Lotus Elan

Chassis Number query?

PostPost by: Rolexroz » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:12 pm

Firstly apologies if this has been covered a million times in the past, but I have looked and cannot find an answer to my predicament!

I have a 1968 + 2 which is a great car and has a fantastic history, as far as I am concerned. I bought it from someone I trust implicitly who knows more than most about cars and has a huge fleet of cars at his disposal, so he had nothing to gain by selling me a duffer.

My question is regarding the identification of the car.

According to the V5 it is an Elan + 2 with an engine number which relates to the original Lotus Twincam, But a vehicle number which is a LR 1XXX number. This is fine except the chassis plate on the nearside inner wing assures me that it is really a vehicle number 50/04XX

So please be gentle with me............Have I bought a ringer? Has a previous owner replaced the chassis with a Lotus Chassis and been too honest and told the DVLA, who have issued a new V5 with the new LR 1XXX description. Or is there a far simpler explanation?

Once more I apologise if I have got this all wrong.

Many thanks, I hope, Rod
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PostPost by: AHM » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:59 pm

Rolexroz wrote:Has a previous owner replaced the chassis with a Lotus Chassis and been too honest and told the DVLA, who have issued a new V5 with the new LR 1XXX description. Or is there a far simpler explanation?

It looks like a previous owner has incorrectly informed the DVLA of a change of Chassis. The Elan "Chassis" is technically a replaceable sub-frame and is not used to identify the vehicle with the DVLA - The Unit number on the plate in the engine bay is.

Now that the DVLA local offices are closed it is a long phone queue to Swansea and pot luck if you get someone who knows what they are doing. I suggest that you call Alan Morgan at Club Lotus who knows exactly what to do! And is the recognised person for the DVLA. I would usually make several other suggestions, but in this instance you would be better starting with Alan rather than using him as a last resort.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:40 pm

LR stands for Lotus Replacement chassis. These were officially provided by Lotus Cars Ltd and each had a unique serial number, which had nothing to do with the VIN of the car it became attached to.

The correct VIN for your car will be the 50/04## and that us what needs to be registered with DVLA. It should not be too much of a problem as you can prove continuous ownership of the car since way back and it still has it's original registration number. The engine number should be in the LP10### - 11### series range on a car with that VIN. The registration date would be late Q1 to early Q2 1968. Hopefully that all ties in with your car.

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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:27 am

You really don't have an issue Rod. When I replaced the chassis of my S3 in 1978 it was normal practice to inform the DVLA of the change. The Lotus dealer from whom I bought the chassis issued a single page instruction on what to do after the chassis had been changed with regards informing the DVLA. The car had to be inspected by the police in those days, along with the documentation showing that I'd bought the new chassis, and owned the car in the first place.

So my car also has an LR chassis number on the V5, and the original chassis number on the chassis plate. I still have the original card logbook showing the original chassis number and the receipt for the chassis (?200 I think!).

Just a different way of doing things, which became way too confusing for the increasingly procedure bound DVLA folks, hence we now call the chassis a subframe and nobody worries!

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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:26 am


there is little wrong with your situation with the car and should have little effect on the provenance or value - but me being me I'd want the V5 to match the original state of affairs.

Whilst i am certain Alan Morgan at Club Lotus will be helpful I think a provenance certificate from 'Lotus Archives' (member on here) would probably be more helpful. If you could get a covering letter at the same time regarding the 'historical misuse of the replacement 'subframe' number that ought to seal it. Send it off the DVLA and Robert is your mother's brother!

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PostPost by: Rolexroz » Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:08 pm

Good afternoon and what a wonderful one it is!

I cannot thank you all enough for the information. I was never in much doubt about the authenticity of the car as I have known the previous owner since the 80's, and he was a fanatic, but it was a little disconcerting when someone pointed out the differences between the car and the V5.

I also felt that I would be given an online kicking for asking such a ridiculous question so thanks for letting me off so gently.

What a great site.

As soon as I work out how to do so I will attempt to post a photo of 50/0442

P.S. SUBFRAME? It is the biggest one I have ever seen......
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