Lotus Elan

Q plates

PostPost by: Quart Meg Miles » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:40 pm

The "chassis" was not the original concept of the car, which was supposed to be like the Elilte. It was added at a late stage to join up all the other sub-frames after one had been knocked-up to test their geometries and then it seemed to be a good idea to build them like that to simplify the production process. The original Type 26 reflects the original concept with its fully boxed up boot (trunk) surround which was changed on the S3 and coupe for a better draining arrangement. So history backs up the sub-frame claim.

The Triumph Herald has more of a problem, having been built round the chassis, and a friend of mine with one advises that they keep their mouths shut if replacing the chassis. Their i.d. plate is on the body, like the Elans. Incidentaly, I can't find a number on my sub-frame, fitted by St Wilkins in 1990.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:23 pm

Quart Meg Miles wrote: Incidentaly, I can't find a number on my sub-frame, fitted by St Wilkins in 1990.


No surprise there... my new Lotus Replacement chassis was bought off here & has both a LR chassis number & maybe the id of the car it was intended for electro-scribed in:
newchassis_2013_06_23_001.jpg and

Now the chassis has been por-15'd these numbers are no longer visible.

My original chassis (sorry subframe) was heavily stamped:
img_5295.jpg and


I think Brian Buckland sums it up well on page 151 of his manual:

"The chassis is a sub frame of the body so you do not have to inform DVLA that you have changed one. If you do DVLA will award you a Q number plate which is for kit cars. You have been warned."
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PostPost by: Mick6186 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:03 am

I don't understand. Even this forum calls it a chassis. If I was a DVLA inspector I would have a raft of evidence to issue a Q plate to anything but a car fitted with an original or LR chassis (oops sorry subframe). This appears to be an argument merely to increase the potential future resale value of vehicles that have been heavily modified beyond their original design,
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PostPost by: miked » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:03 am

Pretty harsh words when there was a period when you couldn't get a lotus chassis that was dimensionally accurate and not twisted. I wasted 6 months and rejected two from THE source. More than 1/2 inch longer on left side between chassis legs, also rocking about when laid on a flat floor. No way they were going on my restoration. Also neither of these chassis's had any numbers on whatsoever.
Are we going completely purist now on this forum. How do you define heavily modified? There's a jar of worms. I dont understand why there is such feeling at the back of this subject. There appears to be a want to get the Q.
:shock: :shock:
Last edited by miked on Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: miked » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:14 am

Regarding the future value of a modified Elan. I accept that it devalues them in general. Therefore no arguement from me on that. Hovever, having restored a good few and done plenty driving (enjoying), I am not in it for the money. Love the work on them and like to drive and improve.
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PostPost by: Mick6186 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:31 am

I didn't intend to be too contraversial, merely trying to avoid problems such as selling a car on that is not strictly following the DVLA rules and being open to possible litigation from a new owner!! If it is a subframe then call it that and don't refer to a 'chassis change etc' on forums. If it is a subframe then it follows that it must attach to a monocoque body similar to most modern cars. So if I replace the body does it then require a Q plate ( more worms!)
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PostPost by: 512BB » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:46 am

Miked wrote: Are we going completely purust now on this forum

Only people with original chassis' are going this way Mike :lol: :lol: :lol:

But you are correct in what you say. Not only could you not get a Lotus chassis that was accurate in dims, at certain times in the 1980's, you could not buy a Lotus chassis at all, which is why I fitted a Spyder stressed skin unit to one of my cars. Don't tell anyone mind :?

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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:20 am

512BB wrote:Miked wrote: Are we going completely purust now on this forum

Only people with original chassis' are going this way Mike :lol: :lol: :lol:

But you are correct in what you say. Not only could you not get a Lotus chassis that was accurate in dims, at certain times in the 1980's, you could not buy a Lotus chassis at all, which is why I fitted a Spyder stressed skin unit to one of my cars. Don't tell anyone mind :?

Leslie

Leslie, the problem is not with Spyder's stressed skin unit, you would have no problem updating the number on your records with the DVLA. The problem is the Space frame Spyder offer and the Space frame rolling chassis that changes all the running gear too.

But all that said if you just don't declare the change no one will come chasing you, only problem would come if it wasn't declared on the insurance and of course the DVLA/Police have access to your insurance, if you don't tell the insurance and you have an accident then thats when the worm tin gets opened.


pharriso wrote:I think Brian Buckland sums it up well on page 151 of his manual:

"The chassis is a sub frame of the body so you do not have to inform DVLA that you have changed one. If you do DVLA will award you a Q number plate which is for kit cars. You have been warned."


First just remind me what the section is called in Mr Buckland's book? and how many times the word 'Chassis' is used as opposed to 'Sub-frame'?

By the letter of the law!!........The problem with that is any modification changing the original structure of the Body,Chassis or Frame is required to be declared according to the dvla..... The DVLA have a thing about the Numbers stamped on a cars, even if the metal bit under a Lotus Elan is a Subframe the only time you would get away with a change without telling them is when there is no manufactures ID mark, for example a Mini just has a part number with no id number so if you changed that for an identical item no one could prove it had been changed! if it was an E-type front subframe that had been replaced then that does have an ID stamp you would have to have a note made by an Engineer to explain it had been changed like for like.

The reason this isn't more of a problem is it's a accepted fact the Metal bit under a Lotus elan is a disposable item and for many years it's been claimed there is no need to declare it so buyers don't question it...... But you ring the DVLA and ask them their opinion (carefully)
Last edited by Grizzly on Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:17 pm

My original 1968 S4 sub-frame had no number on it and my original Lotus replacement sub-frame in 1980 had no number on it so I guess it was a special Q plate prevented version that Lotus made in 1968 and 1980 or perhaps they just forgot to stamp them as they were busy at the time or had lost their stamp set that day.

My 1973 Plus 2S 130/5 sub-frame also had no number on it but the Spyder space frame sub-frame replacement did have a Spyder sequence number. So if I replace a sub-frame with no number with a sub-frame with a number and export my car back to the UK will it get a Q plate as the new Spyder sequence number does not align with the absence of a number (not sure how you tell something does not match nothing?)

Trying to apply UK government rules of today to a Lotus made in the 60's is going to tie you up in knots. Take the advice of those who have been through it and treat the sub-frame as a sub-frame without numbers - who can say it had any numbers in the first place and what they were - the official ID at the time was on the unit ID plate pop riveted to the body . Any stamping on the sub-frame is purely accidental if it occurred at all and not for ID purposes in the current era.

But then I dont live in the UK and have this sort of issue to worry about. . But then again registration in Australia has its own multiple issues including 6 states and 2 major and a few more minor territories with their own all slightly different rules. So I should not throw rocks while living in a glass house

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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:51 pm

Rohan, the thing that gets a car put on a Q plate is a none factory design chassis/Subframe etc (doesn't even have to be a Chassis made by Lotus just made to their design), the argument is because many other manufactures have cottoned onto this they don't stamp any form of ID number into their subframes (just a part number, making it almost impossible to identify a change if using OE parts) so using this logic the Lotus Subframe doesn't need to be declared...... Where that falls down is the DVLA also cottoned on and now say any modification to the Body,Chassis or frame needs to be declared..... So if you do that and have a non factory spec/design sub frame you walk the Q plate tight rope by the letter of the law.......

If you say there is a Unit number stamped into the Chassis/Subframe then there is no question the DVLA would want to know about it being changed but again if you use a LR or Spyder stress skin chassis/Subframe there would be no problem.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:13 pm

Chris... ever heard the expression ‘flogging a dead horse’? Give it a bloody rest for Gawd’s sake.
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PostPost by: miked » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:28 pm

Having run 4 standard type Lotus Elans/plus Two's, I now run a 2 litre Zetec Elan with a slightly modified Spyder chassis. Not my build but the log book has the engine size and number. Also the unit number as most do for the chassis. My insurance has all this information plus the other mods and ones I have added. I have been actively encouraged to supply every mod and have done so. My insurance cost is about 2.5 times that of a bog standard Elan for acceptance of these modifications. I can not see my insurance representative and company happy to take my money year on year to crawl out of liability upon an accident because I have a Spyder chassis. They must have a duty to keep exactly current with legislation so ignorance would surely be unacceptable.

My thinking is that, in the event of an accident, the police will have their word followed by the insurance assessor. The assessor (tempered by any Police report) having the final word about any claim acceptance. I may be dreaming but don't see the DVLA or any kind of representative being involved in policing a car at anytime. Surely they work through clubs good judgement.
So in terms of any retrospective ruling, I can't see it. Too much work and complication. In this country we can't even Police our Health and Safety properly in the work place.
These are just my layman opinions. I do think though by trying to make everything black and white that we risk getting things heightened for future judgments. In electrical wiring regulation they don't condemn all previous installation practices. They update for new installations and leave old as is unless significantly unsafe.
This pushing for a definitive judgment sounds risky as there are all sorts of characters at the dvla (no disrespect) who don't fully understand rules that have been in place for decades, let alone new ones. It is a lottery when you ring. It took me 3 tries to sort out historic status for the Stromberg Elan in 2002. I have had some great experiences with experts in the dvla but also some that are unfortunately clueless and need to be got off the phone pdq.


Mike :?
Last edited by miked on Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:09 pm

This comes to mind:
wtdnnwe.gif
wtdnnwe.gif (129.04 KiB) Viewed 150 times
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:38 pm

Or depending on your perspective.....
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PostPost by: miked » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:57 pm

I would say this thread is of no benefit to most. From my perspective I would go for: sleeping dogs.
I am done.

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