Lotus Elan

Elan Sprint - Original 'Inspection Authority' Sign-off

PostPost by: TonyCaldwell » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:39 pm

Hello,
My first post, concerning my 1971 sprint. - I was interested to find the plastic wallet, hidden away, containing the signed and dated 'inspection authority' documentation at the various 'process stages'. - Has anyone got any further info/ history into this? - Appears the car(s) had a unique 'Unit Number, do the numbers (and one letter in my case correspond / signify anything?
Thanks in anticipation of any further info as this Lotus 'Quality Control' seems to be a closely guarded secret!
Tony
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Last edited by TonyCaldwell on Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:38 pm

Can you post up a photo?

There's an upload attachment just below your text area if you edit your post.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:31 pm

First, Welcome :)

Is this the book your referring too? If so the last 5 digits of the Unit no. is the Body number (you'll find it on nearly every panel inc the shell)
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PostPost by: trw99 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:22 am

Tony

Welcome. Have a look see at my web site on the Sprint (link below).

And yes, please post photos of your documentation and the wallet.

Tim
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PostPost by: TonyCaldwell » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:00 am

Thanks elanfan 1 and Grizzly, - Yes that is it, I have edited photo(s) into orig - I got the car from my friend who was first and only owner, he went down to Norfolk and kept all doc's but had no idea when I asked him. - (Replacement) chassis has also been 'autographed'; how common is this?

Brilliant site Tim, - I found it a few years ago, (just after I acquired the car and guess what was the first article I read?)
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PostPost by: billwill » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:04 am

The Unit number is the actual identification of your car. You should see it inscribed on the VIN plate in the engine compartment. (Vehicle Identification number) The Chassis (sub-frame) number may differ from the unit number. Sometimes the number of the fibreglass body (handwritten in various places on the fibreglass) is not the same as the Unit Number.

The first two digits of the Unit number show the type number of the Lotus.

Not many of us are lucky enough to have the Inspection Authority document.


----------------
However I see that Sprints had a different front part to their VIN numbers.
http://www.lotuselansprint.com/index.asp?pageid=41826
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PostPost by: TonyCaldwell » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:48 am

Yes thanks, - VIN No pre-fixed by 71 08 19 which I'm assuming, because it fits, is the 19th of August 1971.

Have you ever removed the rear scuttle trim board on the passenger side? - That is where I found mine, connected to the body tub strengthening bar. - Mine did not get signed at the final 'passed to sales' stage, I'm further assuming this is because my friend did final assembly himself (= his mechanics and engineers did it) and not because it was Thursday afternoon and they had all gone down to the pub!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:12 am

Tony

Your complete VIN breaks down thus: 71 Year 08 Month 19 Batch 0450 Unit G DHC

The date on your inspection tags of 22 July 71 would indicate that the car probably got invoiced by Lotus to the dealer in early August. The date of your cars first registration would give a further clue. Unfortunately your car falls within the batch of records destroyed by flood in the late 1970s, so Andy Graham at Lotus will not be able to give you any additional information.

Incidentally, Lotus only used batch numbers for Elans and Plus 2s during 1970 and 1971. This is the first documented proof I have of their use during production, so thanks for posting the photos.

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PostPost by: TonyCaldwell » Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:08 pm

Thanks Tim,

My first dip into a forum, so I'm glad I chose the right one. Do you know if Lotus would normally have kept those stubs for themselves internally, was I just 'lucky' that they left them in the body tub?

Does anyone know why they stopped using the batch numbers in 71? - Presume, obviously, that these cars were therefore superior quality to any produced before or after?
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:30 pm

The batch numbers are a bit of a puzzle. No one I have spoken to or read about has ever come up with a reason for their introduction and I can find no correlation looking at all the VINs. So, for example, there are no hard rules about how many cars, of whichever type, were in each batch.

Someone at Hethel at the time who was involved at sign off etc may know. We await their appearance here to enlighten us!

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:13 am

My guess is that it related to Lotus trying to get some control over what had been a fairly adhoc production planning and parts supply situation previously.

i.e. Once they had an idea of the number and type of cars they needed to build at some time in the future they would create a batch of cars , order the parts needed and plan the run of that batch through the factory when all the parts would be available.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:27 pm

Quite possibly, Rohan. Yet why did they only keep the batch system for two years? Maybe it didn't work as they had hoped and they reverted to unit number and suffix as being simpler.

I shall have to look at both Elan and +2 batches and compare dates, in an attempt to understand if the batches ran the same for both types or were different.

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:32 pm

I would guess after a couple of years they changed their planning and parts ordering system in some way and no longer needed the batch number as part of that revised system or perhaps they kept the batches but no longer needed to use them as part of the VIN number for some reason

Just guessing after being involved in production planning in many companies for to many years :D

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:17 pm

It's all guess work at the mo, Rohan!

Having looked at the batch nos for both Elans and +2s, not surprisingly they ran differently.

In 1970 Elans ran to 23 batches; +2s to 16.

In 1971 Elans ran to 29 batches; +2s to 18.

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Wed Jul 29, 2015 7:10 pm

https://www.flickr.com/groups/[email protected] an amazing find; I've never seen these tags before- possibly they were normally removed before the kit/complete car got to the customer?
Yours are in remarkable condition, presumably because they were in the wallet and in the dark.

Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Sprints. Post some photos of your car here please and can I give a plug to:

The Elan and +2 Registry http://www.elanregistry.org/ please add your car's details.

And... this is to all owners:

The flickr Lotus Elan photo gallery https://www.flickr.com/groups/[email protected] all photos welcome- especially old ones.
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