly no longer exists our stock won’t last forever. We also have a variety of shades of carpet in stock as well as all the materials for the S1 Esprits.
Our work with the Factory was re-acquainted a few years ago when we were asked to make a hood for what was to become the Lotus Elise. You never know our phone may ring again soon with the new Esprit already in the pipeline…..