Lotus Elan

Elan Sprint Wheels

PostPost by: bronco » Sat Jul 03, 2004 7:50 pm

I own an 1971 Elan Sprint DHC.
It has the optional extra single colour white body and SILVER wheels.
Every book I have read say that Sprints were sold with BLACK wheels.
Is this correct or were silver wheels an option too?
Does anybody know?
This has been bugging me for ages. :blink:

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PostPost by: marcfuller » Sun Jul 04, 2004 3:43 am

They may have been sold with black wheels, but I suspect that they were available with silver also. I have a period Lotus published brochere that I am looking at as I type this. It includes a photo of the "Elan Sprint/5" - the wheels are silver with chrome rings and tri-wing KOs. The pictured car is a FHC Colorado orange over white, gold Sprint midrif stripe and bumpers.
-Marc '66 Elan DHC (36/6025)
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Sun Jul 04, 2004 7:39 am

Sprints were available at extra cost in monotone (single) colours, with gold bumpers and black wheels. But it may well be you could change the gold bumpers and black wheels on these single colour cars to silver. If you do have silver wheels on a Sprint, the bumbers should be silver as well.
However, the two tone paint schemes always had gold bumpers/black wheels, although obviously the odd on with silver wheels may have slipped by.
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PostPost by: pereirac » Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:33 pm

For some reason I seem to remember that the 'Gold Leaf' Sprints had gold wheel? Or perhaps I am mistaken...
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:53 am

Gold leaf coloured Sprints and in fact all two-tone Sprints always had black wheels. There are some cars driving around with gold wheels, but that probably was not done at the factory.
Having said that, you never know what Lotus did back in 1971, there may have been exceptions.
But black wheels were definitely standard.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Jul 05, 2004 9:50 am

The early Sprint press photos showed silver wheels. Mind you, they also showed bulged bonnets (hoods) in some shots. These were the old S4 bodies left in stock that were used up for early Sprints, as were the silver wheels, clearly. Thereafter all Sprints left the factory with black wheels.

Bronco, your chassis number will indicate if it is an early one. If it is, you could well have one of these early Sprint bodies.

It is interesting that a Lotus brochure (presumably from 1973) for the Sprint 5 shows the wheels as silver. More conundrums from Lotus.
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PostPost by: bronco » Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:52 am

Based on my VIN number my car is manufactured in August 1971 batch 20 number 474. It is an early one but doesn't have the Stromberg bonnet and it has gold bumpers.

One thing has become clear to me, Lotus had a standard'ish specification but with variations depending upon what happened to be in the parts bin at the time.

Maybe, unless an earlier owner changed the black wheels to silver, Lotus wanted to use up the last of the S4S/E silver wheels and gave this as an option to early Sprint buyers, the first Sprint being released in Feb 1971.

I have just noticed a photograph in the book 'The Original Lotus Elan' page 32 of a single colour 1972/3 sprint with SILVER wheels and a white one on page 33 with BLACK wheels.

Maybe I should have asked sombody who was selling the cars at the time , the late Graham Arnold perhaps.
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PostPost by: mickrick » Sat Jul 10, 2004 9:09 pm

Guys

This question has been round the block lots of times in LotusElan.net. Check the archives for previous comments. I have a 72 Elan Sprint and like you wanted to know what colour the wheels should really be. I quote from this forum by Alan Andrea way back on Fri Sep 22, 2000 3:39 am "Only Sprints had gold bumpers whether or not the car was painted two-tone. The wheels on US Sprints were silver, with UK and European cars painted in flat black. All S4 SE and Sprint models also had trim rings (rimbellishers) as standard equipment equipment." Seems like gold was never a factory option - but as has been said, in the 70s Lotus used whatever they could get their hands on!

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