Lotus Elan

Early Lotus dealership - Foley Park Motors

PostPost by: dunclentdr » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:11 pm

One of the early dealerships was near where I live - Foley Park Motors in Kidderminster, Worcestershire ('Midlands' on the attached listing) - does anyone have any photographs of this or any of the other 1960s dealers?

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David
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PostPost by: trw99 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:48 am

Inside Foley Park, c 1971:
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PostPost by: paddy » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:41 pm

I was hoping to find Elite Cars on that list, which seemingly was the destination of my car and a few others from the factory; no luck, however. Does anyone know about Elite Cars?

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:12 am

Paddy, do you have a location for them, please? If not, in which district was your car first registered?

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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:43 am

Hi,

trw99 wrote:Paddy, do you have a location for them, please? If not, in which district was your car first registered?


All I have is the "Elite Cars" entry in the Lotus day book. The original registration was PG, which is Guildford (for which Bell and Colvill would have been the primary dealer I assume).

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:48 pm

Paddy, I've been doing some digging and have developed a theory - and it is only that currently - that Elite Cars is the same as David Buxton Ltd, the Derbyshire based Lotus dealer and Elite racer. It was not unusual for the earliest Elans to be sold by a dealer in the north of the country, whilst having been registered in the south.

David Buxton Ltd were based at London Rd, Derby then Church Street, Spondon, Derbyshire. Buxton started his dealership in 1958 with Lotus as a marque, later adding TVR and Maserati. He did a good deal of club racing in an XI and a XV before forming Team Elite and becoming a factory supported team. The team folded in 1964, after using Elans to race that year, though without success. Buxton was very thick with Chapman and ended up ousting Robin Read as sales manager at Lotus in 1962, though his own tenure in the role was not long. He remained friends with Chapman and was involved with Moonraker yachts later on.

Since Buxton was on the Lotus staff by 1963, when the Elan began to be sold, he may well have renamed his dealership Elite Cars so that it did not appear that he was abusing his position. And that is my theory, for what it is worth. I have been unable to find any reference to Elite Cars in dealer lists from 1960 or from 1968; I have none for the intervening years. Does anyone on here?

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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:05 pm

Tim,

Very interesting, thanks. I have a scan of the day book covering units 039 to 3079 inclusive (that's 3rd May to 13th June 63) and there are just 3 entries there that have a single "LC" invoice number (instead of the separate engine and body invoices) and all 3 are listed as being for Elite Cars. The first such entry was initially listed with 2 invoices, and destined for "D Ashmore" but the entry was later amended.

None are listed for David Buxton explicitly, if that helps to corroborate your theory :)

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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:49 pm

Paddy, I have that sheet and several others; in doing my digging I also looked at the sales sheets for the Type 14 in the back of the Orttenburger book.

The Elite Cars are all made up at the factory, which was unusual at that time, the vast majority of Elans being sold in 1963 in component form in the domestic market. Of course I may be barking up entirely the wrong tree here and Elite Cars could be an undercover name for something entirely separate all together!

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PostPost by: paddy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:55 pm

Hi,

Apologies to the David for diverting the thread, but one last question for Tim: how many factory-built cars were there before unit 039?

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PostPost by: Foxie » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:26 pm

My 1970 Elan +2S originally DWP 984J was sold by Foley Park Motors.

I never got the original reg book, I was told by the son of the second owner (RIP) a Mr Swire who moved to West Clare in Ireland around 1980, that the first owner was a lady from Manchester area.

I'm still hopeful I might find out more about the early history of the car.

I bought the car as a bit of a wreck in 1985 and put it back on the road, re-registering here.

I've done 55,000 miles in Europe since, Bergen, Budapest, Vienna, Rome, Valencia, Lisbon. Always got home.

3rd in the Irish Hillclimb Championship Historic Class last year.

All set to do better this year :)
68 Elan +2, 70 Elan +2s
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PostPost by: trw99 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:25 pm

[quote="paddy"]Hi,

Apologies to the David for diverting the thread, but one last question for Tim: how many factory-built cars were there before unit 039?

Thanks - Paddy[/quote]

Paddy, there were three M2 development cars and then units 0001 through to 0038. The earliest invoice date of that group is 23 Jan 63, the latest 29 Apr 63.

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