Lotus Elan

Motor registration

PostPost by: David tye » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:45 am

I'm heading down the path of building a modified, left hand drive, sprint in South Australia. I won't be able to register it here in modified condition. Ultimately I want the car to be based in France but their registration system won't allow it either.
So how strict is the English system in registering a hot left hand drive Elan?
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PostPost by: gordont » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:29 am

Register it before it becomes "hot" would be my suggestion!
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PostPost by: Maulden7 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:37 am

The following appeared recently in Classic Car Weekly & might be of some help :-

?There is an established process in regards to rebuilt vehicles. DVLA rules state :-

1. Vehicles which have been substantially rebuilt or altered from the manufacturers original specification need to be examined at a DVLA local office who will check the vehicle record & history.
2. Checks will be made to establish if the donor vehicle or major component parts have been subject to a Vehicle Identification Check (VIC) or Certificate Of Destruction (COD)
3. On the assumption that it wasn?t, it appears that the new vehicle falls under the ?substantially rebuilt or altered? description? & needs to meet the DVLA requirements to retain the original index number.

Whilst there are always exceptions to the rule when it comes to exotics & classics, HPI?s general advice to the car buying public would be to stick to the rule of thumb in terms of ensuring the vehicle registration number (VRM) & vehicle identification number (VIN) correspond & that paperwork is in order. If any doubt exists in the buyers mind, they should walk away.

What the DVLA guidelines say?

To keep the original registration number cars must use:-

1. The original unaltered chassis or unaltered monocoque bodyshell (that is, the body & chassis as one unit)
OR
2. A new chassis or monocoque bodyshell of the same specification as the original. A receipt from the dealer or manufacturer is required (to verify this)
3. AND ...... the vehicle must have two other major components from the original vehicle :-
Suspension (front & back)
Axles (both)
Transmission
Steering assembly
Engine
4. If a second-hand chassis or monocoque bodyshell is used, the vehicle must have Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) or Single Vehicle Approval (SVA). A ?Q? registration number will then be issued.?

Doesn't sound too hopeful?
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:48 pm

The preceding stuff only means that you will not get the original registration number in the UK, it will get a plate starting with "Q"; it is possible to register just about any state of modification in the UK, so that will not be a problem. e.g. VSCC specials fitted with 26 litre Zeppelin engines, etc!
I think that the issue will arise in France, where, iirc there is a limit to what can be done in the way of mods- perhaps one of our French residents could advise exactly what one can "get away with"?
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PostPost by: AHM » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:37 am

Nearly all of the above is correct. But cover all aspects of everything to do with registration - you need to understand it for what you are doing!

If you bring an (ignore the fact that it is LHD) elan into the UK you will be able to register it and will get an age related registration, but this assumes it has documentation from the country that you are bringing it from. If not you will need to fill in some forms and then you will get an age related registration. You will only get a Q plate if you cannot correctly justify the age and or identity of the vehicle.

Now here are you difficulties
You need to register it to a UK address and the DVLA will only send correspondence to this address.
You will need to MOT it every year... in the UK or some parts of Germany (near BFPO)
You will need to tax it in the UK
Insuring a UK registered car may cause you some interesting conversations and restriction in cover.

In short you would be better registering it in the country that you will be in.

I have been told that it is not possible to register a RHD/old/modified/etc car in several countries in Europe, and each time I have proved the person telling me to be wrong.

I very much suspect that you can register the car successfully in France - But rest assured you will be met by an army of people telling you it can't be done, and officials who have never done it. You will have to try very hard and be very patient. Start by searching expat forums then phone some people who have done it!

Don't confuse modern homologation/approval requirements with old/modified/foreign.

Good luck!

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PostPost by: Maulden7 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:01 am

Just to add to Simon's informed comments ..... the seemingly impossible can be achieved, but only with great, great, patience & perseverance.

In one of my car club roles I have recently been successful in helping a member register a Lotus Sunbeam in Switzerland.

The car was originally supplied to Italy as new, & made it's way to Switzerland via Germany, & with no accompanying papers at all.

Initially the Swiss authorities said that it would be impossible to register the car (some cars ... either 4 or 2 ... - depends on what original paperwork you believe ... Lotus or Talbot - Lotus Sunbeams were sold direct into Switzerland when new - so no problem there)

With the help of a member in Italy (& that countries equivalent of our DVLA) plus info from original manufacturers records, plus a lot of persuasion & form filling by the new owner, the car is now registered in Switzerland. It took 6 months to achieve & around ?200 in fees, plus many hours of time.

Can be done.
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PostPost by: AHM » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:25 pm

Maulden7 wrote:Initially the Swiss authorities said that it would be impossible to register the car (some cars ... either 4 or 2 ... - depends on what original paperwork you believe ... Lotus or Talbot - Lotus Sunbeams were sold direct into Switzerland when new - so no problem there)


Exactly! and this is the key part the authorities in the local office will understandably have no experience or knowledge, which is where the "it can't be done" folklore comes from- you absolutely must go to them fully informed of the process and with the documents to hand.

Also remember that the law will require residents to register their cars.
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PostPost by: David tye » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:59 am

Guys, it's fantastic the depth of knowledge and help coming from the forum. I'm getting the original stromberg engine rebuilt which will be the "federal" spec big valve, and the original chassis and suspension rebuilt and put on the shelf in case they're needed.
the reconstruction of the car is so long and protracted - nearly drops you to your knees.
Thanks for everyone's help and a merry Christmas to everyone.
David Tye
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