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VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2021 2:06 pm
by Geve
Hi, I wonder if someone could help me> I bought a Lotus Elan Plus 2 1971 at Silverstone auctions in March. They said it had been imported from Sweden, but was an original UK car exported a few years before.

So far DVLA dont seem to have any information from it. I have a chassis number 50LR66, but i think this is a replacement chassis number.

It has a VIN plate which looks new but have been told by Lotus it is a made up VIN number ? 2101104820

Body number Body number = 2711

I have the engine number - M18050B

Trying to get car registered with DVLA but so far they will only register it with a Q plate !

Anyone know how i could identify the car ?

Any help greatly appreciated

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:00 am
by trw99
I attach an article I wrote a while back for Club Lotus News magazine on VINs, which should give you some background on what you need to be looking for.

Let us assume the Engine No you quote is correct. M indicates that it is a SE Stromberg carbureted twin cam for the Domestic (UK) market. This engine type was fitted to Lotus Elan +2S' from April 1968 to January 1971. The number, 18050, would indicate that the car was produced in around mid 1969.

From my article, you will see that the correct VIN for your car should read something like 50/1234, where the 50 designates it as a Type 50 Elan +2 with the four numbers being the Unit No, the key Elan identifier. The range for your Unit No will be between 1300 and 1500, I would estimate.

Unfortunately the LR number is the replacement chassis number and the Body No does not give us any more definite an idea about the Unit No, since bodies were made in batches.

I would ask Silverstone Auctions to put you in touch with the Swedish vendor, so that you can quiz him/her about paperwork and track down previous owners. You need to become a bit of a detective as you really do not want a Q plate, since it devalues the car in the eyes of many buyers in the UK. Any clue as to the original registration, the original dealer, or to whom the replacement chassis was provided by will be helpful. Andy Graham, the Lotus Archivist, may be able to help with the replacement chassis number ([email protected]" target="_blank).


PS Edit to add that I can find no record of a road Elan +2 at the March 2021 Silverstone Auction. I would be interested to see what they wrote about the car and why they describe it as a 1971 Elan Plus 2S.

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:50 am
by john.p.clegg
Does it not have a " Dynotape " number in the engine bulkhead near the offside bonnet catch?

John ;-)

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 9:22 am
by SimonH
The unit number is often the same as the dymo tape number. Mine is and the parts car I had was.
Engine number could be anything as they are easily swapped out especially with later cars big valve engines being stolen for escort conversions. Is yours supposed to be an S130 or just an S?
The id number for the car looks totally wrong. Should be year and month first then batch and unit number. At the moment it’s a bitsa as far as dvla goes hence q plate. There must be some evidence with someone of what it is. Whoever reimported it and filled in the paperwork maybe?

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 9:28 am
by TrevorJones
IMG_1502.JPG and
1968 +2 elan body Dyno Number

Photo of typical early +2 body identifying Dyno number. If you send a photo of yours to Andy Graham, the Lotus Archivist He can usually find out a bit about your car.

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 2:26 pm
by sprintsoft

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 3:16 pm
by HCA

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:45 pm
by gwiz22
I've had 2 Plus2s, the sequence part of the VIN number for both of them was written on the inside of the roof and inside the doors in magic marker pen. This will be four digits, e.g. 1234. Identify these and them stick 50/ in front of them and you will have the original VIN number, e.g. 50/1234. With that, Andy Graham should be able to advise, year of manufacture and the dealer it was sold to. Sadly you will not be able to identify the original Registration Number as the dealer would have determined that when it was sold to the first owner. If that dealer still exists, they may retained the records, but don't hold your breath.

In my experience it will be easier to take the door card off than the head lining.
Good luck wrestling with the DVLA. Never tell them it has a replacement chassis and you will be stuck with a Q plate. Graham Arnold, the late president of Club Lotus mentioned in Club Lotus News some years back that he had managed to get DVLA to consider the "chassis" as a subframe and therefore as long as you have enough documentation that the vehicle is more or less how it came out of the factory, they will give you an age related registration.
All the best

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2021 8:37 am
by trw99
Having thought some more about your car, I am wondering if it might be one of the 710000 VIN Plus 2s. For an explanation, see my article on these Lotus anomalies below.

This might explain the Stromberg hump on the bonnet and Plus 2S side badges, but they could be later additions or used up by the factory.

If it is a 710000 car, then it would have originally had a later Big Valve P type engine fitted. Looking at the erroneous 2101104820 VIN it could be deciphered thus: the 21 should be 71, the 01 and 10 for month and batch would have been 00 and 00, someone has guessed there, then 4820 could actually be 0482L, which would put it in the 710000 Unit No range.

This is all pure speculation pending any additional evidence you may come up with.


Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2021 4:06 pm
by Geve
Thanks guys for your thoughts.
So, i have been looking around the car, i checked under the headlining, but nothing !
Took drivers door card off and found 2024, then took the passengers side off and another different number !
So both doors and body all with different numbers.
I then checked the gearbox tunnel, nothing on the fiberglass but underside of the cover has 50B920 ?

The body number of 2711 is what somebody suggested is the dyno number found it under bonnet near the drivers side bonnet catch.

Would this be the VIN number ? I would have thought the body is original, can understand the doors being changed over time.

Still stuck, I have called Andy Graham, but he says he cannot identify the car from the body number 2711

Any other ideas ?

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:35 am
by rgh0
The unit numbers ( i.e. now called Vin number) were assigned during assembly. The moulded in dymo tape body number was given during body manufacture which may have occured many months before and they did not line up and Lotus did not record what body number went with the assigned Unit / Vin number. Once a Unit number was assigned this would be written in various places on the major components such as doors , under roof etc so that they were kept together through the assembly process.

The back of the glove box is another place where the Unit / Vin number is often found as I presume this was used to track the dashboard assembly to the matching car


Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2021 10:46 am
by 661
There are a few Poirots on here.
I suggest you post the 'other number' on the other door, a photo of the '50B920 ?' ( to see if there's an alternative interpretation) and check the back of the glove box (light and mirror).

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2021 12:53 pm
by steveh
Geve wrote:
The body number of 2711 is what somebody suggested is the dyno number found it under bonnet near the drivers side bonnet catch.

Could this be a dyno tape error that should be 1711 [ 69 ]? the vin numbers stopped and changed format at 2522 -

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:44 pm
by Geve
Chassis number.jpg and
VIN plate.jpg and
Ok, thanks for everyones help so far.
Yes the link Trevor Posted earlier is the car, and yes it has an MOT linked to the VIN number which is fake.
Seems the car was a UK car, then shipped to Sweden, then came back again around 2018. Have not found out when or why it went to Sweden. Car was sold in September last year at Auction ... 50979&sd=1
I think the purchaser at this auction realised he could not register the car so put it back to auction - sneeky i think.

So, all the numbers I have -
Drivers door 2024
Passenger door 1360B
Dyno 2711
Behind glove box 50B920
Chassis 50LR66
Engine M18050B
Took a photo of chassis number as well, have a plate with 50LR66 and also next to it punched into the chassis which looks like 550LR6S ??

Starting to think this is a car made up of parts ?

Re: VIN and DVLA help

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:50 pm
by Geve
Glove box.jpg and
Glove box
Oh, have just added photo of number behind glove box