Lotus Elan

New car day - picked up my S4 yesterday

PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:40 pm

As Rohan has suggested, look on the back of the glove box for the unit number, if your glove box is original.

Your car is an S4, like mine, and my glove box has the unit number hand scrawled in marking pen (?) on the back.

Now, that I think of it your car probably won’t have the original glovebox since it was converted from LHD to RHD.
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PostPost by: tjb0274 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:22 pm

1owner69Elan wrote:Now, that I think of it your car probably won’t have the original glovebox since it was converted from LHD to RHD.


Good point. Might be instructive to look anyway - would be interesting to see whether the bits for the conversion came from a wrecked car.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:34 am

The dotted number looks to me like a PO has etched that on themselves, using a punch or drill head. I've never seen a Lotus number put on like that; too time consuming on a production line.

The LR replacement chassis are marked 'LR####' on the exhaust side. The original factory frames are marked on the intake side. When they are marked! By around mid 1968 things were getting more settled at the then new Hethel and certainly by late 1969 paperwork and recording information was much improved over previous years, not the least because Lotus was by then a listed public company and thus obliged to be less cavalier with their data.

Unit No 8651 was indeed invoiced by the factory early in 1969 and fitted with a Stromberg carb'd engine. Clearly more detective work is needed to define this car. As Rohan suggested, take the door cards off and have a look at the back of the doors to see if the crayoned number is there. Worth also looking on the inside of the headlight buckets too.

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PostPost by: tjb0274 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:27 pm

trw99 wrote:The dotted number looks to me like a PO has etched that on themselves, using a punch or drill head. I've never seen a Lotus number put on like that; too time consuming on a production line.

Tim


Cool - that's what I thought.

The LR replacement chassis are marked 'LR####' on the exhaust side. The original factory frames are marked on the intake side.


Ah - that straightens out the L/R confusion :-)

Unit No 8651 was indeed invoiced by the factory early in 1969 and fitted with a Stromberg carb'd engine. Clearly more detective work is needed to define this car. As Rohan suggested, take the door cards off and have a look at the back of the doors to see if the crayoned number is there. Worth also looking on the inside of the headlight buckets too.


I'll see what I can do. I've been searching for info on removing the door trims - does anyone have a link to some pics or instructions? Kind of surprised - all that info is easily available for the Europa, but seems to be missing or at least non-obvious for the Elan.

The serial number of the engine seems to be LP12144LB - dunno whether that's useful info or not. The current head is not a Stromberg.

Hope you had a good holiday, Tim :-)
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:17 am

Generally the door cards fall off by themselves so no need for removal instructions :lol:

Remove the screws securing the internal door release. Then use a flat blade to lever the steel clips on the cards from the plastic plugs in the doors doors where it is fixed around the door sides and bottom. it can then be slid out from under the top window frame.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:35 am

Engine No 12144 was fitted to an Elan, but an earlier Unit No that was invoiced in Jun 68.

You may wish to let Andy have that info, to see what he has against it in the records with regard to first owner/importer.

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PostPost by: tjb0274 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:53 am

trw99 wrote:Engine No 12144 was fitted to an Elan, but an earlier Unit No that was invoiced in Jun 68.

You may wish to let Andy have that info, to see what he has against it in the records with regard to first owner/importer.

Tim


Thanks for that info, Tim - much appreciated. I'm not surprised - the fact that it has a Big Valve Weber head made me suspect it wouldn't be the original, although I had thought it might be later rather than earlier! I know that engine has been in the car for the last few years at least, because it's listed on the registration records, but other than that I've no idea when it might have been fitted.

Andy's away this week, so I was going to hold off emailing him again until I'd had another go at finding a body number, rather than filling his inbox with multiple messages :-) I also wanted to get a photo of the engine number, which I wasn't able to manage last weekend.

This is turning out to be an interesting exercise :-) I missed out going through this process with my Europa, as the PO had already got the certificate from Lotus - plus the chassis plate was all present and correct, so no real investigation required.

I would appreciate some tips on removing the door trim, if anyone can help with that.

Also, someone suggested the back of the headlight pods as another location for the body number. Does that require removing the pod, or should the number be visible to a camera held inside the front of the engine bay? I've got a cheap USB inspection camera with LEDs somewhere, if I can remember where I put it.
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:03 pm

To remove door cards, get yourself a door trim remover like this one:

https://alexnld.com/wp-content/uploads/ ... ba0443.jpg

You slide it in between the door card and door, around the clip, then squeeze the handle. It opens up and the clip pops out without damaging the door card if you have placed it correctly. Repeat until all clips are loose, then the door card should come away (assuming you already removed any handles or lock / opener mechanism from the inside of the door first).

You can buy these for a few quid on "a certain online auction site". The best reason to make this modest investment (apart from the way it makes the job so much easier) is that it protects the door card which after 40+ years is probably as soft as cheese round the clips. To protect the door itself, I put some insulation tape around the tips of the tool.
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PostPost by: tjb0274 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:23 pm

JonB wrote:To remove door cards, get yourself a door trim remover like this one:
<snip>


Thanks Jon :-)

Does the interior lock mechanism need to be removed? The car is an S4 and I think it looked similar to the mechanism on my Europa, which from memory I didn't need to remove in order to get the door card off.
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:01 pm

Sorry, I don't know as my car's a Plus 2. In the +2 you have to remove the handle (bug fat door closing thing that doubles up as an elbow rest) and the opener / lock handle thing (though you can loosen it and pass it through the card sideways if you want. The cards have a rail that hooks over the window sill, under the vinyl, so you have to lift the card up to unhook it.

Of course, yours is not like this!

Edit, if the openers look like these they need to come out or be passed through the card as I just described:
lotus-parts-f33/interior-door-openers-handles-things-sprint-t39262.html
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PostPost by: tjb0274 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:57 pm

JonB wrote:<snip>
(though you can loosen it and pass it through the card sideways if you want. The cards have a rail that hooks over the window sill, under the vinyl, so you have to lift the card up to unhook it.

Edit, if the openers look like these they need to come out or be passed through the card as I just described:
lotus-parts-f33/interior-door-openers-handles-things-sprint-t39262.html


Thanks Jon - that's useful info. I hadn't been able to find a pic of the doorlocks out of the car. Now I can visualise how they relate to the cards :-)
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PostPost by: tjb0274 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:29 am

Quick update - spent some time with the car today, and managed to find what is hopefully a body number under the trim on the driver's door. I'm not sure what the etiquette is on posting body number pics publicly, but I'll be sending it off to Andy Graham to see if matches with the unit number on the compliance plate.

As far as I can see there are no stamped numbers on the top chassis rails, and the backs of the headlight pods appear to have been painted over when the car was resprayed.

I also figured out how the hardtop attaches, which had been puzzling me for a while, and confirmed that the soft top is in good condition and works properly. So, a good day :-)
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PostPost by: tjb0274 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:54 am

Thought I'd provide an update on what has turned out to be quite an eventful investigation into the identity of my S4...

As mentioned at the top of the thread, the car is titled in Australia as 45/8651, and although it has evidently been in Australia for some time, I was told by the PO that it was originally a French delivery car, and it does have a French compliance plate from the original French Lotus distributor, with the unit number imprinted upon it.

What it doesn't have, unfortunately, is the factory chassis plate, so I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to dig up evidence to confirm or contradict its identity.

I have to say a big "thank you" to Andy Graham at Lotus, who has been very prompt and patient in checking numbers and suggesting new places to look for further info.

The summary is that the identity of the body shell is not confirmed, but that the chassis and the engine are both from French delivery cars. The chassis is from 36/6467, a 1966 FHC, and the engine block is from a 1968 DHC.

It appears then that my car is an amalgam of at least three French delivery cars.

I did find a body number on the driver's door, which Andy confirms to be from a DHC of about the right age, but there seems to be no body number on the firewall of the car. I've sanded the paint back in the right area, and Andy confirms that the body number should be in the exposed section. I don't know whether that means it was never there, or has been removed, or whether the firewall has been repaired/replaced at some stage.

Andy suggested that possibly the whole front section of the shell might have been replaced, which could fit with the replacement chassis.

I gather that it's possible that the body number might appear on the transmission tunnel, but at the moment I'm not inclined to take the interior to pieces to find out. It's something I might look at in future, though, especially if I ever repaint the car.

My next steps are going to be to see if anyone in the various Australian Lotus clubs knows anything about the car - I've discovered that it was once registered in NSW, as well as the SA reg I knew about when I bought it - and also to see if the French club can help.

I've been in touch with someone named Damien in France, but it's slow going as I don't speak French and have to get a colleague to translate for me. If there are any French-based forumites who might be able to help out, I'd be grateful!

Enhanced image below of the chassis number, which I found on the right side chassis rail after taking the carbs off, and also a picture of the sanded area of the firewall, sadly with no body number.

elan-firewall-sanded.jpg and

elan-chassis-number.jpg and
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:58 pm

tjb0274 wrote:I've been in touch with someone named Damien in France, but it's slow going as I don't speak French and have to get a colleague to translate for me. If there are any French-based forumites who might be able to help out, I'd be grateful!


it seems to me that your body number may be higher than the area you've taken the paint off, e.g. see previous thread (possibly behind the black stripe) :

lotuselan-plus2-f51/does-your-body-number-match-your-chassis-number-t18534.html

as for translating French into English, I could give it a try, depending on the amount of text...
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PostPost by: tjb0274 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:42 am

nmauduit wrote:
it seems to me that your body number may be higher than the area you've taken the paint off, e.g. see previous thread (possibly behind the black stripe) :

lotuselan-plus2-f51/does-your-body-number-match-your-chassis-number-t18534.html

as for translating French into English, I could give it a try, depending on the amount of text...


Thanks nmauduit :-)

That thread seems to be about +2s - is the body number in the same place? Worth checking - thanks for the suggestion!

I'll send you a PM about translation.
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