Before I finalised my R500 order, I was offered a test drive of the 620R at Donnington Park by Doug Parker, the sales rep I was dealing with throughout my purchase. Laying eyes on the 620R in the metal for the first time, a couple of things caught my eye. One being the beautiful carbon seats, and also the carbon interior panels.
Those of you who have followed the build will know the story about and the lengths I had to go to get the 620R seats, but after a 'fair battle' I got them... Which I'm very glad to have pushed so hard for as they are very comfortable and look, how can I say? Well, they look the nuts!
I'm at a stage with the R500 where I'm really trying to shave weight off it, without removing anything unwanted that may take away from the overall look - I guess you could say I'm aiming to keep the form before the function.
Anyway, having had to humiliate myself for the last couple of years in an R500D without carbon interior panels, I discussed this with Simon Lambert and asked 'nicely' if I could purchase the interior panels and fit them myself. He asked some questions, and very kindly said I could be one of the first (if not the first) customer to purchase the interior panel set, as this is something Caterham will be offering as an upgrade on their parts site - cost is £900, mind you.
I think the 'standard' cars these panels appear in are the 620R and now the soon to be delivered, Superlight Twenty kits... So in a nod to potential customers, and owners alike here is my diary about stripping out the interior panels and fitting these beauties:-
|Caterham carbon interior panels, first picture after unpacking|
Carbon Interior Install - Day One - Prep
Starting at the rear of the car I removed the upper four point harness sections and the newly fitted boot cover.
With interior space a premium in the Seven, and getting out of one when half way in the footwell being a touch 'tricky' I decided it best to remove the exhaust, to avoid accidentally stepping on it whilst climbing out, and to give a little better access.
Next out of the car was the seats - real easy to remove. From the underside of the car there should be four bolts for the drivers side (if you have moving runners) and four cap heads for the passenger side (with fixed runners). The seats just lift out with a bit of a wiggle, keeping note to ensure the lap straps of the four point harness are being eased though at the same time. With the seats out, the next part to remove was the lap straps from both sides.
The next obvious part to remove / loosen was the tunnel cover. Starting off with removing the gear-knob which is nice and easy, just undo the grub screw and turn the gear-knob anti-clockwise and off it comes.
As I've got a heater in my car, the heater vents restrict the movement of the tunnel cover. There are two bolts either side, welded to a strip of metal holding the heater vents in place, so this needs to be removed.
To remove the heater vents, you need to loosen these two nuts either side of the heater unit under the bonnet, then push the bolts through and the metal strip with the bolts attached will be loosened on the inside of the vehicle making it easy to remove.
Having not full adhered the bottom of the carpet behind the drivers seat, seemed to be a bit of useful 'foresight' as this fuel filter? needed loosening - which was dead easy, but you needed to remove the offside rear wheel to get decent access, however it was just a couple of bolts and washers and it was free.
Now time to remove the carpeted section. With a bit of gentle pulling, it came free surprisingly easy from the rear bulkhead.
|Upper harnesses and boot cover removed|
|Exhaust and Cat removed|
|Both seats and lap straps removed|
|Removing the gear-knob is very easy|
|Heater vents partly secure tunnel cover in place|
|Removing these two nuts (both sides of the heater) will allow you to remove the heater vent panel|
|Fuel filter needed loosening off it's mount|
|Removing carpet from rear bulkhead was straight forward|
With the carpet removed you can see where adhesive was and wasn't sprayed!
|Carpet removed from rear bulkhead shows where adhesive was used|
I used a 4mm (metal) drill bit and got to work with the drilling. Some time later and about thirty five rivets removed, the panel is free - and I was left wondering holy fcuk what have I got myself into here?!?
|Rivets drilled out of first panel and removed|
|Rivets drilled out of second curved panel and also removed|
Having burnt through a couple of drill bits, drilled out probably seventy rivets and removed the two easiest panels I was pretty tired and decided to call it a day. At the end of the first day, the garage looked like this!
|The garage at the end of day one!|