Lotus Elan

Chassis number puzzle

PostPost by: John Larkin » Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:27 am

I have just acquired a 1973 Sprint FHC, RHD, one lady owner from new in Ireland. It was registered on the 29 Sep 1973, so it's a late car. I am puzzled by its chassis number --- 0084F7302. This is not in the format I expected. Anybody got any ideas?
1967 S3SE FHC, 1974 Rover P6B, 1949 Lancia Aprilia
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PostPost by: ElliottN » Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:54 am

John

Have a look at http://www.lotuselan.net/publish/car_type_by_vin.shtml

I would venture to say your VIN is actually 73020084F (or something very close to that) and has just gotten a little twisted somewhere along the way - 73 = year of build, 02 =month of build, 0084 = unit number, F = S4 S/E FHC Export (don't worry about the S4 bit, you have a Sprint, it's just that that it can be referred to for model id as an "S4 Sprint").

If the chassis is original the number 0084F should be stamped on the top of the inlet side chassis rail - just about where the steering column crosses over it (you may need to rub back a bit to see it properly).
Elliott - 70 S4 dhc
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PostPost by: John Larkin » Fri Jun 30, 2006 8:07 am

The chassis is original, so I'll have a look over the weekend for the stamped number.

Thanks Elliot.

John Larkin.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Fri Jun 30, 2006 8:40 am

John Larkin wrote: It was registered on the 29 Sep 1973, so it's a late car. I am puzzled by its chassis number --- 0084F7302. This is not the format I expected.


John,
Where are you reading the chassis no. from? the plate in the engine compartment or the paperwork, I presume from the paperwork as you are quoting a reg.date. Do both the chassis plate and the paperwork show the same number?
Brian
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PostPost by: John Larkin » Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:09 am

I got the chassis number from the paperwork. The car is due to be delivered to me this weekend. I examined the car last November but I cannot recall the details on the identification plate.

ElliottN's reply makes sense, and if he is correct then it looks as if my car was made in February 1973, and not registered for over six months.

All will be revealed on Sunday I hope!

John
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 10:49 am

John

Well done, sounds like a good find. Your chassis number will be 7302 0084 F, indicating that it was allocated its number in February 1973, F indicating that it is a FHC for the export market. Have a look at the engine number, it should be a 28,??? or 29,??? number, if it is original. It is also the highest numbered F that I am aware of, so was almost certainly one of the last of that type off the production line.

Graham Arnold maintained that the last Sprints were manufactured in February 1973. In fact, the Sprint production line ceased in December 1972. However, cars were clearly allocated unit numbers and so-called build dates in January, February and March of 1973. Sprints continued to be listed and available up to August 1973. Certainly in the UK some Sprints carry the M plate, indicating they were registered after 1 August 1973. I am aware of a 1st April 1973 price list, but of none later than that date. In other words, there continued to be stock of cars from the dealers for some time after final manufacture.

In a 1973 article, Autosport said the last Sprint was maroon and sent to Portugal. They also say the Elan line ended because kit cars were phased out with the introduction of VAT on 1st April 1973, in addition to which the Sprint did not conform to 1974 safety regulations.

Hope this is helpful.

Tim
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PostPost by: John Larkin » Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:20 am

I have now received the car. The chassis number stamped on the I.D. plate is 73020084F, which is the correct format. The engine number is N29245, again from the I.D. plate as I have not yet had time to check the block itself.

I believe that the car is totally original, and is painted monocolour sable, with a black interior. The chassis is the original unit and looks to be in good condition. I freed the rusted clutch and drove the car for about five miles yesterday. The suspension is completely shot, the brakes pull to the left slightly, the steering has a little play, and all of the electrics work, including the windows! The engine is on Dellortos and runs well with good oil pressure and without overheating. The exhaust is on its way out.

Another money pit, but it keeps me out of the pub!

I'll post a photo when I figure out how to do so.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:32 am

John

Wish I had a money pit like that. Sound like a perfect restoration opportunity

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:26 pm

John,
Congrats on getting the car, sounds great.
As it sounds so original I've a couple of questions which your car may be able to give definitive answers to regarding Sprints.
1. Does it have the "coat hangers" on the rear quarter panals under the interior lights?
2. What colour is the underside of the bootlid....body colour or black?
3. What colour is the inside door behind the trim .....body colour or black?
4. When locked which way does the boot handle point......vertical or horizontal? (I think I have seen Lotus ads both ways)
5. Are the small vertical face's (below the sills) that run the length of the car painted black?
................and if you would rather go to the pub I'm sure a lot of people would be willing to relieve you of the "money pit"......including myself.
Brian
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PostPost by: John Larkin » Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:48 pm

1. No coat hangers, and there is only one interior light on driver's roof pillar only. Separate interior light on passenger side of dashboard.
2. Underside of bootlid is black.
3. Inside of doors is painted black.
4. Boot handle is horizontal when locked; rotates clockwise when locking.
5. Flat vertical faces below sills are body colour, but they are so clean I suspect that they were resprayed at some stage. The paint shows signs of having been touched up in various places during the car's life.
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