Whilst researching 'carbon' stuff, I found that Ultimate Carbon (along with a number of other carbon Caterham bits), also manufactured an S3 louvered bonnet (Ultimate Carbon are the guys who made the bespoke parts for me/you!)... It was advertised as pretty much ready to fit, but just needs the catch plates fitting... I asked Bryn about the weight saving, but he wasn't entirely sure, so thinking that 'its carbon - it MUST be lighter!' I took the punt and gave him the go-ahead.
Here's my first sight of the bonnet - a picture of the item that Bryn sent to me prior to collection.
|My first sight of the carbon fibre bonnet|
|Bonnet cut-out template|
|Hole cut in my Carbon Bonnet for air filter / carbon track day airbox|
A few days later, we met at an M1 service station car park, I handed over some money - he handed over a lot of carbon; which didn't look dodgy at all :-) but joking aside, it was pretty much central for both of us, and meant I could get my hands on the parts sooner rather than later.
I got home, checked out all of the bespoke bits (which are awesome by the way) and put the bonnet on the car to ensure it fit - and yes it fitted perfectly, thank god.
|Unpainted Carbon Bonnet on car - looks odd so needs some paint!|
Prepping and Painting
The next bit was for Dave at Daytona Coachworx to do! Dave wanted me to be exact with the paint that I wanted (obviously) which can be a little tricky with Caterhams (so I'm led to believe). Luckily I moaned about the quality of the factory paint job, and when the car was waiting for the fuel pump to arrive it was repainted by XK Engineering.
I rang and spoke to Gary at XK Engineering who had to look into the records, but rang me back a little later on and said the car had:-
- Porsche Riviera Blue 39e colour
- Glasurit Basecoat (which is water based)
- and a DuPont solvent based clear coat (VR-1120)
The bonnet was given an initial flatting.
|Carbon Fibre Bonnet after initial sanding|
|Inside of bonnet masked|
|Small grooves in the bonnet to the left of the louvre|
|Carbon bonnet primed, flatted, primed and flatted again to achieve a perfect base.|
|Porsche Riviera Blue 39e Glasurit Water Base Coat Drying|
Once fully dry the bonnet was polished and ready for collection...
|Carbon Bonnet Flatted and Polished - Job Done|
The finish on the bonnet is ace, it feels very light indeed and the colour match is spot on too!
Drilling the Rivet Holes and Fitting Catch Plates
The old rule of measure twice and cut once certainly applies when you're drilling into an expensive bonnet! No going back now! I started off by drilling a small pilot hole with a 2mm metal drill, then opening it up for the rivets with a 4mm drill.
The catch plates were fitted with two rivets (which was a little awkward to get access to, due to the shape of the end of the rivet gun), and a small metal plate on the inside of the bonnet to support the rivet and give strength to the catch hook.
|Drilling holes into my new bonnet for catch plate hooks to be fitted - measure twice and drill once!|
Applying The DecalsI know the stripes on my car are pretty bright, but I like that... I've had a number of people comment on them and also contact me to find out what they are... So to avoid further questions :-), they are MACal 9807-07 Pro Super Luminous Orange and I bought them from http://signsuk.co.uk/ as they were the guys who supplied decals and stone chip protection film for Caterham Midlands.
|MACal 9807-07 Pro Super Luminous Orange Caterham Triple Stripe laid out ready for application|
The only problem with the Super Luminous Orange is that it has a tendency to fade in direct sunlight (over the course of a couple of years), but I couldn't really notice too much difference once the decal was fitted.
I also had a few variants of the blog's domain put together a couple of years ago, and cut (again in the MACal material) to match. I decided to go for a change this time round, and went with the more 'square' version, which I think looks good too.
|New carbon bonnet domain decal applied|
A lesson to be learnt - do not apply decals outside in the wind... Quite frankly I thought this would be easy but the centre stripe was a right pain in the a$$... Not only that I had a fair hangover which didn't help with such a fiddly job!
Onto the Weigh In
My favourite bit - seeing how much lightness has been added! You can immediately tell the difference by picking the two up, so I thought that a decent saving was to be had.
I popped the aluminium bonnet onto the scales and they weighed in at 2.956kg.
|Caterham Aluminium Bonnet (with cut-out) weighs 2.956kg|
|Carbon Fibre Bonnet (painted with cut-out) weighs 2.130kg|
The final reveal
And for the final 'reveal' the carbon fibre bonnet! Which aside from the weight saving, you really wouldn't be able to tell was carbon fibre!
|Painted Carbon Bonnet with decals applied, all fitted to my Caterham and looking very good!|
The total cost of the bonnet including painting, catches, and decals came it at just shy of £800 - which works out to £1 per gramme saved! I'm sure there's cheaper ways of removing weight!