Lotus Elan

Tracing History in USA

PostPost by: Fredtech » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:43 pm

I recently went down the route of tracing ownership of my 1971 Elan Sprint, contacting our friends at the (UK) DVLC. They came back with all the original change of ownership logbook copies for me. I?m now in the process of trying to contact those owners to A: Let them know she is still running and B: See if they have any interesting bits of history to add.

As this particular rebuild is just about complete, several years longer than I expected, the next project I have lined up is a 1963 S1 Type-26. From the Chassis Number, Andy Graham, from Lotus Archives indicates that this car was originally shipped to Duchess Auto Co. USA, in October 1963, that?s as far as I have been able to trace the history so far.

I?m sure this question must have been asked before, but does anyone know if the DMV (Dept Motor Vehicles) in USA or individual States, retain ownership history as our own DVLC do, and is it available, presumably for a fee?.

Thanks. John "Freddie" Nelson, Ascot UK.
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:03 pm

Unfortunately in the USA, vehicle title records are kept by the individual states and following a trail is labor intensive at best. If you know the most recent state in which it was registered they may have a copy of the title for the car. Here we use the VIN which is not like the reg number in the UK, rather it is the unit number, in your case 26/XXXX. If you can get a copy of a title it will state whether a title from another state preceded it. If so repeat the process until you get to the first registration. Good luck
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PostPost by: Fredtech » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:44 pm

Hi Ross. Many thanks for the info. I?ll give the ?Back-Track? method a go.
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PostPost by: frearther » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:41 pm

Unfortunately, in New York State, titles were not required when this car was imported. I can't remember exactly when NYS started to issue titles, but it was after the early 1970s; my S2 that I bought about 1971 still used the vehicle registration in lieu of a separate title.
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PostPost by: umbyfer » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:45 pm

Hello,

I am italian and I bought my Elan Sprint in 2004. The car was already in Italy, but originally it was Federal. Chassie number 0095K stamped on chassie and VIN number 7108000193K stamped on the VIN plate (windscreen, door, engine bay plate).

I also received from the italian owner the last original insurance/registration fee receipt, where is indicated US number plate, state of NY, name of the owner.

With this information I contacted the Vehicle Departement of New York and at cost of 6 dollars I received a letter where the car was too old and not in the file anymore...

Thanks to internet now I search by google the name of the owner, I contacted someone of the family or living in the same area, but none were able to help me.

If anybody are able to find a way how to contact previous owner in US I am interested in.

Thanks,
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PostPost by: Fredtech » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:05 am

Hi Art. Thanks for the info, registrations in NYS. Guess trying to trace the original 1st owner, presumably purchased from Duchess Auto, is a dead end. I?m guessing folks have already been down that route
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PostPost by: m750rider » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:37 pm

Duchess Auto was more commonly known Lotus East, in Millerton, NY. They were the east coast distributors for Lotus in the 60's so a car they imported could have easily ended up outside of NY, making finding the original owner pretty difficult. No titles were issued back then.
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PostPost by: frearther » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:49 pm

OK, it's trivia time. Who was the parts manager at Lotus East in the 1970's?
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PostPost by: tvacc » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:51 pm

First, titles were first used in NY in 1973. And they dont have records back that far. Remember, this was before computers were commonly used and storage was incredibly expensive. I am in the computer business and back in 1083, not even 73, 15 meg hard drives were the largest and the whole of NYS DMV probably only had a capacity of 500 Meg...

Anyways, I had been contacted by umbyfer a few days ago and have just heard from a guy that is pretty sure the owner of his car is now 94 years old if he is with us at all. I only say that because a friend of mines dad passed about 15 years ago and if you do an internet search on him, it still says he is alive and about 80 years old. Same with my Dad, passed in 2006 but if you search is name, says he is 95 and still with us.

I do have my friend contacting someone who appears to be the son of the man unbyfer is looking for and I will be getting back to him as soon as I hear anything.
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PostPost by: tvacc » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:51 pm

frearther wrote:OK, it's trivia time. Who was the parts manager at Lotus East in the 1970's?



Arnie Johnson I think.
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:27 pm

Phil Mahoney. Unfortunately, Phil is no longer with us, having passed to that great Tottenham Lane in the sky, maybe as much as 29 years ago.

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PostPost by: Elan45 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:29 pm

Opps, hit the wrong key, meant to say maybe 20 years ago. He was with Lotus East until the end.

Roger
'67 Elan S3 SS DHC
'67 Elan FHC pre-airflow
'67 Elan S3 SE upgrade to 26R by Original owner
'58 Eleven S2 (ex-works)
'62 20/22 FJ (ex-Yamura)
'70 Elan +2S RHD
'61 20 FJ project
'76 Modus M1 F3
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PostPost by: frearther » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:00 am

Roger gets the prize. Now, sir, do you know what musical instrument Phil played?
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:39 pm

Sorry, if I knew, I don't remember. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd go for banjo or mandolin. I do remember he had a collection of Luger pistols. I only met Phil once, in June 1975, when I drove my SS to New England for a Gathering of the Faithful MG event. The side lot was full of Europas and there were a couple of new Elites there also, the first I'd ever seen and I was as unimpressed with them then as I am today.

Whoever put the parts dept up in that attic must have been to Tottenham Ln where the parts dept was a hole in the wall in the rafters.

Roger
'67 Elan S3 SS DHC
'67 Elan FHC pre-airflow
'67 Elan S3 SE upgrade to 26R by Original owner
'58 Eleven S2 (ex-works)
'62 20/22 FJ (ex-Yamura)
'70 Elan +2S RHD
'61 20 FJ project
'76 Modus M1 F3
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PostPost by: frearther » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:16 pm

Good guess, Roger; it was banjo. Phil wasn't what I can call a close friend, but we were friendly, and my wife and I were fans of the Black Eagle Jazz band, a Dixieland group that Phil played for. He was a very knowledgeable guy and always seemed to know not only what I needed but how to use it. I live near Millerton, so we saw each other frequently.
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