Lotus Elan


PostPost by: Grizzly » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:09 am

JimJ, being built in 1970 makes it more likely to be an S4 Sprint. http://www.lotuselansprint.com/index.asp?pageid=41810

I agree Scapa's car has had a rebuild/paint job so you never quite know what it started life looking like, one thing is for sure though the wheels should be Silver :wink:
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:18 pm

The following Sprint and Plus 2S 130 registrations that I am aware of were used as road test cars and/or press cars, 1971-74:

AVF 444J
YVF 900J
BAH 550J
WAR 551J
JAH 550J
YPW 400J
DVF 123K
CAH 456K
KAH 604L
HPW 358L
NPW 866M

As you can see, only one BAH registration. As Andy has confirmed, Bob's car, BAH 303J, was first registered to Lotus Engineering, which would indicate that it became a company car, used by one or more of those personnel entitled to one. It would then have usually been sold through one of the favoured and well known dealers into private hands, probably after only a few months use at Hethel.

I now have the details of 74 of the 79 S4/Sprints. All but 15 of them first came off the production line in 1970, between the months of March to October.

The earliest Sprints I have invoice records for indicate that Lotus billed the first lucky owners in January 1971, with the earliest registrations taking place from mid February 1971. The latest S4/Sprint I have a record of was registered in September 1971; the latest invoice date for one I have is August 1971. Most S4/Sprints were sent to dealers as demonstrators or to their eager first adopters, who would have been champing at the bit since the Motor Show in October 1970.

Whilst a forward facing cam cover is just one of the typical S4/Sprint indicators, it does not always follow. The rumour has always been that only 50 forward facing cam covers were cast before they became rearward facing. However, some of the earliest Plus 2S 130s had forward facing cam covers too, so that figure may be slightly low, given that they do come to light surprisingly often. Maybe around 100 were cast and they got used up on both production lines?

In the absence of factory paperwork and/or the first registration document, for me the key for determining whether a S4 is a factory Sprint conversion or not is firstly, confirmation of a N series engine, with a number that falls within the range of our records (and can thus be dated) and secondly the date of first registration. In the case of Bob's car, it was first registered on 19th March 1971, thus putting a tick in that box. If you'd like to let me know what your car's Engine No is Bob, we'll see if we can't put a tick in the first box!

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PostPost by: Scapa » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:38 pm

Once again thank you so much for your input / comments.

My engine No is L19847 and it has an N stamped on the head casting at No 1 spark plug.

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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:36 pm

Thanks Bob.

Your car was invoiced by the factory on 5th June 1969 under the old, pre-1970 VIN system. The Engine No conforms to the records for your VIN. L spec is for the Domestic market fitted with Stromberg carbs for the Elan SE Series 4. It pre-dates the car (AVF 888J) used to persuade the Board to build the Sprint by several months, so therefore I find it impossible, on this evidence, to confirm it as a Sprint.

It would appear that the car has been converted to Sprint spec at some later stage. Whether this was done at the factory service garage or privately would, I suspect, now be impossible to say.

The remaining mystery is why it was apparently first registered in Mar 71. It is conceivable that it was used as a development car for some aspect of the Elan, such as radio suppression, upgraded electrics, new brake materials or tyres. If so it could conceivably have spent a couple of years on trade plates. Alternatively, it may have been on a factory press registration which got swapped out when the car went to the trade and would have therefore received a new registration then.

Without additional paperwork the car retains some mystery. On the bright side, you have a very nice looking, capable Elan, which I am sure you can enjoy as it was intended.

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