Lotus Elan

Q plates

PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:13 pm

Seems not many knew what would happen if you tried to follow the DVLA / Gov web site with a Space frame..... so not a total waste of time......

For those with the stressed type chassis's your fine following the Gov website. Or don't........
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:24 pm

miked wrote:I would say this thread is of no benefit to most. From my perspective I would go for: sleeping dogs.
I am done.

Mike


I agree..

woof...zzzzzz....woof....zzzzz....woof....zzzzz...
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PostPost by: pauljones » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:43 pm

So having read all of this id like to cast my aging memory back to days gone by..

Does anyone else recal reading lads car mags in the late 80s onwards? I do, and i recall seeing several articles about front wheel drive cars being converted to rear or even All wheel drive. 205 gtis, fiestas, mk3 onwards escorts..there are many. Even one who makes lotus sub frassis made a cossie powered 4x4 escort, still on its origonal B plated s1 RS turbo reg number.
Now thats gotta be massively altered from origonal spec..

So if companies past have done all this, then whats stopping us?

Maybe not relevant due to the extreme changes. So whos actually going to know the difference between a folded steel or tubular frame being origonal? And who would advise my insurance company its a right off? My local garage?
At 10k for a body repray plus the cost of a replacement, id imagine just the man hrs bill alone would be enough to make our cars beyond economic repair.

So i cant really see the point of the discussion.
Kick the tyres and light them fires...!!!!!!!
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PostPost by: greg40green » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:41 pm

General question.

Pretend owner has an Elan that they have owned from new , genuine one owner car with the original subframe / chassis still fitted.
Pretend owner decides to restore the Elan.
During the restoration the pretend owner drops lucky and finds that the chassis / subframe has a number stamped on it say 123456.
Pretend owner decides that the original subframe / chassis is rotten and past repair after having to be brushed up off the floor and put in a sack in the garage for proof of ownership noting the chassis / subframe number.
New chassis / subframe is purchased but with no numbers stamped on it as supplied.
Pretend owner has the original chassis / subframe numbers of 123456 stamped / scribed on the new chassis / subframe.
Is this illegal / unlawful , if so why as the pretend owner can prove providence and the chassis / subframe is noted to be a serviceable item which is expected to eventually require replacement?
Last edited by greg40green on Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:47 pm

Quite a lot has changed this year Paul which means that the authorities are now very keen to differentiate between ‘Historic’ cars (free tax and no MOT required) and ‘Radically Altered’ cars which are still required to pay road tax and be MOT’d (unless the alterations were carried out 40 plus years ago).

Unfortunately with the 8 point ruling (introduced many years ago) now feeding into the decision making to determine if an old car is radically altered or not, there is a risk that innocent changes such installing a spaceframe chassis can be clobbered by the new taxation initiatives.

Of equal if not greater concern should be why they have introduced the categorisation of Historic and Radically Altered in the first place!

Greg, your scenario just makes it easier for the administrators to fill out their forms and not have a problem! It's no different to re-shelling a monocoque car, adding the chassis plate and stamping the original numbers in the appropriate place. It's illegal of course, but so is exceeding 70mph on a motorway.
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PostPost by: pauljones » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:26 pm

The 8 point system introduced years ago was what us kitcar makers used to get age related plates. We would change the engine number on our jags, to say that of a chevy/ford v8 ( with capacity etc) then on registration said Cobra had age related number, same with westies or 7style cars but easier because engine was mostly the same. Having built a fair few in the past i had alot of experience in this.
Yes im aware its changed recently and due to the mot tax relaxed rules. I just cant see how it can be policed effectively.

I can see the point of view of those with a spyder frame, i have one too unbuilt so a vested interest. My concern would be in a tragic incident event, whos to blame? The end user, the manufacturer? Will it matter? Would it be covered?

Just think about a very famous and most expensive car on the planet. Its chassis is not the origonal. You gonna wipe a 25m plus car out? Not sure id like to open that can.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:21 pm

greg40green wrote:General question.

Pretend owner has an Elan that they have owned from new , genuine one owner car with the original subframe / chassis still fitted.
Pretend owner decides to restore the Elan.
During the restoration the pretend owner drops lucky and finds that the chassis / subframe has a number stamped on it say 123456.
Pretend owner decides that the original subframe / chassis is rotten and past repair after having to be brushed up off the floor and put in a sack in the garage for proof of ownership noting the chassis / subframe number.
New chassis / subframe is purchased but with no numbers stamped on it as supplied.
Pretend owner has the original chassis / subframe numbers of 123456 stamped / scribed on the new chassis / subframe.
Is this illegal / unlawful , if so why as the pretend owner can prove providence and the chassis / subframe is noted to be a serviceable item which is expected to eventually require replacement?

Very Illegal...... but almost impossible to detect unless you do some thing spectacularly daft like stamp an OE number into an obviously non OE part, BUT if your using Oe parts non of this Q plate rubbish applies to you as the DVLA doesn't have a problem with OE or reproduction OE replacement parts (even if they don't have numbers stamped)

Would not be the first time it's happened and in my trade it's not uncommon to see a chassis number that has been cut out and welded back into a new panel (as a commercial shop we can get a hefty fine for ignoring that) it's why we have regular visits from an independent engineer who advises and records that sort of thing. It's also why i was a little surprised Club Lotus was allowed to do reports on such things, i thought reports had to be impartial/neutral but you live and learn.
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PostPost by: atthelimit » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:04 pm

I am an insurance broker and Elan owner and a client alerted me to this thread as somewhere in here there was an inference that insurance companies do not like or will not pay a claim for a Spyder Chassis car.

I would just confirm that this is not the case, we have a bespoke Lotus Insurance scheme and we are advised about these chassis when clients disclose other changes like the fitting of solid drive shafts, a change from dynamo to alternator, alloy radiators, and the like. These re not performance enhancing and all of the insurers we use have no issue with them what so ever. I have even known an insurance company negotiate with a client to fit a Spyder chassis to avoid a car being written off in the days when you simply could not buy a Lotus replacement chassis. I would always advise clients to inform us just so that the records can be noted. All alterations/modifications should be disclosed, everything from non standard seats, converting to fuel injection or engine swaps, if insurance companies accept the risk being fully aware of the alterations the insurance is 100% valid. Some alterations modifications will not effect the premium, but if they greatly increase the performance say from 118bhp to 200bhp, they will. We have motor bike engine cars, Elises running Honda and Audi engines and they are all properly declared and properly insured, along with the many, full monty Spyder +2s we insure. (Our insurers have agreed normal terms on those subject to BHP)

Modified cars, kit cars and specials are nothing new and what is behind all this fuss and has caused DVLA to re-evaluate the subject lies in the vintage motoring world. Some "tool room" copies, copies made to exactly original specifications/drawings have been passed off as the real thing and given registrations by DVLA of a 1930 car. With a "real" car costing £5 million and a tool room copy at £500K a law suit ensued and DVLA were drawn into the argument.

The problem is that the DVLA is a large organisation and individual administrators cannot be expected to fully understand all the nuances of a replacement subframe as Club Lotus were at pains to agree with the DVLA previously. Original Minis change their subframes (and as a Mini fan of old, they do have numbers on them) for the same issues of corrosion. These are never issued with Q plates ( I doubt anybody tells DVLA) and on occasion we have had new modern cars that have been re-shelled (monocoque construction) using a new body when damaged when it is still economical to do so, the new VIN number was amended on the registration document, but the original number plate was retained.

I have an S3 to restore, a body with no less the 12, yes 12 coats of paint to remove, its original chassis and most mechanicals and enough genuinely old parts lurking in my shed to complete. Now, the original chassis has massive, massive rust everywhere, all the usual places and more! But if I get my welder out, weld 4 new turrets, engine mounts (cracked and knackered) the lip that the body sits on, (paper thin) weld new metal in as and where required, diff mounts the lot that is ok, because the chassis will have twenty bits of new steel and a tiny bit that contains the chassis number, it would be a restored chassis. Alternatively, I could fabricate a whole new chassis and weld the tiny chassis numbered bit into that, and that, according to some, would not be acceptable, I fail to see the difference they both end up with the same proportion of new metal and old metal. If I have an original engine with the number stamped on it, It’s not universal throughout the engine, the crank, rods, pistons, don't bear this number but as long as I keep sleeving the block bung in new internals it’s the same engine? It’s not just large parts that have numbers on them, the front wish bones do, I suppose it’s the parts number but I doubt the new items from the likes of Paul Matty and Sue Miller have them. According to the 8 point rule you will lose 2 points for using new wishbones, would lose 2 for solid drive shafts as that is a large part of the rear "axle" and definitely not of the original design. Even the purists on the forum might feel that is a tad harsh?

As eluded to earlier there was a time when a LR chassis was not available, Spyder started making a chassis that were the same as Lotus chassis and then chose to move to a space frame design. The fact is that a Spyder chassis uses the same pick up points, Lotus suspension, engine and gear box mountings, in many respects it is a better chassis which has designed out some of the inherent weaknesses of the original design.

Should that warrant a Q plate absolutely not, the car has not been Radically altered, you might argue that the car is mildly altered, in the same way that fitting solid drive shafts does, but radically altered, no way. The fact is that DVLA staff are not car experts and rule according to their interpretation which can vary from individual to individual within the organisation.

The real problem is that the rules are made not with a Lotus Elan in mind but for every car on the road, and that must be a daunting task to take into account all the diversity of the car world. It's the law of unintended consequences and it's a shame that when you speak to DVLA If you say you have changed the subframe that's fine, if you say you have changed the chassis that's not fine, there is no logic or common sense in that. It’s a shame that a less well, informed person, wishing to do the right thing has fallen foul of DVLA and if different words had been used, we may not be having this discussion.

Elans in all their forms should be celebrated, not castigated.

Wow, I have not posted on here for ages, and now I've written a whole book!


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PostPost by: Grizzly » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:28 pm

Kim.

It goes without saying an Insurer would have no problem with a declared modification but after 20+ years working in a Bodyshop I've seen undeclared modifications make claims void regularly, your's is arguably the best cover but not all are up to your high standards. If you say a car has an after market Space frame under it that isn't declared i grantee the insurance assessors complete attention.

'Radically altered' is a bad choice of words by the Gov, if you read their definition it just means modified from original spec and Not a kit car..... First five points must be a Body/Chassis of manufactures specification with no modifications.

I am not trying to make every one rush out and Q plate their cars FAR from it, i was trying to explain why a space frame chassis car ends up on a Q and a LR chassis car ends up with a note on the documents.

It's always going to be a difficult sell Subframe over Chassis.... pick up any lotus book, Lotus elan history page on this web site, Lotus Elan Wiki page, Mr Bucklands Book, Workshop manual,all the elan original brochure's... the list goes on and they all refer to it as a back bone Chassis...... I guess it was decided well before the internet, today one Google search puts the whole argument in doubt.
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PostPost by: atthelimit » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:30 pm

Hi Chris,

I think we all understand the issue with DVLA.

Thankfully, insurance has moved on a good deal from the bad old days, and whilst it might be argued only because of enforced regulation it is a different industry to what it was 20 years ago. I think it unlikely that a company would get away with refusing a claim today if the only modification/alteration was a Spyder space frame chassis. If not declared its going to throw up issues with the engineer as it's not what they were expecting to see and it may delay the claim a little, but ultimately I would expect it to be paid. However, if along with this the engineer also finds a Zetec engine, an MT75 gearbox, Tony Thomson suspension etc, then yes a claim could well be thrown out.

If a claim was refused where the ONLY change was the Spyder Chassis, I am convinced that if referred to the Insurance Ombudsman, they would rule against the insurance company concerned. But just like the situation with DVLA, knowing how to put your case is vitally important.

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PostPost by: Craven » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:12 pm

Problem arises if the insurance company decides the cause of an accident was due to a modification.
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:49 pm

It would be a real problem if a Spyder chassis was the cause of an accident!
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:22 pm

Just out of interest has it been established if Spyder sell a chassis or a sub-frame? .....it would be interesting to get their perspective on the issue.
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PostPost by: Orsom Weels » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:29 pm

As I've already tried to point out, Q plates are only issued to a vehicle that has been built, or rebuilt & modified considerably from standard, which has no current DVLA identity. If you already have a V5c, you can modify away to your hearts content, & as long as your insurance is happy to offer cover, the worst the DVLA will do is rescind historic status & you will have to have an annual MOT & pay for your VED.
If you build a vehicle from a collection of parts that is somewhere close to an original spec, or even something which could conceivably have been built back in the day, (Hot rods & Tritons spring to mind) using period correct parts, then with the correct representation from the appropriate DVLA authorised owners club or similar representative engineer, you will be given an age related plate or retain an original registration.
It's only when you build something that has no current DVLA identity & you use much later components than were available in period that you will be given a Q plate, for instance if you built a Syder Zetec +2 from a collection of parts, not using an original donor car or one with no current V5c. It's simply to denote a vehicle of indeterminate age &/or origin.
When carrying out an inspection for the NOC I have to confirm any numbers given are: Standard, Difficult to read, Not typical, or indeed Missing, if I can't find them, that all Major Components are period correct & that the machine is or is a reasonably authentic example of the machine viewed, then sign it off as area inspector. I suspect Alan Morgan has to to do very similar for Club Lotus. The numbers have a little more importance when trying to get an original registration back when there is no current V5 in that they must look original & match any old paperwork being used to retain said registration, such as a V62, exactly. After that, it's left to us to make our recommendations to DVLA which they seem to act on without question. It would only be if in all good conscience we couldn't sign something off as original or period correct that the DVLA would then look to issue a Q plate.
As I say, only an issue if you don't have a current registration with a V5c.

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PostPost by: Grizzly » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:00 pm

types26/36 wrote:Just out of interest has it been established if Spyder sell a chassis or a sub-frame? .....it would be interesting to get their perspective on the issue.

I have been searching to see if anyone actually calls it a Subframe and upto now i'm failing.
http://www.spydercars.co.uk/lotus-elan- ... over-bars/
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