Lotus Elan

How to tell the difference between Lotus and Spyder Chassis

PostPost by: helluvaname » Sat Feb 03, 2024 1:00 pm

Complete novice here, so please be gentle!

Looking around at +2's: if a +2 has a galvanised chassis, how can one tell the difference between a Lotus Chassis'd car and a Spyder (or other) Chassis'd car?

Thank you.
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PostPost by: Donels » Sat Feb 03, 2024 6:47 pm

A Spyder chassis is generally a space frame, probably painted red. A Lotus chassis is a folded sheet design, usually painted black, which may or may not be galvanised. If the car has been restored the chassis colours may be completely different.

There is also a lot of discussion about whether galvanising is a good thing or bad. Myth has it that galvanising distorts the chassis, but corrosion probably causes more damage on an ungalvanised chassis.

Also do not tell the DVLA you are changing the chassis as this can result in a Q plate. Always refer to it as a subframe, and then they don't mind.

Here’s a picture of. Lotus chassis not in original colour.

IMG_1518.jpeg and
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PostPost by: Baggy2 » Sat Feb 03, 2024 7:13 pm

As far as I know all spyder chassis (space frame or stressed skin) have a round section front cross member with a towing eye on it. Lotus Chassis have a more or less square section front cross member.
Also the front upright sections of the chassis ( where the front shocks are mounted ) is a closed 'box' on the spyder where on the lotus the shocks sit in an open 'channel' with small drainage slots at the bottom corner.
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PostPost by: englishmaninwales » Mon Feb 05, 2024 12:24 pm

Of course, you must remember it’s not a chassis, it’s a subframe :P :lol:
(And always a subframe if the DVLA are involved!)
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PostPost by: smo17003 » Mon Feb 05, 2024 4:14 pm

englishmaninwales wrote:Of course, you must remember it’s not a chassis, it’s a subframe :P :lol:
(And always a subframe if the DVLA are involved!)

Oh dear, the worms are out of their can again. :lol:
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PostPost by: mbell » Mon Feb 05, 2024 4:35 pm

I think there 4 main type of chassis:
1) Original stressed skin or new/replacement stressed skin made by gartrac
2) Replacement stressed skin galvanized, made by gartrac (?)
3) Spyder Space frame chassis
4) Spyder stressed skin chassis

1) and 2) are the same chassis just 2) was galvanized when new and 2 was only available for a period of time (~90's?).

3) and 4) are very different designs from Spyder. The space frame look more like what you'd imagine a chassis to look like and made up of various sizes/lengths of square section tube welded togother. It is generally seen as stronger than a stressed skin frame but I suspect a bit heavier.

4) is basically the same design as 1) and 2) but should be identifiable via using a cylinder shape for the vacuum chamber between the front uprights and inbuilt tow hook, rather than a sheet steel box design used in 1) and 2).
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PostPost by: alanr » Mon Feb 05, 2024 9:34 pm

You cannot now get a new galvanised chassis supplied from Gartrac.
None of the UK suppliers now recommend galvanising a Gartrac chassis if you buy one from them due to the risk of twisting/warping in the galvanising heat process.

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