I'm trying to decode the VIN from an 1971 Elan roadster. I looked in
the VIN decoder on LotusElan.net, but couldn't find the information.
Can anyone tell me what the suffix "K" after the VIN number means
(nnnnK)? This is a car built in 04/71. Is there any way to tell if this
car is truly a Sprint?
I still would like to know how to tell if it's truly a Sprint though.
As you have correctly identified, your car is a Federal spec Sprint
DHC. If it was given it's VIN plate in April 1971 then it will
certainly be to Sprint specification, though my records do not show
when the Sprint was first shipped to North America. Yours will be
one of the first is my guess.
Another thing I am not sure on is to what extent Federal Sprints
were similar to European versions. I believe that Federal versions
kept the chrome sill strip (as the S4 had fitted) and were not
fiited with Gold Leaf stripes, though I may be wrong.
The Sprint concept was announced in October 1970 at the Motor Show.
The Sprint started to be manufactured in January 1971 for general
release in February 1971.
UK Sprints had the ignition switch integrated into the steering
column (though I believe some of the later S4s also had them – those
due for European export to France & Germany). Some early Sprints had
the ignition on the dash.
Additionally, of course, the big valves and different cams in the
engine, the BV cam cover, the differential strengthening strut, the
straight through single exhaust pipe, the strengthened Rotoflexes
and nearside engine bay heat loss holes were introduced in the
Sprint. The seats incorporated a device to prevent them tipping
forward, as per Federal spec. Federal cars had Stromberg carbs with
emission control, integrated head restraints in the seats and hazard
light switch and additional warning lights on the dash.
There's nothing in the Vin to indicate Sprint other than date of mfg of
which Tim pointed out that any S4 after April of '71 were Sprints.
My '72 US spec Sprint, (0243K vin) has the ignition switch integrated
into the column for the locking column feature and no chrome sill
36/5727 pre airflow coupe
- Coveted Fifth Gear
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Federal Sprint included the DB10 relay box for the brake lights and
direction indicators. I'm not sure, but I don't believe the S4s that came to
the US included that. Can somebody confirm?
Dave 72 Sprint DHC
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