Lotus Elise side grille removed

How I Removed the Side Grilles on my Lotus Elise

I do not like the strakes in the side grille. I am not sure what I will used to substitute the plastic but decided to proceed by removing the existing grille.

The grille mounting bolts can be accessed by first removing the rear wheel arch liners. Six screws and their associated expanding fasteners are removed and the liner is tilted out. Two of the screws are at the forward edge, three along the back in a line, and one under the suspension location.

The air intake and snorkle need to be removed on the driver's side.

The black plastic grille has two fasteners and a series of clips. One of the bolts is shared with the body work just inside the seam line of the forward fender. The other is on the other side of the grille opening. The grille will now slide backwards, out of the clips at the top, bottom and inside middle.

back side of side grill

This is a view of the back side of the grille. Note the two mounting points for bolts. The fins are hollow and so the removal will leave voids in the frame.

I removed the fins from the inside of the frame and considered attaching wire mesh across the opening. The picture below shows the fins removed and a void created by the removal of the top fin. You can see the tabs for the front and rear that hold the grille in the opening.

Lotus Elise side grille, removed

Lotus Elise with grille fins removed but frame intact

Lotus Elise side grille with frame, fins removed

The pictures above show the frame with the fins removed and the frame installed in the opening. The opening already has a gloss black U channel finish for the fiberglass edge. You can see the air conditioning fittings through the opening in one of the pictures. These will be painted black to make them unobtrusive. There is some black dense foam at the bottom of the opening and the top shows the back side of the wheel arch plastic.

Lotus Elise side grille removed, no frame in opening

I decided I like the look of the opening with no frame or mesh. I can see no reason for mesh as there is no mechanism that needs protecting. The inside wheel liner is going to be based by rocks from the other side and should be able to take any punishment. The original grille does not provide that much protection beyond using nothing.

Lotus Elise side grille removed, from side

Even though am not going to use the frame or a mesh to trim the opening, there is still some work that is required. I need to black out the fiberglass that extends beyond the curve behind the door. There is also some loose sound insulation and the edges show up behind the opening. I also need to reattach the cold air snorkel and make sure it cannot be removed by theves. (The picture at the start of this article is actually an enhanced version of the above picture.)

Lotus Elise side grille opening.