Lotus Elan

DVLA Questioning Provenance

PostPost by: Matt Elan » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:05 pm

Just picked up this from the Jag E-type forum and the weekly UK classic car papers:

DVLA is questioning the provenance of (at the moment) some Bugatti's registered in the UK. THey have sent out the following letter, and have been in discussions with the owners club (Bugatti) and the Federation of historic vehicle clubs...

Dear [name]

Vehicle registration [XXX XXX]

I am writing to you as our records show you are the keeper of a[sic] 'Historic' vehicle. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency have been made aware that the recorded date of manufacture for a number of vehicles may not be accurate. Initial investigations have confirmed that some historic vehicles have been built using replica/replacement parts or a mixture of period and new components and have therefore been incorrectly registered. A period manufacture date has been recorded in error and the registration number allocated based on this date.

I hope you will appreciate that DVLA has a legal responsibility in ensuring that our records are accurate. This letter aims to provide you with advice and guidance on how DVLA will look to resolve this matter. DVLA require information about the provenance, construction and origin of your vehicle. You should provide as much information about your vehicle as you can. This could include:

Copies of receipts
Old documents such as log books
Copies of historical race sheets or reports
Recent / historical photographs
Copies of old sale advertisements
Extracts from books

We also require information on the age and origin of major components your vehicle comprises of, such as chassis, engine, axles, and steering assembly. You should also advise if the vehicle has been rebuilt, restored or entirely constructed in the last 25 years. The relevant owners club may be able to assist. The information should be send to:

Vehicle Registration Policy.
Strategy, Policy and Communications Directorate
D16
[DVLA address]

Using this information, together with the documentation that was provided at first registration, we will assess whether a historical classification is appropriate for your vehicle and if the date of manufacture is correct. If the vehicle has been recently built using a new or replica chassis, it is likely the DVLA records will be incorrect. You should be aware that we may contact the relevant owners club to help with our investigations.

Once investigations are complete, we will write to you again explaining our conclusions. If any amendments are needed to the information DVLA holds on the vehicle record, these will be made and a new vehicle registration certificate issued. This could involve the issue of a different registration number. In addition, in some cases individual vehicle approval may be required and/or a Q registration number may be appropriate.

Please be aware that while these investigations are ongoing, applications to notify a change of vehicle keeper will not be processed.

Yours etc.


Now I know that the Elan chassis is a 'subframe' in the DVLA eyes, but it would be worth us keeping an eye on this; but does anyone want to raise the issue with DVLA? I certainly don't, and I don't know if Club Lotus is doing anything about it.

Matt
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PostPost by: RogerFrench » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:32 pm

Since new Bugattis are being manufactured today, and are pretty much indistinguishable from the originals, I understand some may have been registered as vintage cars, with suitable registration.

New cars must, of course, pass all sorts of tests that these Bugattis would fail. The same would be true of anyone constructing a car and pretending it's an old one. The DVLA have to be careful, but they have also issued guidelines which indicate that they are also reasonable if a genuine old car needs replacement parts.
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PostPost by: adigra » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:59 pm

Bugattis and to some extent Bentleys, and especially the GP cars, are a minefield when it comes to originality/provenance, as many cars have been entirely re-constructed around a single, long scrapped component (such as the front axle), but have been accepted as genuine, despite any evidence of continuous history. I am not surprised at all that DVLA have started to question this, I am that it has taken them this long.

Similar thing will start happening with all of the Cobras, etc., which have been built or cloned around scrapped components in some cases using nothing more than the identity.

It's a separate matter to the "continuous history" basis, which allows for parts to be replaced as needed, such as a rotten subframe. But if you have an Elan "resurrected" around a long scrapped chassis (or another component), with an identity of a long lost car, or indeed with nothing original but the identity, with all new parts, then you could be concerned with the similar issues as with some of the Bugattis.

That's at least how I understand it based on conversations with my father-in-law who has restored two 50's racing cars in the last two years and has gone through the whole process with the DVLA both times (as recently as last month).
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:01 pm

Matt do you know how long ago this letter was being issued? I may be wrong but I thought DVLA didn't issue Q plates anymore and that letter refers to them. I'm wondering whether this might be a rehashed story from sometime back.

If not there'll be a big can of worms opened for Elans and Alan Morgan needs to get involved with advice on how to proceed should any of us receive such a letter.
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PostPost by: Chancer » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:19 pm

Every cloud has a silver lining though!

A very brief edit of my story, I recommissioned a 1987 Caterham 7 that had never been registered and converted it to motorcycle engine propulsion, this was in the early 2000's, I didnt want to SVA it and had a long battle with the DVLA which I eventually won after being jerked around for ages, the age of the vehicle meant it was outside of the scope of the then SVA r?gulations.

The last letter they wrote me said that the vehicle would be issued with an age relatedregistration, I think a Q plate back then, they cocked it up though and gave it a new registration :lol: and I quickly transferred my personal reg plate to it before they realised their error.

I had a problem at MOT time as they had not filled out any of the emissions fields but the tester is a mate and its been sorned for the last decade anyway.

I now want the DVLA to admit they made a mistake and to give me a correct V5 with a 1987 date of manufacture so that I can register it in France on the historic vehicle exemption in 2 years time so this Bugatti case is of great interest.
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:24 pm

I posted the same question on the Spyder Facebook page......no response so far.

https://www.facebook.com/spydercars.whittlesey?fref=ts

You would have thought they would be interested in such things????
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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:31 pm

Elan fan - it was reported in the classic papers last wee
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:36 pm

Matt Elan wrote:Elan fan - it was reported in the classic papers last wee


Are you taking the....

But seriously that would seem of concern. DVLA probably have much bigger and more expensive fish to fry for the moment at least?

Steve
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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:16 pm

Week....... must learn to use the preview function.....
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PostPost by: elansprint » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:47 am

Q plates are still issued to component built cars where secondhand parts are used and not enough parts are used from one donor vehicle to get an age related plate
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PostPost by: SimonH » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:16 pm

I think this is intended to catch replica cars that are actually new but have been falsely registered as an old car with 'historic' tax (and probably MOT exempt) status.

There is a class for registering a collection of genuine parts over 25 years old as if it was assembled then. These Bugattis have never been that old or have any old parts fitted. They are churned out in Argentina I think.

I doubt a genuine rebuild of an Elan with a replacement for a rotted out subframe will be an issue as it will have an original spec Lotus engine, gearbox, diff etc etc. All of which may or may not be as old as the car as they can all wear out.

If the car already has a plate don't tell them anything.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:50 pm

Here are a couple of interesting sites to visit on this subject:

http://www.pistonheads.com/Gassing/topi ... cars&mid=0

http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/new ... crackdown/

In summary, those of us for whom originality is important ... well, we were right all along!

Now, shall I post something on the "Spyder +2 zetec owners on elan.net?" thread?

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PostPost by: jimj » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:14 pm

The positive side to all this would be if (that`s "IF" as in never), I owned a real D type or an AC Cobra, I would be spared people asking the obvious; "is it a real one?" It must be infuriating.
There`s no shame in having a kit car with a "Q" plate and if I had a Pursang toolroom replica Bugatti or, say, a Chesil, for example, I`d rather the badge and plate made it clear what it was. There`s no shame in owning what you want and can afford.
If it weeds out the pretentious, in the real sense of the word, surely that`s a good thing, never mind actual fraud.
The negative side would be where a real historic vehicle with continuous history where various significant components were replaced with original spec. items over time was penalised, that wouldn`t be fair. There again, the grey area, the huge majority of Le Mans bodied Bentley`s today wore a different body for most of their lives but then, originally, Bentley usually supplied the chassis ready for a proprietary coachbuilder anyway. It`s tricky, but not dissimilar to a DHC Elan converted from a FHC. The chassis number gives it away.

Regarding Tim`s tongue in cheek Spyder reference, it`s actually very logical, if you`re proud of your Spyder, why not wear a Spyder badge rather than Lotus, and a registration reflecting when it was built?
Jim
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:11 pm

Jim Tim or Tim Jim,

I'm not stirring but I reckon you should post on the Spyder thread. It is probably the area where most comment would get made and will doubtless garner some interesting debate. Perhaps it would also point us all in the right direction should we ever get such a letter.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:47 pm

I don't think that it's a worry for most Elan owners, standard or Spyder. But a 26R that has suddenly appeared from nowhere may have to be properly authenticated, with evidence of the 'before' and 'during' restoration!

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