Lotus Elan

VIN plate/body ID tag anomaly?

PostPost by: tedtaylor » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:04 am

please see pix of my VIN plate / body ID tag anomaly.
I came across this plate (underneath/reverse side) on the firewall shelf above brake/clutch MC location (LHD) federal USA vehicle.
notice what appears to be a "mis-stamping".
upper left very faintly shows "LOT" for Lotus.
below that "HETHEL"
followed by slightly raised letters "BRIGHAM ENGLAND"
below that "VEH NO."
below that spelled wrong is "CHASIS"
I can't make out any other writing, but I can see the black paint or overlay screening.

Can anyone shed light on this? it was affixed with rivets
img_1155.jpg and


Just FYI, i have confirmation from Andy Graham that my car is matching numbers (body, engine, VIN#) that is on factory records, so i'm comfortable with its provenance, however the VIN plate is a mystery at this point.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:16 am

Ted, I'm pretty sure this is someone's attempt at a plate of some description, in an effort to give the car some degree of authenticity regarding some element of licensing they thought was missing from it.

On none of the authentic plates I have ever seen has Hethel been mentioned. Furthermore, the second place name should be Norwich, before England. The name on your plate is clearly not that. All Lotus plates, including the Federal emissions plate, state Lotus, Norwich, England or Lotus Cars Ltd England.

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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:43 am

no one else? is there such a place as Brigham? no one has ever seen such a Lotus plate before? maybe some other application or "Type" Lotus?? I can't help but think there's an interesting and unique story behind this plate. :?:
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PostPost by: pharriso » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:13 pm

tedtaylor wrote:no one else? is there such a place as Brigham? :


Ted, this is a made up plate!
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:47 pm

tedtaylor wrote: is there such a place as Brigham?

Yes although I doubt it has any connections with Lotus :roll:
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PostPost by: USA64 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:39 pm

I too am curious about how it was made and why; provenance Lotus style. There are several circles visible. The lower left corner one is very distinct. The others could just be from a brake-fluid can. Last year I got a lesson on painted-wood dash-boards from a restorer at Hershey. I wonder if someone there (it's this weekend Wed-Sun) would be able to see more of the story.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:31 pm

good catch USA64, those circles were actually round fiber or plastic washers of some sort, very, very thin and brittle. They were between the plate and the body shelf at the 4 corners.
The rest of the story is that the reverse side of this plate was totally clear aluminum shiny finish with my VIN# stamped like this: "26/####" then below that: "26E"
What the heck is a 26E?
so, I removed the seemingly home made stamped plate to find underneath/reverse side the mystery in my first post above.
I just think there's something unique about this....someone must know.....it definitely mimicks a LOTUS plate in some ways, but not in others....
where is Sherlock Holmes??? I need you... :lol:
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:51 pm

Ted,
The Lotus Elite community frequently deals with vehicle identification numbers that seem to have nothing to do with those issued by Lotus. One of the common problems in the US is that the four-digit number assigned by Lotus to Elites is too short to satisfy state registries of motor vehicles. There have been examples of a registry office generating a number and forcing the owner to produce a plate with this made up number. This isn't normally an issue with federal cars having the later Lotus chassis number syntax but you never know. Lotus chassis plates going all the way back to Tottenham Lane have the "outline" of the plate, i.e. manufacturer, location, "chassis no", "engine no", etc., silk-screened onto the plate. Only vehicle specific information is scribed or stamped. I think we all agree that your plate has got no connection to Lotus.
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PostPost by: wotsisname » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:11 pm

just a random, unlikely thought.... is it a sprint ? didn't Christopher Neil sell a kit of parts to allow you to build a complete car... no idea why this would be relevant
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:16 pm

it's a Type 26
Russ, you say no relation to Lotus, yet if you zoom into the picture, you can see LOTUS, at least the first two letters L,O and very faintly the T.
for my purposes i'm certainly going to affix the proper plate, but I just thought this strange anomaly would interest others or perhaps have an interesting and legitimate history of sorts. my archeological find! :)
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:27 pm

tedtaylor wrote:you say no relation to Lotus, yet if you zoom into the picture, you can see LOTUS, at least the first two letters L,O and very faintly the T.


I can write Lotus on my Hand or ***, it has no legitimate connection to Lotus.

tedtaylor wrote:it's a Type 26
but I just thought this strange anomaly would interest others or perhaps have an interesting and legitimate history of sorts. my archeological find! :)


Ted, everyone is being nice, OK you need it spelling out - that plate is a fake.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:00 pm

OK, Phil....you're the expert...i'm not. :roll:
even so, I went above your head and spoke with and shared with Andy Graham. He too confirmed it is not a product of Lotus and has never seen anything like it before.

in my naivety, i merely wanted to share my discovery and find out from this knowledgeable community if anyone has seen it before, especially since it looked authentic at first glance. The best case scenario would have been a reject or mis-stamp, and someone using scraps to make their own plate on the other side.

so case closed, time to move on...
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PostPost by: mbell » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:06 pm

I think Russ is most likely right. A bespoke plate made by/for a owner to get around some specific requirement of a particularly fussy DMV (agent) so they could get a title for the car or the car registered.

Likely interesting history to keep with the car but not much more.
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PostPost by: Slowtus » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:18 pm

"...below that spelled wrong is "CHASIS"..."

That was all I needed to see to determine it was bogus .

ACBC may have been guilty of taking, ahem, shortcuts with his cars but never with the language. :D
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:24 am

I noted the misspelling of "Chasis", but then again, I thought Brits spelled everything wrong.....like "tyres' :lol:
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