Lotus Elan

Sprint 5 And Final Chassis Numbers

PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:01 am

I was prompted to contact Jacob Cronstedt via the forum having seen his Sprint chassis number, 73030097H, listed on Unibrain?s Elan Register, which indicated a build date of March 73. In Graham Arnold?s Buyers Guide he lists the final DHC number as 73020899 and FHC number as 73020665, ie. February 73. This appears to be another Lotus conundrum, as is the exact number of Sprint 5s that left the factory. His is one of them.

Jacob says that he has never come closer than 7 to 17 examples. As far as he knows there are currently 2 Elan Sprint/5's in Sweden. The third was exported to Germany last autumn.

From the web I have gleaned that ?The last 3 Elan Sprints delivered from Lotus in 1973 were actually equipped with the 5-speed gearbox from the +2. Furthermore a Lotus parts bulletin of 04.09.1974 was issued, describing a 5-speed conversion kit for the Elan Sprint and the Elan +2S 130. One of the above mentioned last 3 original 5 speed Elan Sprints produced in 1973 was actually exported to Denmark and bought by Mr. Claus Gaarde; a long time Danish Lotus enthusiast? and ?chassis number 73010092H, one of the five or so Elan Sprint 5's that were built to special order for the Swedish Lotus agents Wendel's? and also that ?In his book, John Bolster says Lotus fitted 5 speed boxes to the "last five or six Elans". Regarding factory-built Sprint 5s: there are apparently no records regarding the number made. These were only cursorily kept and a couple of years ago destroyed during a flood at the factory. It appears Lotus supplied LHD Elans (Europe Export models, as indicated by the H) from the time - October 1972 - that they offered the 5 speed box as an option on Plus 2s?

It would be interesting to track down how many Sprints did leave the factory with 5 speed boxes, if only for the sake of historical accuracy. Similarly, it would be interesting to see if any one has a chassis number later than Jacob?s. Given the discrepancy in total numbers built and the apparently poor record keeping at the factory, this may just not be possible!

Any one have more information?
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PostPost by: bvt » Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:57 pm

I saw a lotus dealer brochure from the early 70s that listed 5speed on Sprints as an available extra!
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PostPost by: jacob cronstedt » Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:04 pm

I Checked in the Club member's list of the Lotus Car Club of Sweden and found 4573030099H, a green Car owned by a certain Lars Ganters. I think that one is a 4-speeder. I tried to find his phone number but it is not listed.
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PostPost by: freddy22112211 » Wed Mar 30, 2005 2:35 pm

My LHD Sprint 5 has the number 7210086H (as you can see from the registry), ie October 72, so the statement "It appears Lotus supplied LHD Elans (Europe Export models, as indicated by the H) from the time - October 1972 - that they offered the 5 speed box as an option on Plus 2s" would appear to be true. I have met one other person with a similar car (many years ago) - it was grey in colour at the time.
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1972 LHD Sprint 5 Cabriolet - sold!
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PostPost by: sk178ta » Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:30 pm

I bought a Sprint new ( my 4th Elan) in March`73, just before purchase tax was abolished and Vat introduced, which killed the saving to be had "assembling" the car yourself. Certainly the 5 speed option wasn`t available then. I seem to think that Elan sales collapsed as a result of the extra tax and Chapman decided to move Lotus up market (Etna and other stillborn projects etc.) The more expensive +2S/ 5 continued for a year or so and I think the last few Elans had the 5 speed fitted to see if this would encourage sales, it didn`t. I recall at least one Elan being registered in 1974 but I seem to think it had been built much earlier. I can`t remember chassis numbers.
For the last year, in a pathetic attempt to re-live my youth, I`ve been running an S3 DHC and lurrving it !! It seems even more impressive now than it did then. Coincidentally, just this week the Elan is back on the road with a Sprint engine and 5 speed box for more relaxed continental cruising.
Jim
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PostPost by: M100 » Thu Mar 31, 2005 3:47 pm

Without anything to back up the Bolster book statement from an authoritive source (its also in one of the Arnold books but he wasn't working there at the time) then all that is said regarding the Sprint 5 is, I think pure conjecture. Maybe i'm wrong but I've always had the impression that no 5 speed Sprints left the factory and all were probably retrofits as a result of the service bulletin dated September 1974 - way after the 2 seater ceased production.

If someone can turn up a single owner - anywhere, with an original invoice showing the 5 speed box installed from new AND can show it wasn't fitted by the dealer/importer then I might be convinced ;) Until then.....
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Apr 01, 2005 11:04 am

In the late 70's I bought a replacement chassis for my Elan from the factory. It had locating holes for both the 5 speed and 4 speed box mount, you cannot fit the 5 speed into the original 4 speed mounting locations. So Lotus at least made Elan chassis for the 5 speed. Given the existence also of the badging and at least a couple of cars on the list with a Lotus 5 speed box with a long history ( if not the original invoice to prove factory supply) its hard to deny that Lotus made some 5 speeds from new and they were not all after market retrofits.

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PostPost by: hgw_andree » Fri Apr 01, 2005 6:05 pm

Hi, 5-speed enthusiast,
I have the Elan with he chassis number 73010092H, the original registration papers call it Elan Sprint 5, and thats what is now in my official registration papers.
I believe the chassis mounting points for the 5 speed gearbox are indeed different to the 4 speed points. There must have been two different chassis types.
I would be interested to find out how many original 5-speed cars were factory build, but I have only my one "vote".
My car is in good shape, very few original kms on the clock. I was in Denmark on Easter Saturday on the small racecoure of Padborg together with other 30 mostly Lotus drivers
. Unfortunately it rained continously but that gave the narrow-tyre-Elan an advantage over modern Loti.
smilie. It took me a week to dry the footwell again- I got so much water inside, I think through the air intake for the heater.
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