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How to make Jaguar Cup-Holders for $1.32

(in under 3 hours)


Last Updated: 27 May 2004


I wanted to update the console for my Jaguar XJ-S for some time. Among the features I wanted were modern cup-holders, and to make more useful space. I always felt that the Jaguar console was poorly designed. Most of the space was used up by two huge ashtrays (and I don't even smoke) and the rest of the horizontal space is used by the cruise control switch, and the cigarette lighter.

Well, the veneer had cracked beyond repair on my console, so I removed the ski-slope. I then examined the space below it, and found that there is more than two inches of free space below the area where the ashtrays were. I wanted to replace these ashtrays with cup-holders, but where could I find a suitable cup-holder?

A few minutes of searching on the web got me what I wanted. Most marine supply stores have cup-holders designed to insert into a hole on the boat deck. This seemed ideal. They are available in black plastic on the web for approximately $0.66 each (yes that is 66 cents!). I bought two from a store named "West Marine" for $5.00 each to experiment. These turned out to be unsuitable because they were too tall to fit in my design. But what I did find was the ideal solution to retaining an ashtray while getting drink-holders. A highly-polished stainless steel ashtray designed to fit inside of the cup-holders!

In the end I concluded that I had been lucky, and cut my ski-slope just right. If I were to do it again, I would first test my cuts by making a cardboard ski-slope, and cutting holes in it for my cup-holders, then test fitting them for clearance against the wires and cables underneath.

It has also been suggested that one may prefer to make a completely new ski-slope out of steel, rather than trying to modify the existing ski-slope, which sounds like a great idea to me. One should be able to get a usable sheet of steel to do this at home-depot or some other store.


Here are the steps of the project:


Here is the ski-slope removed from the car, and all cleaned up by sanding. Cleaning it this way is important, to make the replacement veneer or vinyl adhere. I have selected the position for my cup-holders after examining my console to insure clearance. (1 hour)



Here is the ski-slope with two of the black cup-holders. These are made of black plastic, and are available in various heights and with or without drain holes in the bottom. We want the ones without drain holes. The cup-holder on the right has the ashtray insert in it. This ashtray insert is a hightly polished stainless-steel. It looks like chrome, but will not tarnish.



Here is the ski-slope with two of the black cup-holders in their anticipated position.



Having selected my cup-holder positions, and drawn them, I cut the holes larger to fit my new cup-holders. (20 minutes)



The plastic cup-holder inserts, and the ashtray insert.



The plastic cup-holder with the ashtray insert in place.

After looking at the Ashtray insert, it occured to me that I might be able to actually make a cup-holder out of it. The dimensions are all correct, and it would look better than the black plastic one. The Ashtray is more expensive ($16.99) and available from only one source, so many people might prefer to stick with the easily available $0.66 plastic cup-holder.



So the project changed midstream.

In order to make the ashtry into a cup-holder, I would have to remove the pivoting door on top, and the cigarette-snuffer from inside. Fortunately, these are both affixed with rivets, which were easily ground off with a bench grinder or dremel tool.

A close-up of the rivets holding on the ashtray door. I ground these off with a dremel tool. (5 minutes)



A close-up of the rivets holding on the cigarette-snuffer. I ground these off with a dremel tool.(5 minutes)

Voila! Stainless-steel cup-holders.



I test fit the cup-holder into the ski-slope.



And I tested it with a cup inserted, to make sure there would be enough clearance between the coffee cup and the heater/radio controls.



Now I took some metal, and cut it into a shape to cover over the unused ashtray holes. I used the galvanized steel plates designed to hold together 2x4 beams. They were easy to cut with tin-snips. I had them laying around the house, but I think they cost about $0.75 at home depot. You could use almost any metal or plastic easy to cut and file. I glued it into position with liquid-nails type of adhesive. Be careful to glue them onto the BOTTOM side of the ski-slope. (45 minutes)



I flipped the ski-slope back over, and tested the fit of my new cup-holder. It already is starting to look great!



I was not happy with the stability of the metal cup-holder alone, so I reverted to my original plan of using a plastic cup-holder. I can then put the metal cup-holder inside of the plastic one for a better look. The plastic ones from WestMarine were too long, and the first one I got from marineeast.com was too short. What we want is a cup-holder that is approximately 2.5 inches deep. I discovered that the too-long one fits inside of the too-short one. So I decided to cut 3/4 inch off the too-long one, and insert it inside the too-short one. (10 minutes)



Here you see the "too-long" cup-holder with 3/4 inch cut off the bottom.



Next, I trim the ring off the top of the "too-short" cup-holder, so it will have enough clearance inside the console. (2 minutes)



Ready to snap together.



Test fit. Do not tighten too much, as it will be almost impossible to get apart again.



Test fit on the ski-slope. My fit was snug, but I wanted it to be more secure. I decided to find some way secure the cup-holder from the bottom.



I cut the top 1/2 inch from another set of "too-short" cup-holders. (5 minutes)



They will be pressed onto the cup-holders from the bottom, snug up against the bottom of the ski-slope.



Test fit on the ski-slope.



A small part of this ring must be trimmed to clear the side of the console. (1 minute)



Test fit on the ski-slope again.



With both the retaining ring, and the bottom installed.



Top view of assembled pieces. On the right, I have added the stainless-steel insert.



I filled in the holes with body filler, and sanded it down. Then I sanded down the entire ski-slope again. This is important in order to get good adhesion when recovering the ski-slope with veneer or upholstry. I also drilled two new holes for some switches I am adding. (You could make a completely new slope from a piece of aluminum using your own ski-slope and the guide below as a pattern).



A closer look at the filled-in ashtray holes.



I recovered the ski-slope in an some material which matches my interior. I could also have had it recovered in walnut veneer by a local furniture shop, or one of the many people who specialize in Jaguar veneers. I wanted to finish this in one day, so I used a nice quality naugahyde from an auto upholstry shop. (20 minutes)



An AshTray from Pep Boys. It fit perfectly into my cup-holders from West Marine, but may be a little too small for the "Just-Right" cup-holder from marineeast.com. I prefer the stainless steel one from West Marine in any event, because it looks better, and it has a closing lid to keep the ashes from flying around. But this is a quick and easy ashtray that some people may prefer. I personally use it as a coin holder. It is easy to pick up, and pour the coins into my hand when I need a quarter for the parking meter. This ashtray cost only $1.99.

The manufacturer is Custom Accessories of Niles, IL and their part number is 93344, while their SKU is 0-77341-93344.

I found it at Pep-Boys Auto Stores in their "accessories" aisle. It is Pep-Boys part # 0-77341-93344, and costs $1.99.

I also found it at R&S Strauss Auto Stores with the same part number and price.



I have re-inserted the switches. I took this opportunity to clean them up, and replace the cigarette lighter with a new one from Pep-Boys. It was a perfect fit, except that I had to change the ends of the electrical connections. I will also have to come back and paint the metal part on top to be black like the Jaguar Cigarette Lighter. The two new switches will be used for the "fresh-air modification" listed on the jag-lovers.org website. These switches came from Radio Shack and look (to me) as if they were designed to be there originally. They are square on top, but insert into a 3/4 inch round hole, making installation a breeze. They cost about $2. You can see on the left, I installed one switch, on the right, the hole is still visible. You can also see that I have inserted the ashtray which I found at Pep Boys into the cup-holder on the right. (5 minutes)



Installed Ski-slope. I have not yet tightened it into position, because I need one more electrical switch for the right side.



The completed project! Lets go get some coffee! (Total Time: 2 hours, 58 minutes)


Epilogue:
After a few months, I decided that I would prefer the stainless-steel look better.
So I purchased two of the ashtrays and modified them as shown above, and placed them inside the plastic cup-holders. The result is very nice looking, and matches the quality of the Jaguar more. It did however add $32 to the cost



Note:
After I began, I discovered that MarineEast.com has a cup-holder that seems to have the correct depth without the cutting and re-assembling. It is part # 4085. It requires a slightly larger hole to be cut in the ski-slope. If you try this part, be sure to move the hole slightly toward the center from my design, as you need approx 1/4 inch clearance on the edges. You will still want four of these, so you can cut two and create the "retaining-rings" for the underside of the ski-slope.

If you leave out the retaining-rings, you need two cup-holders at $0.66 each, for a total of $1.32, hence the title of this article.

But heck, at $0.66 each... make the retaining rings, and even buy a few extra to cover for mistakes in construction.


Ok, you may say that I left out the time it takes to install and remove the ski-slope, and you are right... but the title sounds better this way (grin).




Here are the links for the materials:

The Too-Short Plastic Drink Holder
MarineEast.com
Part # 4090 $0.54 each

The Too-Long Plastic Drink Holder
WestMarine.com
Mfr Part # GH43-B1 WestMarine Part # 395160 $4.99 each

The Just-Right Plastic Drink Holder
MarineEast.com
MarineEast Part # 4085 $0.66 each

Dimensions of Drink Holders
MarineEast.com

Stainless Steel Ashtray (or Drink Holder)
BoatersWorld.com
Amazon.com
NexTag.com
Mfr Part # 20029 WestMarine Part # 403230 $16.99 each
Mfr Part # 20029 BoatersWorld Part # 336500079 $16.99 each

Black Plastic Ashtray
Photo
Mfr Part # 0-77341-93344 $1.99 each


Finally, a template for cutting out your cupholders, shown here at reduced size. 'right-click' and save, then print it full sized.


For some people, a PDF version might print better:


main page


Click to leave a comment!
I added this guestbook so that you can leave your comments, or suggestions about Jaguar repairs, and especially the Jaguar Cupholder Project. Share the knowledge!
JamesBurt
Philadelphia, PA USA -

Just a really nice piece of work. I delight in projects like this--ingenuity, a price tag less than an arm and a leg, a result that is actually helpful, and the whole thing looks nice! Congratulations!
Richard Parker [vivaandaluz at hotmail dot com]
CA USA -

I will HAVE to do this! Thank you for such wonderful instructions and pictures!
Cory R. Bonnett [guitarmn at wi dot rr dot com]
Milwaukee, WI USA -

Thank you for the excellent presentation.
Jeff [Jeff_Pitman at yahoo dot com]
AZ USA -

Sharp Idea! I have a big decision to make: Do I want a coffee holder (instead of hiding it Center Storage), or do I want those beautiful Cigar trays.
Marty Roth [marty100 at comcast dot net]
Westland, MI USA -

Thanks for the info. I think a slight modification here and there and this will work on my '87 XJ6.
Pete Holt [rascal2 at erols dot com]
Alexandria, VA USA - Tuesday, September 30, 2003

What a great idea!
John Belorus
Atlanta, GA USA - Tuesday, November 11, 2003

great job, and better yet, it's a very good tutorial on how to do damn near anything to your ski slope and make it look nice and oem. i'll be using some of your ideas. good luck on that northstar ;-)
jason griffith [jason at orionoutdoor dot com]
placerville, ca USA - Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Congratulations and thank you. A really nice project and excellent job of showing exactly how to do it.
Dennis Abel [wover24 at hotmail dot com]
New Brighton, MN USA - Thursday, November 13, 2003

I often thought the ashtrays are usless to me, this is just the thing I'll jump into. Great pics & walk-through 'instructions' Thanks. '76 xj-6 lump
gary boehm
lancaster, ca USA - Thursday, November 13, 2003

Wow James! You have more time in putting together this presentation than in installing the cupholders. Your time and generosity are appreciated. The job looks great.
Bill Smith [sas1 at alltel dot net]
Moultrie, Ga USA - Friday, November 14, 2003

I'm getting my first car in a couple of months and so I'm looking forward to find somewhere to put my Irn Bru when I drive. Thanks for the handy hints of creating a nice space to put it, I'll take it on board. Good show. Ps. Love the name
James Burt (england one not website man) [truegnarler at hotmail dot com]
Sevenoaks, ? Good old England - Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I always wondered how to get an ashtray!
John the Jag Man
Trenton, NJ USA - Thursday, March 04, 2004

I love it!
TheJagMan
New York, NY USA - Monday, August 02, 2004

great idea!
Ebadi [wakil_ebadi at yahoo dot com dot sg]
USA - Saturday, September 18, 2004

Brilliant!
Dave
Media, PA USA - Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fantastic job!!! Thank you for sharing especially in such detail and with pictures to boot.
Daniel Garrison [mr2dan at msn ot com]
Boise, Id USA - Sunday, December 10, 2006

EXCELLENT JOB!! I have a "like new" 89 xj6. I also modified the ashtray area into a drink holder. When I saw your project I had to call my wife and show her. "See honey I'm I'm not the only Jag nut!" Again super job.
dennis fitzgerald
dallas texas, USA - Saturday, February 16, 2008

I am so amazed that you did all this work!
Walter Downs
Delran Beach, FL USA - Sunday, May 31, 2009

nice
John
Dallas, TX USA - Monday, July 26, 2010

I have to do this!
George Whitson
Austin, TX, USA
Thursday April 03, 2014


Great implementation!
John
dallas, tx, USA
Friday March 06, 2015
johnscars.com