Lotus Elan

Frame swaps and DVLA

PostPost by: JonB » Wed May 10, 2023 2:01 pm

Following on from viewtopic.php?f=19&t=52604

I have a Lotus galvanised frame for my S4 but the V5 lists VIN as the original frame number only, not the full number shown on the plate under the bonnet.

Obviously, the LR frame number is different and because the V5 is showing just the original number, when swapping them over I am legally obliged to inform DVLA.

Has anyone managed this recently, and if so, how? What’s needed? I have no Lotus paperwork with the LR frame although it does have an identification number scribed in the usual place.

I’ve heard some horror stories of people ending up with Q plates which I’m obviously not wanting to risk.

Please don’t say “it’s a subframe therefore don’t tell them” as I think this is illegal, especially as my V5 is clearly showing the existing frame number as-is.

(My other option is to repair the rusted turret on the original chassis. Looks doable, especially as the crossmember is still holding vacuum so hasn’t perforated.)

Thanks
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PostPost by: SimonH » Wed May 10, 2023 2:23 pm

The V5 should show the unit number not the frame number. The plate on the body shows the correct number, your V5 is incorrect I would say
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PostPost by: alanr » Wed May 10, 2023 2:24 pm

As I see it these are your options:-
Cut around the old number of the original chassis/frame and then cut the same size piece out of the 'new chassis/frame and weld the piece with that original number in the 'new' chassis/frame ....Voila!...correct number on 'new chassis/frame! Warning though:-Some might consider this forgery!
Or otherwise the only other options left that you have are to 'not tell DVLA' which doesn't seem to appeal to you or you just tell them exactly what you are doing. If it is a genuine replacement Lotus (Gartrac)chassis and not a Spyder I personally can't see that there should be any problem.
I can't see that there are any other options!

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed May 10, 2023 2:37 pm

......or buy/borrow some metal stamps, buy a plate off ebay, stamp, pop rivet it over the number .......smile and act dumb to any questions :roll:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/234497697309 ... R-6RkeGAYg
Errr .......not that I would do such a thing........ :roll: :roll: :lol:
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Wed May 10, 2023 2:47 pm

Can’t you advise the DVLA to change the v5 from the existing frame number to the existing unit number as per the plate on the body ? Get all that done without even hinting on any subframe change.

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PostPost by: HCA » Wed May 10, 2023 3:18 pm

I urge you not to approach DVLA and tell them there is an error on the V5! They will turn it around and make out that the error is yours by changing the chassis...

MGBs for some unknown reason are notorious for having one digit out of tune twixt car and V5 - all who tried to flag this ended up in all sorts of hassle! The simplest way to correct the errors was to re-number the car to suit the V5... :D

I must say, I marvel at the threads about numbers. I am with Brian - a box of metal stamps is your friend here... :D
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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed May 10, 2023 4:16 pm

Jon,

The only defining identity number of any Elan is the Unit No. That is the case even for the earliest cars where the Chassis No (NB different from the Unit No at that time) was shown on the VIN plate.

By the time they made your S4 the Unit No and Chassis No matched; Chassis No was by then a redundant identifier. In fact, by the time your car was made Lotus was using the 'new' VIN numbering method.

As far as the DVLA is concerned your Elan VIN No should, in theory, be recorded as 700#1#0###G, where first 2 digits denote year, second 2 denote month, third 2 denote batch, last 4 numbers denote Unit No and the letter is the body/market type.

Even though your current V5 lacks this full VIN, the most important element, the Unit No, is correctly entered. Regardless of what chassis/subframe your car now has, your reg document clearly and legally identifies your Elan and will do so for evermore. Therefore leave DVLA well alone and be content with what you have.

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PostPost by: JonB » Wed May 10, 2023 6:03 pm

Interesting.

So unit and frame number are the same on my S4 (as I’d supposed) and indeed, it appears on the saddle material laid over the frame, and the back of the glovebox as well as stamped into the frame itself.

However as I said, it also appears on the V5 in the VIN/chassis/frame number field. A literal interpretation of that, along with the physical evidence, tends to give me cause for concern, to say nothing of the issues I might have selling it on, if the (frame) numbers don’t match.
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PostPost by: greg40green » Wed May 10, 2023 6:39 pm

Hello JonB
Please don't take this the wrong way as its definitely not my intention to insult you or anyone else on this site.
This subject has been highlighted and discussed numerous times.
(If you don't know who this is google him) Graham Arnold absolutely hammered this subject across to Elan owners after establishing with DVLA that the Elan's ID was the body tub 'NOT' the chassis which is a serviceable item.
You have no legal reason to inform the DVLA that you have changed your chassis, if you do you will regret it.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Thu May 11, 2023 7:56 pm

+1 with don’t tell ‘em Pike!

Absolutely no need to report a replacement “Chassis” or “Subframe” or “Spondoolax” or whatever you want to call it.
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PostPost by: mbell » Thu May 11, 2023 9:24 pm

JonB wrote: the V5 lists VIN as the original frame number only, not the full number shown on the plate under the bonnet.


And:

trw99 wrote:As far as the DVLA is concerned your Elan VIN No should, in theory, be recorded as 700#1#0###G, where first 2 digits denote year, second 2 denote month, third 2 denote batch, last 4 numbers denote Unit No and the letter is the body/market type.


I am a bit confused, it sounds to me like your problem is the VIN number on the V5C is incorrect and just the Unit/Chassis number, rather than the correct form VIN.

So the chassis change is bit of side topic, your V5C data doesn't match the car's plate. But you don't want to change the chassis as its number matches your V5C, so give some validity to your V5C.

Is this understanding is right? It seems the technically correct thing would be to get the VIN number on the V5C corrected to match the cars. Then the chassis can be freely changed without concern.

The problem being that doing anything with the DVLA that isn't a standard change of owner is high risk of them doing something completely wrong and arbitrary causing you a lot grief and possible expense. So it all boils down to what person risk analysis of the possible options:
1) Keep current V5C and chassis, as they show some link (main risk is future challenge if the car and log book belong together, when selling it or dealing with police etc)
2) Keeping V5C and new chassis, harder to prove the car and V5C go together
3) Update V5C and new chassis, risk of DVLA...

I'd probably be tempted to contact Club Lotus and see what experience or assistance they could provide in getting the V5C updated. Much lower chance of DVLA messing you around if done via Club Lotus but may still be best avoided.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri May 12, 2023 7:27 am

Very well put mbell,

Over the years and with changes of ownership as well as DVLA registration documents and systems changing it’s surprisingly common for mistakes to creep in and go unnoticed on documentation.

One of my cars had an incomplete vin number on the DVLA V5, I got this corrected with the help of Andy Graham ( the Lotus archivist) who very kindly wrote to the DVLA on my behalf.
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Fri May 12, 2023 11:33 am

My advice would be to stick to the VIN number as well.

With respect to the LR number, there is no reason for not having an additional chassis plate with the VIN stamped number welded to the chassis.

Remember that the main purpose of these numbers is to help the police keep track of the registration cars and help recover them in a case of theft. This is a point for "MOT" failure in many countries.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Fri May 12, 2023 3:40 pm

The DVLA sounds like an evil empire...me, being an ex (barrack-room) lawyer would have them regretting any and all "wrong" decisions they made regarding any of my cars.

Are you listening DVLA???

There, I feel better now and am so glad i no longer have to deal with soulless beings. :D
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri May 12, 2023 6:22 pm

Slowtus wrote:The DVLA sounds like an evil empire...


They like any government agency or big company, if what you want is normal everyday event its highly likely to go smoothly. If your outside of that your at the mercy of the complacency of the individual you land on, generally with the results being set in stone once someone has decided. Whether the result is correct or not.

I am just trying to get the V5C for my car, my decision how to go about that is more about what is the most common way to do that rather than what is the technically correct way to deal with the specific situation I am in.
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