Lotus Elan

Could my Sprint be the last?

PostPost by: John Larkin » Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:37 pm

I bought a 1973 Elan Sprint coupe in June 2006. It had one owner from new. Its VIN is 73020084F, and its engine number is N29245. The car is RHD. The car was sold new here in Ireland, and first registered in September 1973.

The VIN indicates that the car was manufactured in February 1973. Lotus have no record of the car; they say that their records may not be complete.

Some people have indicated that my car may be the last RHD Sprint FHC made. How can I find out more?

John Larkin
1967 S3SE FHC, 1974 Rover P6B, 1949 Lancia Aprilia
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:11 pm

John

The total number of Sprints produced by the factory has always been a debatable issue. In truth, we will never have a definitive figure (but see below) since the only records at the factory that could verify numbers were destroyed in a flood in the late 1970s.

There are batches in the only books Lotus have, which contain no information next to the VIN numbers. This may mean that the information was just not filled in. It may mean the cars did not exist, or if they did, they became ?lost?. It may be that the unit numbers had not been allocated at the time the existing factory record was entered up. It is entirely possible that a few unit numbers were not allocated, but we just don?t know. At the time of manufacture any regard to historical information which may be required in years to come was just not considered.

Sprints were actually made on the production line from January 1971 through to December 1972. Some S4's were converted to Sprint spec too. Those cars with unit numbers indicating a 1973 January, February or March build date had their numbers allocated after they were completed and had come off the production line, in late 1972. Sprints continued to be listed and available up to August 1973. Certainly some UK Sprints carry the M year 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 say 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.

According to my records, these are the "last" unit numbers for each Sprint type (I would be happy to know of any later numbers, as I am trying to determine the total numbers of Sprints made, another conundrum!)

E 73020665
F 73020084
G 73020899
H 73030100
J 7012??0031
K 72010243

So John your Sprint would appear to be the final F type (Export SE FHC). Other Sprint types were given later unit numbers.

Tim
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PostPost by: John Larkin » Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:33 pm

Hi Tim,

Thank you for the comprehensive reply. I really appreciate it!

John Larkin
1967 S3SE FHC, 1974 Rover P6B, 1949 Lancia Aprilia
John Larkin
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