Lotus Elan

Rare & Unusual Engine Prefix & Numbers

PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:59 pm

I have been reviewing the Plus 2 listings and come across three cars fitted with engine numbers that have me foxed. The car details and engine numbers are:

Build date 11 Nov 69 Plus 2 unit 1990 fitted with engine no. RLK1236
Build date 12 Nov 69 Plus 2 unit 2059 fitted with engine no. RLK1237
Build date 13 Nov 69 Plus 2 unit 1959 fitted with engine no. RLK1239

The prefix RLK is a new one for me. There is no mention of it that I can find in Miles Wilkins' book. The engine numbers themselves are way off what was being fitted at the time, being mostly 20### series numbers.

My speculation is that RLK may denote some type of development engine. It would be a reasonable assumption to make that the L stands for Lotus. The numbers may indicate a short run, since they all start with what again I might assume to be a meaningless 123 sequence.

The records are not complete during this period so there may be several other cars that were also fitted with these engines. We should also bear in mind that cars were not completed sequentially by unit number, so it was not unusual for there to be substantial date differences between units, particularly in 1969 and 1970.

So dear listers, what does RLK stand for? What was unusual about these engines? Anyone know?

Tim
Last edited by trw99 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:57 pm

I just received my provenance letters on my two Lotus and on my plus 2 it referred to the engine range and the correct stampings on the head and the correct prefix, all of this coming from Andy Graham in the archives so if they are your cars you could certainly get a provenance letter from him. Gordon Sauer
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:16 pm

Thank you Gordon. I work with Andy at Lotus in an attempt to rebuild the records, especially of Sprints, that were lost in the flood at Hethel in the late 1970s. I have therefore become an anorak to Lotus VIN, engine and registration numbers.

I posted the above message as these 3 cars are the only ones I am aware of that were fitted with RLK prefix engines throughout Elan and Plus 2 production. I am well versed in all the engine prefixes so am perplexed about these.

Tim
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PostPost by: ken ob » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:56 pm

RLK .......... could it be Rather Large Kahoonas ?

hope this helps, Ken

( perhaps more likely to be Rather Large Knocking ) !!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:23 pm

Surely it would be 'Really', not 'Rather'. After all, we are talking about engineering terminology here!

Tim
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:13 pm

Well you're way ahead of the game then and I certainly don't recognize those letters and the only other person who seemed to chime in a lot on Lotus numbers and flash a bunch of pictures of various Lotus engines with various numbers was Gary Anderson so I suppose you might try to get him but maybe you've already done that too, thanks for continuing to try and uncover all this, Gordon Sauer
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PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:21 pm

Could it be Reworked Lotus Kit or similar? I know BMC used to supply reworked engines to OEM (Original Equipment Maker) specialists and they had non-standard numbers. It seems an odd place in the production run unless they had a hiatus.
Meg

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PostPost by: LotusArchives » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:02 pm

Tim,

The RLK numbers are not engine numbers, but invoice numbers. I cannot remember off hand as I am at home, but I think the RLK invoice numbers are the Racing invoice numbers for the seperate power train.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:51 am

So they are! I've just looked again at my records and the invoice prefixes marry up. Mystery solved. Thank you Andy.

Tim
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