Lotus Elan

Bit of a Mongrel

PostPost by: MartinH » Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:44 pm

I have had my Elan for 13 years and it has been very reliable only requiring a cylinder head gasket outwith normal running maintenance, upgrades and the odd electrical problem. In this time I have covered over 25k miles including driving from Scotland to follow the Mille Miglia, 2 trips to Classic le mans (and some laps), up and down to Bordeaux twice, the Club lotus Castle Coombe track day most years and a few track days in France with Club Lotus France. Last year while at the club lotus France day at Montlhery I broke a drive shaft and subsequently had a gearbox bearing break. This has meant for the first time in my ownership I have taken the car to pieces, well, engine and gearbox and diff all out. What I have discovered is that my car is not really what the documents say it is.

It is registered as a 1967 S3 Coupe. Vehicle no.36/6937, engine number LP7971LBA. These are confirmed as being the correct matching numbers for the car as delivered in kit form. The docs also list the engine as being 1698cc. When I bought the car it was obviously not an S3 coupe as it had a S4DHC body and was told it had been re-bodied by a previous owner.

I only recently started to take an interest in the discussions about engine numbers, vehicle numbers, etc, once I started to browse the forum to find out how to fix my car. What I have, apart from the obvious S4 DHC body, is engine number 711M 6015BA, Cylinder head numbers are 26F1311, WM, LM8WP, LP1003, the gearbox is marked 105E 7606B. It has a Spyder chassis from around 1978. I think the only original parts left might be the doors and the dash. So a bit of a mongrel really.

It may not be unusual for an old Elan to be on the road with so many non original parts ???

I have looked on the forum so have an idea that the engine is quite a strong one, the engine has been lightened, balanced, BLL4 cams, sprint valves, TTR exhaust system and manifold and electronic ignition. It also has solid drive shafts, lowered springs with ride height adjustment, adjustable Konis, modern starter motor, alternator and an alloy radiator. It goes really well and is great fun to drive.

Not sure about the gearbox but have a feeling this is not the correct box for an Elan.

Can anyone shed any light on the cylinder head for me, is it the original one for my car?
How do you value something like this (not that I am thinking of selling) but for insurance.
I suppose I will have to tell DVLA the registration doc is wrong.

Ultimately I don't care that the car is a mongrel, it goes really well, is great to drive and gives me huge enjoyment zapping about in Scotland, France and Italy. It also looks really good. I would put up some photos and a video but can't figure out how to do it.

Thanks
Martin
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PostPost by: SimonH » Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:13 pm

That engine number isn't your engine number. That should be on the top of the engine mounting boss.

Otherwise I wouldn't say anything about the rest :wink:
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PostPost by: MartinH » Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:33 pm

lotus240514-1831.jpg and
lotus230515-1701.jpg and


Managed to work out how to attach photos.
Anyone any idea if the colour is a Lotus original colour, if yes what is it?

Thanks
Martin
Attachments
photo.jpg and
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:43 pm

36/6937 was invoiced on 24 Apr 67 with, as you write, engine no LP7971. It was first registered on 16 May 67 in Hertfordshire.

The 711M 6015BA is the Ford block casting no and has no useful purpose for car recognition, though can indicate month and year of casting.

The WM & LM8WP are also, I believe, casting numbers.

26F1311 is a Lotus part no.

LP1003 would appear to be the engine no from an early Twin Cam from late 1963/early 1964. I do not have a record of an Elan fitted with that engine no so it perhaps came from a LoCort?

105E 7606B is I believe a Ford part no.

From an insurance point of view what you have is a Lotus Elan that has been 'breathed' on lightly. I'm not sure there are any significant repercussions to your premium for all that. Others will know that better than me!

The closest colour that appears to be is Regency Red; however, that is unlikely to be the original colour since it was introduced in Oct 70.

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PostPost by: 512BB » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:37 pm

Martin,

Your 711 block is a much later block than was fitted originally to your car, probably from something like an Escort or a Mexico.

Your car should have 681 block in it. I could build you a correct short motor for it, but it hardly seems worth it with so many other parts not right, particularly the body, just enjoy it for what it is.

Thinking aloud, the body was replaced possibly due to a heavy crash back in the day, or the whole car has been made up from parts, which seems more likely, as the major components are not original to it.

A few years ago, there was a healthy, if not unethical, I don't know, trade in V5s and I/D plates going on. What was done with them, I have no idea. Maybe your car is one such, but as I said, just enjoy it.

As for informing the DVLA of ANYTHING, I just would not go there. Could open up a whole can of worms.

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PostPost by: elj221c » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:44 pm

SimonH wrote:Otherwise I wouldn't say anything about the rest :wink:


Leslie beat me to it.

It's been said before.....

'Don't tell 'em, Pike!'

:lol:

The important thing is you have a V5. (I hope!)

711 is a crossflow block. Old info but I assume there has been no update:-

http://www.lotus-cortina.com/library/block/blocks.htm
Roy
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:47 pm

Don't tell em Pike!

Seriously don't try and fix something that isn't broken, no need to inform the DVLA that your engine or chassis are not the original items. What has happened is that the car has been maintained and that components have been replaced as and when they have worn out or in the case of your body been damaged beyond economic repair. Your chassis rusted and was replaced, this is normal and has happened to at least 90% of Elans, your engine was either worn out or was uprated as was common to a 711M block to increase capacity and power. Originality wasn't a priority when the cars were under 20 years old.

A replacement body supplied by Lotus would have been the latest marque, hence you have an S4 body, back in the day that would have been an improvement and highly desirable.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with your car, you have the continuous history and provenance to prove it.

As for insurance, it's a classic sports car that is not your daily driver, hence it is classed as a cherished vehicle by insurers and the premium is based on type of use rather than having an upgraded engine. It's very unusual for one of our cars to be involved in an accident and become a total loss, hence insurance is cheap. My modified X are cost me less than ?300 a year in total for insurance and they are properly documented and declared.
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:49 pm

elj221c wrote:
SimonH wrote:Otherwise I wouldn't say anything about the rest :wink:


Leslie beat me to it.

It's been said before.....

'Don't tell 'em, Pike!'

:lol:

The important thing is you have a V5. (I hope!)

711 is a crossflow block. Old info but I assume there has been no update:-

http://www.lotus-cortina.com/library/block/blocks.htm



You beat me to it Captain Mainwairing!
Kindest regards

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PostPost by: pereirac » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:45 pm

Colour looks like 'Regency red' (aka Maroon)?

Carl
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PostPost by: john1180 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:38 am

Is your color a metallic? If so there was a color called claret, that was a later S4 color.
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PostPost by: 440HUU » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:09 am

Good morning

Have sent you a PM
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PostPost by: 512BB » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:21 am

'How do you value something like this for insurance'

With todays values being much higher than when you bought the car Martin, fortunately I am sure, you will be in positive territory, monitarilly.

However, values today are VERY much dependant on how far away a given car strays from being original, and they don't come much further away than your car. The engine and box, although I am not sure about your box with the no. you quote, it may be correct for your car, are not quite so important as the body type being wrong, and that would have a huge impact on who would actually buy it.

Having said all that, ALL and ANY Elan is sort after, no matter what it looks like or what it is made up from. Different people have different budgets, not everyone has ?50k to spend on one, and there are many people looking to enter the market place much lower down the scale. From what you have told us and we can see, I value your car at c20k, just my opinion.

If you are going to Castle Combe this year, why don't you go via Matty's place. He will value it for a nominal fee of ?10, given to a charity of his choice.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:39 am

[quote="john1180"]Is your color a metallic? If so there was a color called claret, that was a later S4 color.[/quote]

John, Lotus never had a Claret as an original Elan colour. Its possible one or two of the North American importers used a Claret colour for some imported cars, since we know in the 1960s a number of unpainted cars were shipped over by the factory.

Tim
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PostPost by: LaikaTheDog » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:31 am

So difficult to tell from a photo viewed on a phone. But my first thought about colour is that if metallic and sprayed late eighties it looks like a modern lotus "silk red"

That said my tvr is "white" but at some point repainted and the closet I can get now is a ford diamond white... which still isn't quite right...

Whatever colour your lotus is it is lovely :)
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:36 pm

Martin,

Telling the DVLA WILL open a world of pain as they will want proof like the ins and outs of a dats ****. So take the advice you've been given.

But with regard to insurance you must tell them everything that's been upgraded or they could regard it as non disclosure and that can invalidate your policy leaving you open to not only the loss of your p&j but to a raft of cost on respect of third party claims (they might pay out for TP losses but could come after you for repayment).

The good news is it's highly unlikely to affect your premium by more than a few quid.
Steve

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