Lotus Elan

Provenance....

PostPost by: mark030358 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:34 pm

Here is a topic likely to stir some interest, its about provenance.... an oft used word in motor car circles, notably the classic world.

I read one got the threads on this forum re an old Lotus Elan that was allegedley owed by Jim Clark. The thread and accompanying photos showed, allegedley, how it was when it was salvaged from a breakers yard somewhere in the UK, no front end, no eninge, in fact basically nothing left of the car at all, Yet it is a "classic" and often shown I believe at numerous events Lotus events. For sure it looks spectacular. I have also read many magazine articles over many years that go into detail of how totally destroyed cars have been rebuilt to better than as new condition, ivaugley remember one was a lightweight E Type racer of some kind.

So, the crux of the question is are these "original cars" if the only surviving bits were, say, the chassis plate and some of the mechanicals??

AND, would you pay vast amounts of dosh for them?

thanks...
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:10 pm

Provenance is a very slippery concept. If paying big money for "provenance" you want to ensure you can recover that money at the other end when you sell so its "provenance" needs to be solid. You need to also remember that "Provenance" bears no relationship to "originality" which is another slippery concept.

Personally I buy cars to drive not as an investment so "provenance" and "originality" are relatively unimportant concepts to me and I would not pay significantly extra for them.

Though if someone offered me Jim's Lotus 25 at a knockdown price plus a few thousand as it was Jim's I would think about it.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:49 pm

Rohan makes a very good point, there is great difference between originality and provenance.

If you look at the Clarke car, its provenance is now reasonably well known. I'm not entirely sure all the years can be accounted for, but probably the majority of them. That provenance includes the fact that the car sat around for many years and rotted away to the extent a tree grew through it. That forms part of its history and as long as folk are always aware of it, will be fine in proving a continuous historical timeline (or as much of it as is possible).

However, the car is clearly nothing like original, as has been discussed. But it retains its VIN plate, its registration number and its provenance and that is what is valuable.

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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:37 pm

Provenance & it's effect on car value are interesting. About 5 years I researched a couple of cars here in the States.

Car 1 was a genuine 26R, it was involved in at least 1 heavy crash, during which the both the chassis & body had to be replaced, being a race car many of the mechanical components had been replaced during the cars life. A bit like Washington's Axe (trigger's broom), yet because it was a documented car with provenance it was valued at over $150,000.

Car 2 was a car that had been raced since at least 1965 with much race history including Bridgehampton, Watkin's Glen, Sebring etc, many 26r components, no known vin, may have been a back door 26r, but because it had no provenance as a factory 26r was valued at $60,000.
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PostPost by: baileyman » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:54 pm

pharriso wrote:...A bit like Washington's Axe (trigger's broom)...


And Theseus' ship:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus

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PostPost by: mark030358 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:27 pm

Hmmm,
Thanks. Had an offer on something, but I'll pass. Agreed its a very intricate subject and as I'm no expert better to leave alone I think.

thanks
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PostPost by: prezoom » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:41 pm

Originality in a race car only exists when it first rolls out the door of the builder. From that point on, it is continually changed to make it faster. Otherwise, it will just become a back marker as time goes on. There is nothing slower than last years race car. The cars biggest enemy is the weight it gains over its life.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:50 pm

My car's history -well-documented back to its initial sale- is nothing that would add any great monetary value to it vs. an otherwise equivalent car, but I personally find it interesting and to me that adds a different kind of value.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:21 pm

prezoom wrote:Originality in a race car only exists when it first rolls out the door of the builder. From that point on, it is continually changed to make it faster. Otherwise, it will just become a back marker as time goes on. There is nothing slower than last years race car. The cars biggest enemy is the weight it gains over its life.


Generally yes, but not with classic car racing (SVRA in USA, FIA in UK, Europe), cars are supposed to be racing to the Specs that they were first made to.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:52 pm

I see provenance in much the same way I see celebrity worship..."oh, is that ("famous" person?)...okay, now whose round is it?"

"Oh did that car belong to ACBC himself, that's nice...okay, now, whose round is it?"

I would rather 50 more hp/torquies and nice tires etc than some 'name' on a document - and that includes those sometime silly BMIHT bits of paper that some like to wave around.

No, unless the Jim Clark car comes with Jim Clark himself, driving...not interested in owning it. :D

PS, his name is Jim Clark, not Jimmy...I remember (my close personal friend) JYS telling me how much that annoyed Jim. :D
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:59 pm

pharriso wrote:
prezoom wrote:Originality in a race car only exists when it first rolls out the door of the builder. From that point on, it is continually changed to make it faster. Otherwise, it will just become a back marker as time goes on. There is nothing slower than last years race car. The cars biggest enemy is the weight it gains over its life.


Generally yes, but not with classic car racing (SVRA in USA, FIA in UK, Europe), cars are supposed to be racing to the Specs that they were first made to.


I have yet to see an cogent explanation for the FIA "GTS" Elans being other than facsimiles of the very few, very valuable 26/Rs. There was no such thing as a "GTS" at any period of Elan production.


The FIA let the genie out of the bottle a while back and it has enabled lots of people to both make and lose lots of money! We have brand-new Lola T70s and GT40s racing the "originals" every week-end and winning (or losing!).

As I understand it the Bugatti fiasco has yet to run it's full course, it will be interesting to see how that pans out.
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:19 pm

By strict definition, "provenance" doesn't have to mean great history, just known history. The Veg's example
is what I'd call provenance.
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:34 pm

gjz30075 wrote:By strict definition, "provenance" doesn't have to mean great history, just known history. The Veg's example
is what I'd call provenance.



Absolutely agree with that.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:19 pm

I think that provenance is more for the owner than the seller-unless it is "ex Fangio, Moss, Clark, Senna, Duchess of Kent"!

I have an old car whose first owner had been a WW1 flying ace-it took me years to find that out and it was very interesting to learn but I doubt it adds anything to the value.

The Elan I own now I bought purely because it has a good racing record-that matters to me but is a very personal thing-again I doubt it will add anything to the value.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:15 am

HSMA was quite strict regarding originality, inviting car to Monterey that could prove history, and were prepared to as close as possible to period in which they were initially raced. Taking TransAm as an example, brass tag cars were the vehicles of choice, and that included the 2.5 TransAm cars as well. SVRA will take a reasonable facsimile that has four wheels and an engine from the same manufacturer. Entries are dollars, and it takes significant numbers of those to pay the nut.
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