Cup Holder Install

Cup holders have evolved from being a curiosity to a critical necessity in todayís automobiles.

For me, a properly designed Cup holder is almost as important as a carís exterior design and or horsepower.

Ironically, I now own an automobile that, for all intentions, are without upholders.

Aston Martin SAYS there are cup holders in the Vantage, This claim is ridiculous. They might call them cup holders, but these cup holders are an aesthetic exercise only. Saying that the cup holders in the Aston Martin Vantage sucks is being way too kind. You canít even use them at your own risk. They are worthless. I defy anyone to actually retrieve a cup of coffee while driving. They are place so far back that one would need the help of a passenger to retrieve a cup from these cup holders.

I have anguished over this problem long enough.

Sitting in the driver seat itís obvious that there really is no room for a proper cup holder. The manual shift transmission gear shift needs space for oneís elbow.

The current position of the laughable excuses for cup holders is placed too far back to reach while driving. Of course once you reach them you realize they are really not cup holders at all but small depressions for your loose change.

The only space for a cup holder that I can comfortable reach is between the doorís inner panel and my left leg. (red arrow photograph below)

That then, will be the location of my cup holder for this project.

Like all my projects, this needs to be completely reversible. This means that I have one bolt in my desired location at the door's arm rest to attach the cup holder to.

Complicating issues are that the cup holderís position has to provide clearance for the operation of the headlight switch. This means moving the cup holder back towards the door latch, resulting in the mounting bolt being unable be mounted in the center of the new cup holder.

In addition, the cup holder needs to fold in when not in use so it doesnít look like something you cobbled together while under the influence of 150 proof Jamaican rum.

You can find a plethora of cheap plastic folding cup holders available on the internet. Move along, not worth the effort.

My choice for the cup holder for this project is a fold up stainless steel marine unit. (Pictures below)

The location of the attachment bolt's position (towards the front of the cup holder) meant that the weight of a medium cup of coffee would naturally force the cup holder to rotate down towards the cars floor. A stabilizing bracket was needed.

Using a shape duplication device I transferred the shape of the door arm to a piece of sheet metal and cut the shape out. (photographs below)

The idea is to form the metal so that the top "lip" (red arrow) rests against the door's arm thus preventing the cup holder from rotating downward. (photographs below)

Position the bracket in the desired location, mark and drill a hole that will bolt the bracket to the door arm rest using the existing door arm's bolt. (red arrow photograph below)

With the bracket located on the arm rest, offers the new cup holder to the bracket. Make sure you have enough clearance between the open cup holder and the headlight switch. Mark the position of the cup holder in the desired position. Remove to work bench and drill three holes through the cup holder and the fabricated bracket that will accept pop rivets. Green arrows indicate pop rivets, red arrow shows hole for mounting to the door arm. Paint the final product black (or any color you like) (photographs below)

Counter sink the pop revit holes on the bracket. Rivet the bracket to the cup holder. File down the heads of the pop rivets. Although not absolutely necessary, it will help in providing a smooth surface for the next step.

To protect the arm rest from the bracket I decided to glue a leather backing where the bracket would come in contact to the door arm. Cut the leather to the approximate size of the bracket. Apply contact cement to the bracket and underside of the leather patch. (red arrows photograph below) and wait 15 minutes.

Apply leather to bracket. You only have one shot at this, donít screw it up. Trim leather to the size of the bracket. (red arrow) The final result should look like the photographs below.

(Photograph below) Use a punch tool to punch a hole through the leather for the bolt to attach the bracket to the door's arm rest. (green arrows). Red arrows show revit positions.

The attachment bolt is counter sunk into the doors arm rest. (photograph below)

This presents two issues.

1) The original bolt is not long enough to mount the cup holder and bracket.

2) The design of the original bolt puts bolt attachment force at the bottom of the counter sink in the door's arm rest.

You could just use a longer bolt and place the attachment force directly on the face of the door's arm rest. Or you could do this the right way.

I sourced a longer bolt. (M6-100 x 65) (photograph below)

Next was to source and cut a spacer the exact depth of the door's counter sink. (photographs below)

This spacer would install over the mounting bolt, between the arm rest and the cup holder bracket. This would and ensure that the bolts mounting force would be transferred to the bottom of the counter sink of the doors arm rest. (red arrow photograph below)

Offer up cup holder and attached bracket and bolt to the door's arm rest. (red arrow identifies location of spacer in photograph below)

Tighten bolt. Green arrow show location of bracket with leather protector.

Cup holder in the open position.

Door open with a medium cup of Dunkin Coffee.

Door open cup holder closed. (photographs below)

I was not happy.

The chrome finish just did not fit with the interior of the car. In addition, the two "jaws" that holds the cup did not spread wide enough to allow the cup to rest comfortably on the bottom of the cup holder.

It was now back to the drawing board.

I removed the chrome cup holder and purchased two black folding cup holders from two different manufactures. I took the black cup holders apart to make one that I was satisfied with. (photograph below)

Using the same process as before I installed the black cup holder on my custom made bracket. (photograph below with coffee cup)

The black cup holder now blends in with the cars door handle. (photographs below show cup holder closed with door open and closed.)

This modification is not for everyone. The purists will say that the look of the car's interior has been destroyed.

That is a matter of opinion. Whatís not up for debate is that I can actually retrieve a cup of coffee while I am driving.


For me, this project solved two problems and one prerequisite. It allowed me to have a cup holder that actually works and when itís not used in the closed position, itís virtually unnoticeable.

And most importantly, itís completely reversible.



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