Lotus Elan

Suprising Info !!!!

PostPost by: AlfaLofa » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:29 pm

I wrote to Lotus to see if they could shed any light on my 64 S1 Elan.

I have owned the car for the last 37 years and have the original green log book showing the previous 3 owners.

What I never knew was whether the car was factory built or a kit.

Lotus have kindly written back to me and have revealed that the car was indeed a factory car.

But what was equally interesting was that the car - although an original RHD car - was sold fully assembled to an organisation called "Holiday Cars Import" on May 27th 1964.

I did a Google search and came up with this:

http://www.pietro-frua.de/1964_lotus.htm

Translations show that "Holiday Cars Import" were a Swiss company - so why was my RHD car which was sold to a Swiss company end up being first registered in June 1964 in Greenford, Middlesex??

Does anybody know anything about "Holiday Cars Import"
Steve
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'70 Morris Minor 1000 (Owned since '85)
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PostPost by: batfish » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:10 pm

My S1 was sold from the factory to a dealer on the east coast of America, (the name escapes me for the moment but I have got it at home), however it never left the UK. I am told it was one of the Lotus scams to prevent having the purchaser having to pay any tax on the car.

regards

Andy
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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:14 pm

My S1 was also a factory-built car, sold to "Elite cars", although I've never managed to find anything out about them. Several of the very first factory cars went to them. Does anyone know anything about them?

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PostPost by: AlfaLofa » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:21 pm

Batfish,

What you suggest sounds highly plausible - I would never have thought of it though !!

Mind you, judging by the "Frua" website I found via Google, it does appear that "Holiday Cars Import" did actually exist.
Steve
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'69 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider Veloce (Owned since '77)
'70 Morris Minor 1000 (Owned since '85)
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PostPost by: batfish » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:01 am

Hi Alfa

Remembered that mine was sold to Duchess Autos which was a genuine inporter of cars on the USA east coast.

Regards

Andy
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PostPost by: SpeedModel » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:58 pm

My 1964 S1 1/2 Elan was sold new by Bob Challman at Ecurie Shirlee in Manhattan Beach, California, same as my 1963 Elite. I still have the original Ecurie Shirlee license plate frames for the cars.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:29 am

SpeedModel wrote:My 1964 S1 1/2 Elan was sold new by Bob Challman at Ecurie Shirlee in Manhattan Beach, California, same as my 1963 Elite. I still have the original Ecurie Shirlee license plate frames for the cars.


Speed,

Very very cool. I had the privilege of touring the Sonoma and Napa Valleys with Mr. Chalman in 1992 in my Elan. Bob cultivated well the image of a curmudgeon. Bob stood up at the group dinner and pronounced loudly while pointing to me "This fellow here, drives badly and smells even worse!"

Bob had quite the stormy relationship with Colin in the early days, yet he clearly saved Lotus from one of the early brinks of financial disaster when Jay Chamberlain failed to come up with the funds when the cars arrived at the dock.

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Dan Wise
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:27 pm

Well, I wonder how many of our members bought their Lotus from Bob Challman's Ecurie Shirlee?

Or from Jay Chamberlain?

Or Bill Young?

Chamberlain was the first, servicing mainly the San Fernando Valley area.

Challman, in Manhattan Beach, serviced the mainly aerospace gearheads in the South Bay.

And Bill Young did like wise for the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valley areas.

In the '60s and '70s, it was not uncommon to see an Elite, Elan, Europa, or Seven on the roads. For awhile, there was another Elan parked with mine when I worked at Litton in Van Nuys. And another Lotus in the parking lot at JPL when I was working there.

David
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PostPost by: bluesbrother30 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:15 pm

When I was hunting for a Lotus 23 to buy, I discoverd that Challman's General Manager, Dave Thielke, lives right here in Sacramento. I contacted him and set up a morning coffee. Very nice man. He brought alone some pics of the dealership "back in the day", some race photos and plenty of great stories........what a great morning.

Mike Summers
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PostPost by: mrob » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:48 pm

msd1107 wrote:Well, I wonder how many of our members bought their Lotus from Bob Challman's Ecurie Shirlee?



My Elan was originally purchased new from Bill Young, La Canada Sports Cars. The distributor was Ecurie Shirlee. I bought the car from the first owner in 1969.
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PostPost by: bigvalvehead » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:08 pm

This is a link to Fred Stevensons site which details info on the Dutchess Autos operation in Millerton .

http://www.fredstevensonlotus.com/Lotus%20East.htm

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PostPost by: ftsoft » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:12 pm

Bob Challman worked on my car when i lived in Manhattan Beach, but I bought the car in San Bruno and I spent a lot of time at Duchess Auto in the late 60's.
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PostPost by: cabc26b » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:37 pm

Dutchess Autos operation in Millerton
aka Lotus east - I grew up off of RT 44 and would pass the shops on the way to LRP to watch the races as a kid - I use to regularly see a Marina blue coupe heading up Talcott mountain on Rt44 - he/she always seem to disappear, I could never even get close to that car on the move.

Thanks for the memories

George

PS - The Blue S1 I own came from Ecurrie Shirlee . The Black plate is still on it. I have the service records some where I look to see who serviced it and try to report back.
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PostPost by: SpeedModel » Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:46 pm

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PostPost by: spanner » Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:05 am

My '65 Elan S2 came (slightly used) from Karl's Garage in NYC. Anyone??

Here's a Lotus dealer's showroom roller-skate from the late 1960's, complete with chrome A-arms and period Dunlop tires.

Jim
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