Lotus Elan

Filling in new VIN plate for 26/5538

PostPost by: 661 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:42 am

The old plate was 'destroyed by fire'.
The new one is a poor replica , but it is what it is.
2 questions, please.
Firstly, should the 'Unit No.' be '5538' and 26/5538 be written below, as in this (U.S.) example:
id-example.png
id-example.png (104.46 KiB) Viewed 1100 times


or write the '26/5538' in the 'Unit No. ' box?

Secondly. The repro I have (horrid as it is) has a slightly different order to the columns than the Buckland example in his book.
id-plates.jpg and

Is this a faithful reproduction? If not are there any Stateside better than the SJS/Matty/Kelsport offerings this side of the pond?

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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:07 pm

I've read somewhere (...?) that at some point Lotus could provide VIN plates to legit cars missing them... not sure if they would still carry Cheshunt plates though.

In any case, I've not seen good repros being offered strangely, even at this age of digital high accuracy prototyping means : the alignments are wrong, and/or the fonts, and/or the general disposition (even the comma at the end of top two lines is a recurrent giveaway) etc... so repros are relatively easy to spot on cars (esp. rebuilt ones).
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PostPost by: billwill » Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:15 pm

The repro manufacturers possibly made slight differences to avoid being shut-down/charged for copyright infringement.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:06 pm

RDent in USA sells the one pictured in Brian's book there on the left. As you stated, the one you have on the right is wrong and obviously so.
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PostPost by: 661 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 9:43 pm

tedtaylor wrote:RDent in USA sells the one pictured in Brian's book there on the left. As you stated, the one you have on the right is wrong and obviously so.



Thanks Ted, yet it has the order of the oils the same way as the one on the yellow car pictured first, which appears origianl????
I wonder if the Cheshunt plate altered slightly during production to change the order of the oils?
Nonetheless, you have confirmed that Dent do the left hand one, thanks, which certainly looks a better print than the one I have.
Are there any other pictures of late S2 originals out there , please? ( I've searched google image, which seems awash with +2 plates).
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:32 pm

here's an S2 I had with stamped, rather than etched numbers.
FYI only.
8b33svw.jpg and
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PostPost by: 661 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:27 am

tedtaylor wrote:here's an S2 I had with stamped, rather than etched numbers.
FYI only.
8B33SVw.jpg


Thanks Ted, interesting on 2 fronts.
The stamped numbers are certainly unusual it would seem for that era and the plate itself has the oils in the same order as my poor replica and differs to the Buckland one.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:08 pm

Here is a pic of my early S2 VIN plate, the numbers are eatched onto it and not stamped.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:28 pm

661 wrote:
tedtaylor wrote:here's an S2 I had with stamped, rather than etched numbers.
FYI only.
8B33SVw.jpg


Thanks Ted, interesting on 2 fronts.
The stamped numbers are certainly unusual it would seem for that era and the plate itself has the oils in the same order as my poor replica and differs to the Buckland one.


I got a certificate of provenance from Andy Graham where all the numbers matched, including the body stamp on the firewall, so I wasn't worried, but if only the cars themselves could talk and tell us how things came to be...
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PostPost by: 661 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:37 pm

types26/36 wrote:Here is a pic of my early S2 VIN plate, the numbers are eatched onto it and not stamped.


Thanks Brian.
The oils are in the same order as my replica.
It's difficult to read what is going on with the engravings.
Could you please confirm if it appears that the unit number (XXXX) only appears in the 'Unit No.' section and that the 26/XXXX bit appears in the space underneath?
If that is the case is 'CH NO ' written before the 26/XXXX? ( or indeed anything else).
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PostPost by: 661 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:38 pm

tedtaylor wrote: if only the cars themselves could talk and tell us how things came to be...



Too true
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:23 pm

[Could you please confirm if it appears that the unit number (XXXX) only appears in the 'Unit No.' section and that the 26/XXXX bit appears in the space underneath?
If that is the case is 'CH NO ' written before the 26/XXXX? ( or indeed anything else).[/quote]

Graeme,
Its difficult to get a good pic showing the engravings but I have filled in the spaces where the engravings appear, note there are no dots at the end of "CH N0"
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PostPost by: 661 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:26 pm

types26/36 wrote:[Could you please confirm if it appears that the unit number (XXXX) only appears in the 'Unit No.' section and that the 26/XXXX bit appears in the space underneath?
If that is the case is 'CH NO ' written before the 26/XXXX? ( or indeed anything else).


Graeme,
Its difficult to get a good pic showing the engravings but I have filled in the spaces where the engravings appear, note there are no dots at the end of "CH N0"[/quote]
Perfect, thanks.
Although I may resort to non-OEM rivets!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:58 pm

Graeme,

Brian's car, although RHD, was first exported to S Africa, which accounts for the engine number being filled in and the repetition of the Chassis No under the panels. This was also done for all Federal cars to comply with local rules.

In the UK it was much more likely that the Unit No was filled in only, the Engine No is generally blank, which indicates that the car was supplied in component form. There was no repetition under the panels for UK cars.

As folk will know, I am a sad Elan anorak and therefore have many photos of various aspects of Elans, as well as a full record of production, or at least as full as we can currently get. I have therefore spent a little time today going through the Cheshunt VIN plate photos that I have. As with many things Lotus, it is impossible to be definitive. However, those VIN plates that have the oil manufactures in the order 'Castrol, BP, Esso, Mobil, Shell' outnumber those that are ordered 'Shell, Castrol, BP, Esso, Mobil', though not by any significant margin.

I therefore fail to make a judgement about which style is period correct. Furthermore I, like most owners, can not be certain that the VIN plate attached to their car is that with which it left the factory. Additionally, it is entirely within the realms of possibility that Lotus themselves concurrently used two suppliers who varied their plates as above. Thus we can make generalisations and draw fair assumptions about style, fixing, scribing versus stamping, but no certainties that are likely to help an owner faithfully replicate the VIN plate that their car left the factory with.

A rather long-winded way of saying that we are, for the time being, stumped!

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PostPost by: 661 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:20 pm

Thanks Tim,

I had just rewritten my plate moments before seeing your post. I decided ( incorrectly it appears!!) to write the XXXX number in the unit box and 26/XXXX underneath.
Given that the repro plate is not great then I suppose I shouldn't be too concerned about the accuracy for my car, however it is now searchable for the next restorer.
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