Lotus Elan

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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
GPJ 40K
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

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

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

137ff8fe-6a4e-47fe-a76e-c29e8e929826.jpeg and
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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.

Tim
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PostPost by: Scapa » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:58 pm

Tim,
Belated thanks for the great information. I will now write to DVLA and see what info they can provide, if any.
The search for who did the Sprint conversion goes on.
Thanks again.
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PostPost by: Scapa » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:47 pm

Hi all,
Well wrote to DVLA utilising a V888 asking for information on any previous owners or the first dealer. Rather surprisingly I got a “we can’t disclose any info” reply. I also contacted the Norwich Records Office as the car was registered in Norwich. I got a very quick response from them but unfortunately they don’t have any info of ownership / dealers.
I guess this is part and parcel of Elan ownership. Just trying to establish who did the S4 SE to Sprint conversion.
Anyone know any previous owners of BAH 303J?
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PostPost by: vxah » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:00 pm

Tim, that reg CAH456K! I’m pretty sure I know where that +2 is. A work mate at the time bought it back in about 1984 or 85, I went with him to London to collect it and we got caught up in the boat race traffic!
Not too long after he had it the chassis broke and he ended up doing a full restoration on it, even replacing the roof to remove a sunroof that had been fitted.
He ended up painting it black instead of the Lagoon Blue Silver roof that it was.
Unfortunately it soon suffered badly with micro blistering and due to lack of funds and a split with his longtime girlfriend he never re-did the paint. I remember saying that he should repaint it the correct colour as there is a picture of it at Hethel in the Robinshaw &Ross book!
Afaik he still has the car under a sheet outside but I think it’s in a poor state even though I doubt it did 5k miles after the rebuild. I particularly remember being squeezed into the back of it to go down the pub with my then girlfriend!
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PostPost by: Scapa » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:30 pm

Hi Tim and all,
Still trying to trace my S4 Sprint history. Wrote to DVLA again so fingers crossed.
I have another question if anyone can help. When I bought my car it came with a spare engine already dismantled. The engine No is L18101B, and it is a Lotus block with single groove cams (SE?), any ideas where it might have come from.
Thank you in advance again
Regards Bob
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PostPost by: ericbushby » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:24 pm

Hi,
DVLA used to supply history in detail of historic cars provided you gave a valid reason for asking.
The system eventually caught up with them and they no longer do that.
I got all former owners names, addresses, post codes and sale dates.
All twelve of them !!!
Eric in Burnley
1967 S3SE DHC
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PostPost by: Scapa » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:33 pm

Hi Eric,
Yes my initial request was met with a no we can’t tell you anything. Data Protection rules all these days.
I have tried again but don’t hold out much hope. Just trying to find out who did the S4 SE to Sprint conversion on my car.
Regards
Bob
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PostPost by: seriouslylotus » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:09 pm

Very interesting thread.
My S4 s/e DHC project is a 1970 produced and registered car and is also on a J registration.
Mine is on the later /newer VIN number format
So my question is
Do i convert to sprint spec whilst doing the restoration. Not worried about the additional costs and will not be trying to pass it off or badge as a sprint.
I know there are lovers and haters of the strombergs, (im a lover of webers/delorto's)
What are people thoughts???
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PostPost by: mark030358 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:07 pm

Dave,
Keep it as it was, just my humble opinion. Not many about either.
Cheers
Mark
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