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How Do I Find My Old (UK) Car?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:00 pm
by trw99
I’ve noticed an increasing number of requests or enquiries from former owners for news of their old car. It struck me that it would make sense to keep some form of record of these, in case the current owner comes across the post and wishes to get in contact.

However, in the first instance it is probably worth setting out some of the avenues to explore to get information about an old car, so I do so below in a spirit of helpfulness!

In the first instance, you clearly need to have some individual marker that differentiates your old car from all others. Of course, the one most of us can remember is the registration number. If you also have some additional information, such as an old registration or insurance document, garage invoice or even the VIN, that is going to be even more helpful. The other thing worth noting is the approximate dates you owned the car. Armed with this information, you can get cracking.

The first place to visit is the DVLA. Go to ‘Check MOT History at

Enter the registration number. The answer will tell you if the car has a current MOT and the date of first registration, as well as what colour it was when last tested. Past test results are also there, giving mileometer readings and an indication of what state the car was in when tested. Even though our cars do not need an MOT, this information may well help later.

Next, staying with the DVLA, go to ‘Check if a vehicle is taxed and has an MOT’ at ... 1566982547

Again, enter the registration number. It asks if the make and colour are what you expect. If so carry on to the next page, which will indicate whether or not the car is taxed and has a MOT, as well as some other data. Go to the bottom of that data list and see when the last V5 form was issued. This is usually when the car last changed hands, though it could be that the owner notified a change of address.

If the vehicle is SORN, that could indicate that it is sitting in a barn somewhere, in a garage being restored or possibly even sold abroad. Sometimes a lack of data may just indicate that the car records were not uploaded by DVLA when they computerised the system, in which case the car may still be with the same owner from pre 1980s. Or the car has been written off!

Next port of call is to identify from the registration mark where the car was first registered when it was new. Take the last two letters of the first three digits and go to ... ed_Kingdom

You can then pin down the area the car was first bought and registered. This might give you an idea of which Lotus dealer sold the new car. For example, RY was the Leicestershire registration office. We know the only dealer in the county for a long while was Roger Clark’s Clarks Garage. If the dealership still exists, its possible they may have old records that can give you the name of the first owner to whom they sold the car, as well as other pertinent information. For a list of UK Lotus dealers, see my attachment below.

As a next step, it may be worth asking the DVLA for Form V888, available here

This form is a request for information about the current owner. Do not expect much, if any action, though. Depending on the individual who answers your enquiry you may get quite a helpful response or none at all. It can sometimes work if you enclose a self addressed envelope and ask DVLA to forward your request to the current owner. Good luck!

But we are not yet giving up as there are additional resources to pursue. The next one is to go to

Fill out the form with what data you have and see if the owner has uploaded their details onto the site. You might get lucky!

After that step, our next port of call is Club Lotus. It can be worth asking if they have any record of owners for your old car. Maybe the current owner is a member.

It is also worth checking out the Lotus Elan Registry, since the owner may have notified them of the car. It is an easy site to use and can be found here

Two further avenues. Social media has come alive with Lotus and Elan content. Facebook is probably the best bet for our purposes and the most active Elan group is ‘Classic Lotus Elan and Plus 2 Owners’. Do a search, find the group and post your query. It currently has over 3,500 members. You can also do a search on the registration number, just to see if someone with open security settings has posted about the car.

Finally, if you sold the car to a dealer and they are still in existence, contact them to ask if they have records of to whom they sold the car on to.

Lastly, if you seek help on this site and get lucky, finding the owner and become re-united with your old car, do let us know. We’re suckers for that sort of thing!


Re: How Do I Find My Old (UK) Car?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2022 5:06 pm
by mbell
Thanks Tim, this is really helpful.

Do you have a list of period lotus dealers it link to a thread? Think that works be a useful resource to add it link to here.

Re: How Do I Find My Old (UK) Car?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2022 5:42 pm
by trw99
Yes, I do and have now added the dealer list.



Re: How Do I Find My Old (UK) Car?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 7:15 pm
by Fourducs
Along these lines I am trying to establish the chain of ownership for my 1969 Elan +2, #2305. I have the certificate of provenance stating the car was sold to Lotus Canada on December 2, 1969. I have a bill of sale stating Lorin Allred bought the car from Robert Lumgair on July 24, 1975. Possibly Lumgair was the original purchaser, but I have not been able to confirm that. I have been in contact with Allred and all subsequent owners, but have not been able to contact Lumgair. My understanding is Lotus Canada no longer exists and their records were transferred to Lotus Cars USA. Lotus Cars USA tells me that all their records prior to the late 70s were thrown away when they moved locations. Other than searching Google are there any suggestions about how I can locate Lumgair or the car's early ownership history? Presumedly there is a Canadian version of the www.drivearchive which may have early 1970's records of registration?-Craig in the USA

Re: How Do I Find My Old (UK) Car?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2022 9:42 pm
by mwhitaker
Thankyou Tim for your list of period dealers- I enjoyed going through it. I wonder if you have any info/listing on Wright & Wright Motors of Tring? My father purchased his new 71 FHC Elan there in August 1971-my understanding is they were the primary agents for export US military sales in the UK at the time as my dad was a USAF pilot. Any info greatly appreciated.

Cheers. Mark
69 Elan DHC

Re: How Do I Find My Old (UK) Car?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 9:53 am
by trw99
Hi Mark.

Wright & Wright actually traded under the name of Anglo-American Automobiles. I attach an advert of theirs. At one time they also used the trading name of Anglo Continental Cars.

The address on the advert has now been built over for residential housing. Wright & Wright were originally wheel wrights in the 19th century, becoming coachbuilders with the advent of the car in the 20th century. I am not too sure what happened to them between the 1930s and 1960s, but quite a number of Elans have their name against the dealer in sales lists. Apparently they would lurk outside USAF bases here in the UK, ready to pounce on likely serviceman keen to buy an English sports car.


Re: How Do I Find My Old (UK) Car?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2022 9:29 pm
by mwhitaker
Tim-thanks so much for the followup story on Wright & Wright-guess I should have figured out they were called Anglo-American! You are most likely correct re the lurking outside USAF bases-I know my dad had 3-4 friends, all fighter pilots, with period Elans including one in French Blue just like my current car! In fact, if I recall, he was initially going to buy a Porsche 914-4 , but just 1-2 ride/drive experiences changed his mind for the better. Thank goodness, couldn't imagine being tied up with a Porker now! Thank you for all the info-aid you provide to us-it adds significantly to all of our enjoyment of these fab little cars. I love your recent acquisition by the way-congrats- and look forward to hearing more about it.

Cheers, Mark

69 ElanS4 DHC

Re: How Do I Find My Old (UK) Car?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2022 7:17 am
by trw99
My pleasure, Mark and thank you.