Lotus Elan

Lotus Archivist - Update

PostPost by: bilcoh » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:39 pm

Hi all:

Thought I'd post an update as I've been in touch with Andy Graham at Lotus Cars. Short story is that I'm working to get my car back on the road after 24 years, and don't have a lick of paperwork for it. It was last registered in Calif., but calls to the DMV have not turned up any records based on license plate or VIN, though I've put in a request for a micro-fiche search.

I've sent Andy photos of my ID plate, plus stamps on the frame and engine. Luckily, all the numbers match, and while I hope for a file folder of documentation about the manufacture and sale of my car :lol:, I'll hope for a letter confirming that 26/4378 is, indeed, the true and correct VIN. I anticipate a Washington state bureaucrat choking on their coffee when I present such an abbreviated VIN, hence the extra legwork.

Here's where I need help.....Andy is a bit confused about how a RHD car would end up being sold new in Southern California. Perhaps I've got the legend wrong, but that's how I currently understand it. Is there any database in the UK to search that might show if the car started it's road career on that side of the pond before being brought to the US? I have no information about a UK license number, so it would have to be a VIN search.

Thanks for any help or suggestions.

Dave
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:45 pm

Dave

I can probably do no more than confirm what you already have from Andy. Your car 26/4378, with engine number LP2804, has a build/invoice date of 25th January 1965.

I know of 2-3 Sprints that were delivered to the US in RHD. In two of those cases it was a US serviceman who had bought the car whilst stationed in the UK. Perhaps this would account for your cars California sale. You indicate it was sold new in SoCal and I wonder how you know that? Could it have been imported from the UK by a serviceman after he had taken delivery of it from Lotus? Alternatively, it might have been what we used to call a diplomatic/military sale, where a UK citizen posted abroad could order a RHD car, tax free, use it for a couple of years and then import it into the UK.

Tim
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PostPost by: bilcoh » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:45 pm

Tim:

Thanks for the quick response on the build/invoice date. That's really early for a 1966, eh? Perhaps I should be calling it a 1965.

Two items in response to your post:

1. Does your information about the build/invoice give any indication as to the location of the original sale, or to whom? I don't have any factual information regarding an original sale through a Southern California dealer. In truth, this is just what I thought was the case, but I'd change my opinion given any evidence to the contrary. I think your "US Serviceman" theory could very easily be the case.

2. My engine number is actually LP2894LBA, rather than the LP2804 you referenced. I just confirmed it this morning, so wondering if your number was a typo when you posted, or if it's actually listed as 2804 in your records.

Thanks again for the clarification and information.

Dave
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:31 pm

Dave

The engine number is listed as 2804 in my records, but that may well be a typo of the 0/9. Neither can I find an engine number 2894 on my list, which I shall therefore amend to reflect your true reading - from the engine in the car, I assume?

I am afraid my records have no details of to whom the car was first sold.

Tim
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PostPost by: bilcoh » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:48 pm

Tim:

Below is an image of my block with the number visible. Probably more visible in person, but hopefully this is suitable for confirmation. The chassis plate that mounts in the engine compartment has the same number etched with a hand scribbler, but it's really tough to get that to show in a photo. It does, however, match the number stamped on the twink. So, I think I've got a complete set.

BTW, *I WISH* the engine was in the car :( . But soon! Notice the shiny grey enamel on it.

Engine Small.JPG and


One more question if you'll indulge me....I noticed on your Elan Sprint site's page about Production Data, you show samples of Works Order Sheets and entries from the Sales Book. Do you have that information only for the Sprints? I presume you would have offered up any of that information if you had it, but thought I'd leave no stone unturned, just in case. Where did you happen to land upon all that info, anyway?

Thanks again for the help,

Dave
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PostPost by: bilcoh » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:08 pm

Final update on this. Andy Graham (most helpful and responsive) was able to confirm that my Elan S2 (26/4378) was left Lotus on 25th Jan. 1965 as a fully assembled card, sold to Ecurie Shirlee Corp. of Manhattan Beach, CA. So, I'd had that part of the story correct. No other documentation was available, though he confirmed the engine number on record as LP 2894LBA.

I now possess a fancy, signed letter on Lotus Cars Ltd. letterhead, and hope this will suffice to impress my local bureaucrats when it comes time to register the car.

Cheers and a good weekend of motoring to all,

Dave
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