Lotus Elan

California, please help trace the provenance of USA Elan

PostPost by: HAIRY » Sat Jul 23, 2016 6:59 pm

11858_4.jpeg and
I purchased this Elan S4 in the UK earlier this year and I am seeking help in tracing its provenance. It seems likely that the car spent most of its life on the West Coast of America.

The car left the Lotus factory on April 11th 1969 and was shipped to the British Motor Cars Distributor in Los Angeles. There, the trail goes cold until the last known owner recorded on the Ownership Certificate from Long Beach California 90813 acquired the car on March 8th 1977 and finally sold it on June 1st 2015. To date I have had no reply from him.

The car was subsequently sold by Beverly Hills Car Club and shipped to the UK where I purchased it.

The car has been resprayed several times. The paint under the windscreen rubber is British Racing Green, and the subsequent colours are Bahama Yellow, Carnival Red and metallic blue!
Though the licence plate is memorable, I realise there is only the remotest chance that anyone will recognises this car. So, if you know how I can trace the car's history do please let me know how it is done.
All help would be appreciated.
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PostPost by: plus24me » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:22 pm

Sorry for you to see that Beverly Hills Car Club was the seller of the car you purchased, their reputation of selling some of the worst..."Lipstick on a pig" cars is unrivaled in the car community...

Very interested in the way/difference that "BHCC" described the car's condition & the condition it actually arrived at your door step?
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PostPost by: CG901 » Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:34 pm

Chassis no.?
Current: 1965 S1.5 26/4004, 1966 S3 FHC 36/5192, 1958 Fiat Abarth 750GT Zagato, 1967 Brabham BT21B, 1988 Arrows A10B-04, 1991 Brun C91-001.
Past: 1971 Elan S4/SE DHC, 1972 Europa Special, 1980 Esprit Turbo, 1988 March 881-05, 1990 Leyton House CG90105
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PostPost by: HAIRY » Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:30 pm

I purchased the car from the UK importer and had no dealings with the Beverly Hills Car Club..

The chassis number is 45/8799.
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PostPost by: CG901 » Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:32 pm

I checked with Lotus Elan Registry, but this chassis # is not registered. Of course, all aren't.
It can not be tracked in California with the chassis no. as VINs which are trackable wheren't used until 1981.
Not sure how else to trace ownership history.
Current: 1965 S1.5 26/4004, 1966 S3 FHC 36/5192, 1958 Fiat Abarth 750GT Zagato, 1967 Brabham BT21B, 1988 Arrows A10B-04, 1991 Brun C91-001.
Past: 1971 Elan S4/SE DHC, 1972 Europa Special, 1980 Esprit Turbo, 1988 March 881-05, 1990 Leyton House CG90105
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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:54 am

Send me owner's name and any other info you have on the car, Any service or parts receipts? and you Vin No.
I live south of Long Beach.

James

If you have both plates, I think I can find out by applying for a registration transfer.
Do you have both license plates?
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PostPost by: HAIRY » Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:51 am

CG901 & holywood3645 thank you for your interest
.
James, I have sent you a PM.
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PostPost by: HAIRY » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:23 pm

I attach a picture showing the colours that my recently acquired Elan S4 has been painted while on the road from 1969 to 1992 in California, in the hope that it reminds someone and helps me uncover some of its provenance.

It left the factory in British Racing Green and was subsequently painted:
- yellow
- orange
- black
- metallic blue
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PostPost by: HAIRY » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:54 am

Despite the relative rarity of this car and its distinctive license plate, this thread has not prompted a single sighting or recollection of its 46 years in the USA / California.

Any guidance you can give on tracing this 'colourful' Elan's provenance would be appreciated.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:40 am

looks like Janis Joplin's psychedelic Porsche paint job !! :lol:
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PostPost by: RogerFrench » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:49 pm

License plates are not a reliable identifier of a car in the US. They are not assigned to a car as in the UK, but to the car/owner combination. So when a car is sold, it gets new plates. Yours ended up with its current plates, 25 years ago or more, but pretty certainly didn't start with them.
So really, it's an Elan that's been repainted a few times. What's memorable about that, that people on this forum should recall It? I think you expect too much.


HAIRY wrote:Despite the relative rarity of this car and its distinctive license plate, this thread has not prompted a single sighting or recollection of its 46 years in the USA / California.

Any guidance you can give on tracing this 'colourful' Elan's provenance would be appreciated.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:53 pm

The license plate would likely only be pertinent if the previous owner or a friend saw this thread. Roger is totally correct that they are not reliable identifiers. I have California plate "LOTUS 2S" hanging in the garage and CA has no record that they ever issued my plate or registered my car and it was registered there for years, to me.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:55 pm

To be fair Roger, Hairy did say 'Though the licence plate is memorable, I realise there is only the remotest chance that anyone will recognises this car. So, if you know how I can trace the car's history do please let me know how it is done.' in his earlier post.

When it was for sale at some stage recently, I noted this: 'Lotus 'Classic Certificate of Vehicle Provenance'. An accompanying letter from Lotus states that this is a Type 45 DHC with a unit number of 8799. It also confirms that the engine number G18158, with the suffix G, represents the standard compression and engine size for the American market. It further states that it left the factory on the 11th April 1969 under the invoice number of ECS4487, representing a factory assembled car for export. The Elan was originally distributed by 'British Motor Cars Distributors' in the Los Angeles area; unfortunately, Lotus has suffered loss of some of the original documents so cannot confirm the original works order or specifications of that time.'

I trust you now have that certificate Hairy? It may be worth your while contacting some of the US Lotus car clubs to see if the car was ever registered under that VIN with a member.

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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:24 pm

I found that the owner had moved to Riverside. Also was able to find his sister registered on facebook.
Unfortunately none of my attempts to contact or emails were replied.
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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:17 am

May I suggest a broadening of your search?

There was a club in SoCal for many years known as Lotus West. The club has been defunct for about 15 years. Some of the members are still around, even on facebook. I messaged a long time Lotus enthusiast Rod Bean about your car. It's a long shot, but may work.

There are other Lotus forums, including sevens, Elites, Europas. Ask older owners with older cars. I just spoke with an ex Lotus manufacturing engineer that I knew in college after I found him through vintage racing.

Good luck.

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