I don’t have any plans to restore my 1970 Lotus Europa at this point but decided to pull the seats and at least clean them up so the adjustment tracks work. As is normal on these cars, there is rust in this area and everything is frozen up quite nicely.
When I first bought the Lotus I had to use a cushion on the back of the seat to reach the clutch pedal easily. This resulted in too many episodes of gear grinding which I’m sure isn’t all that good for the gearbox. A liberal amount of penetrating oil and I did manage to move the seat up a little but it managed to lock into place once again.
Removing the drivers seat was not easy but at least didn’t require extreme measures. I was able to use an open end wrench on the inside and a socket wrench below the car to remove the bolts. The issue you run into is that you can’t get to the rear mounting bolts unless you can slide the seat forward.
The passenger side was a little more interesting as the seat wouldn’t move forward after a few days of penetrating oil. Nothing a grinder won’t fix! I cut the 4 bolts off underneath the car and pulled the seat out easily.
The floor under the drivers seat has been slightly damp and the jute or whatever was used as cushioning is long gone. At least the Lotus is made from fiberglass so you don’t get rust like on the MGB GT I’m restoring.
Of course moisture does cause the seat trays themselves to rust. Fortunately both seats are in reasonable condition with the driver side being the worst. If only Lotus had made these trays out of aluminum, saving weight and keeping the rust gods away. For now I’ve treated the rust with POR15 rust convertor and I’ll give the seats a quick paint job to at least slow down the damage. When I re-cover the seats I’ll fix them properly. The passenger side seat has no rust through at all and in general is in better shape.
It’s easy to see why the seats wouldn’t move easily. Check out the rusty seat runners! Fortunately they clean up easily.
Here’s the most interesting find I made after removing the seats. Wedged behind the passenger seat was a bag of Vysoušedlo silica gel from Czechoslovakia. Why is this in my Lotus Europa? I know the car was last registered in Oregon in 2001 (before being imported to Canada) but where might it have been located before?