Lotus Elan

Q plates

PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:30 pm

That sounds fair enough.

To be quite honest i was hoping some one would say definitively no this is how you get round it but i guess ultimately it all comes down to the engineer.
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:48 pm

Wow, I feel like I lit a touch paper when I asked the original question.

I only just noticed those words in brackets:
"original or new and unmodified (direct from manufacturer)"

they suggest to me that, in this context, unmodified means no modifications after purchase, rather than modifications to the design.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:34 pm

Yes, You could argue a space frame chassis is a period modification or the same dimensions but it's not the same Spec so as their definition of a monocoque is a body with an integral frame you see the problem.

Even the Subframe argument is overcome by the definition of what the DVLA consider a monocoque.

But as Tim suggests there is an amount of interpretation from the engineer.

Ultimately you could keep it to your self but list the Space frame chassis on the modifications of your insurance to cover your self if anything unfortunate happened in that regard.
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PostPost by: prezoom » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:59 pm

It would seem that the words "direct from the manufacturer" further muddy the waters. Lotus used sub contractors for manufacturer of the sub frames, perhaps several different ones, and most likely still do. For the most part, Lotus was just an assembler of obtained parts, like many other small brands. A :roll: Q plate tells me the owner has upgraded and improved the breed, be it a stronger sub frame, or a different engine block, or a more modern engine. Far too much lint in the navel.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:35 pm

Legally Rob it's much more simple to define a car as built to original specification, as that is how the car was crash tested, type approved etc. etc.

I'm sure that most of us will agree that the Spyder chassis is a stronger design than the original with some very good improvements to make accessibility better and reduce the risk of corrosion. Same improvement argument probably goes for electric pop-up lights, UJ driveshafts, foam petrol tank, Kevlar bodyshell, Zetec engine, etc. etc. Are the authorities going to consider each and every upgrade to every type of classic car as being OK because it's an improvement? There will be thousands! And how will they test that each one is OK?

But the chassis itself is a special case as far as the law is concerned as that constitutes the main identity of cars with separate chassis, and the same goes for a bodyshell for monocoque cars. I think that most owners of a '65 Shelby Mustang would get excited if a car was being sold as an original Shelby when it had the shell donated from another type of Mustang, and a modern, supercharged V8 under the hood!

Remember that any modification to the cars is allowed. The 8 point system above just defines at what point the original car looses it's identity and becomes a car of indeterminate age and given a 'Q' plate. A car can pass the 8 point system, but be 'highly modified' (Subaru engine in a Bug, Hyabusa engine in a Mini, Zetec in an Escort) it will not be considered to be an historic car any more, and won't be allowed on the road free of charge as the 'historic' cars are.

This is just clearing the way for simple categorisation of vehicles to enable emissions to be increasingly penalised with taxation (if not historic vehicles) and restricting the usage of historic vehicles, in the run up to removing petrol and diesel vehicles from the road over the coming years.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:38 pm

Dave,
Yes your topic has been taken to the level of hot stuff! It's interesting to see the different views on the subject and useful to air the thoughts and interpretations of the DVLA statements and guidelines

It used to be that the UK had the most relaxed rules in Europe with regards to registering, building or modifying vehicles, unfortunately that has changed as we have gradually adopted the EU rules that have for years stifled any casual owner modification to vehicles.

It will be a real shame if we are no longer allowed to alter or customise cars to our own taste let alone modify them. For instance under the rules in Europe you can't change your wheels unless they were an option offered by the manufacturer, so if DVLA continues to follow the route they are taking if we ever leave the EU (or perhaps if we stay!) then all those Minilites and narrow springs will have to go, all those CV driveshafts are not really original are they?

I very much like and admire original specification cars, it is my retirement ambition over the next few years to restore or "improve" an existing car as close to factory original as possible, but I don't want to alter the cars I have already tailored to my perhaps unique taste and sincerely hope that I and others like me will be able to continue to do so.

We don't know the full story regarding the vehicle mentioned by Norman Lupton in CLN, I suspect it is a car that had been rebuilt from a pre-sorn vehicle perhaps one that hadn't been properly registered under the new system and was otherwise "unknown" to DVLA. Re-registering such a car or presenting it for the first time would be a difficult experience for the unwary or inexperienced.

I have tried to find a few things online that may give a bit of comfort to owners who have a Spyder chassis, these seem to have been shot down in flames by others on here which is a shame, I would have expected a bit more support, silly me, but perhaps I am misinterpreting their attitude?
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:46 pm

Alan, you can still modify cars as much as you like, but the change is potentially having to pay and have an MOT for a car so modified, and if the car has lost it's identity under the 8 point system, have a Q plate. I haven't seen any ruling that alters the ability to put a modified car or a kit car on the road.
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:50 pm

There was a time when a new chassis was not available from Lotus and they chose Spyder as their authorised chassis repairer. Spyder also produced a part-tubular part sheet metal chassis along with the full tubular one at that time.

I would be very surprised if Lotus (Geely) actually make the galvanised LR replacement chassis themselves.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:21 pm

Elanintheforest wrote:Alan, you can still modify cars as much as you like, but the change is potentially having to pay and have an MOT for a car so modified, and if the car has lost it's identity under the 8 point system, have a Q plate. I haven't seen any ruling that alters the ability to put a modified car or a kit car on the road.


Mark,
I'm happy with the MOT, I will continue to have my cars tested as is the directive and would have done so if they didn't require it.

The problem with a Q plate is that it is non reversible, once you have one it's no longer possible to re-present the vehicle to regain it's original identity if at a later stage the car is returned to factory specification with a new acknowledged factory as supplied chassis or whatever caused the need for a Q plate in the first place. Paint it however you like but Q plate is a stigma or poison chalice that won't go away. For instance my +2 is now 11 years old since it's zetec conversion, I have a Lotus twin cam engine and a 4 speed gearbox sitting under my bench that along with a new chassis and a few other bits of running gear would put it back to factory original, history shows us that most of the type 14 Elites that ended up with crossflows or twincams or replacement gearboxes or whatever have all been put back to original specification, John Pelly's type 14 didn't have a Climax engine in it when he bought it, do you think that anyone would have bothered to restore it further down the years if it had a Q plate?

This current attitude from the vehicle licensing authorities will affect us all, those who will look to restore a non standard vehicle in the future will have their choices diminished because of unnecessary identity issues.

I hope that you and others on here can look at supporting a view of more tolerance for the good of all.... please?
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:45 pm

Alan, I fully agree it's a tightening of the rules that is a bit heavy handed to be quite frank, it would make more sense if it was done by stock dimensions or some thing like that.

Maybe Spyder could get the Space frame chassis type approved or what ever makes it a Government recognized replacement component? but i have no idea how that could be done or if it would just highlight the issue to the powers that be.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:03 pm

prezoom wrote:It would seem that the words "direct from the manufacturer" further muddy the waters. Lotus used sub contractors for manufacturer of the sub frames, perhaps several different ones, and most likely still do. For the most part, Lotus was just an assembler of obtained parts, like many other small brands. A :roll: Q plate tells me the owner has upgraded and improved the breed, be it a stronger sub frame, or a different engine block, or a more modern engine. Far too much lint in the navel.

Sadly it's simply a chassis or subframe built to the original manufactures spec, it has to be identical to the one coming off and the easiest way to prove that is if you have an LR chassis.

As i have said before we have a customer with a TVR that is currently going through this, he was fortunate to be stood next to the engineer when he was filling in the check list and was given the option to stop the test..... i didn't know why he was given the option until i read Alan's post about a Q plate not being reversible, the crazy thing is the brand new chassis in question is almost identical but for some reason it has been modified to take a different engine/box which the Engineer didn't like. I might suggest trying to find a more easy going Engineer.
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PostPost by: AlanM » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:39 pm

"The clubs are now nearly always bypassed n the new regime to tidy up the historic vs modified,...Rather than check with Club Lotus, who now have very little say in what goes with the DVLA...".

Quite, quite wrong. Where does this kind of bizarre and unhelpful mis-information come from?

Let me try to clarify some important points.

Club Lotus is the only club approved by the DVLA to handle all authentication and registration matters concerning the Elan. We regularly inspect and produce reports on cars that have - for example - fallen off the DVLA register but have now been restored and need re-registering, either with their original or an age-related number. If we recommend a course of action DVLA invariably accepts our recommendations.

Ron Hickman always maintained that it was a subframe and it's true that Graham Arnold originally gained full acceptance from DVLA that the Elan structure was a subframe and not a chassis. I have updated this agreement and kept it current with DVLA since I became Chairman in 2004. I repeat, it is a subframe not a chassis and Club Lotus members will know I often remind them about this in Club Lotus News. There is therefore no need whatsoever to notify DVLA if you replace it.

To answer the original question, there is zero chance of the DVLA suddenly deciding - out of the blue - to retrospectively allocate a car with a Spyder spaceframe with a Q plate. Why would they?

The Q plate scheme was introduced in 1983 to cope primarily with the increasing number of kit and special builds whose age or identity didn't fit in with the existing rules. It’s since been amended and expanded to meet changing demands. It was never designed to catch properly restored classic cars and if one of these falls foul of the rules it's invariably because of the owner saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I'll say no more.

When considering the provenance of any given Lotus, Andy Graham and I always take the position of trying to keep it legally on the road if we possibly can (with an appropriate registration if necessary). That's not to say we don't inspect and consider individual cases very carefully and if there's any doubts these are investigated and pursued in detail and are never ignored by us.

For many years the Spyder spaceframe was the only option for an Elan owner with a rusty, unsafe subframe. Without it there would be fewer Elans still on the road which none of us would want. My view is that it would be grossly unfair to retrospectively penalise a Spyder Elan in any way because of legislation which has been introduced relatively recently. Consequently we take a sympathetic view when assessing such cars.

I am always very happy to offer advice on a 1-2-1 basis to Club Lotus members on any aspects of dealing with the DVLA. You all know where to find me.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:04 pm

Alan, If i may ask when this was decided? and does it comply to the upto date DVLA definitions?
Last edited by Grizzly on Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:10 pm

Alan,
Thank you for posting that very helpful and definitive reply, I remember with thanks the help I received from yourself and Andy Graham in correctly registering my Spyder modified S4 Elan back in 2011, it’s good to know that Club Lotus continues to be the official club point of contact with the DVLA and that it is relied upon to assist with registration issues.
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:22 pm

AlanM. The way i understand it from people closer to the DVLA / Engineers is if the Subframe numbers were changed way back when it wouldn't be an issue even for a Space frame, if the numbers on your subframe haven't been changed under the new definition the new subframe has to be of stock Spec (not sure if it can be done retrospectively). So what do you tell buyers who check numbers match? (the new latest greatest catch phrase in the classic car world) were not talking a few grand now, prices are getting quite considerable amounts.

Are you saying Club Lotus negotiated a different definition to this?..... 'Chassis, monocoque bodyshell (body and chassis as one unit) or frame - original or new and unmodified (direct from manufacturer)' if so what was it as it would be very handy to know for a Customer of ours. Or do you simply just not tell them of any change? (if so isn't that setting them up for a possible problem?)

I agree though it only becomes an issue when it's brought up with the dvla.

Taken from https://www.gov.uk/change-vehicle-detai ... ertificate
You must update your V5C if you change any of the following:

colour
engine
cylinder capacity (cc)
fuel type
chassis or bodyshell (replaced or modified)
seating capacity
weight of a large vehicle, eg goods vehicle or campervan

DVLA will tell you if they need to inspect the change.

Btw, i know i often come across as argumentative but i genuinely want to know how you fixed it because it would be handy, from what i've read the club just argued the metal bit under the car was a subframe as opposed to a chassis but i'm led to believe you can call it a Chassis,Subframe or frame it's still part of the monocoque if it has a number stamped into it which is why i'm confused.
Last edited by Grizzly on Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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