Lotus Elan

Chassis numbers

PostPost by: phunter121 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:09 am

Hi Guys,

I'm looking at a 1970 +2S, with an eye to possibly purchase.

It has a chassis number of 50/2472.

From my understanding of chassis numbers, the numbers 2447 to 2536 are Federal cars.

Yet, there is nothing else to suggest this is the case. The pre 2008 restoration photos, show it as a right hand drive.

It has Delloto carbs, which I don't think are period correct.

Any thoughts?
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PostPost by: trw99 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:28 am

Peter,

This was a UK +2S, invoiced by the factory in March 1970, in Royal Blue and fitted with a F type engine for the UK market (and some export markets, less Federal). It would have left the factory with Weber carbs.

I'm not sure why you have it in mind that cars between 2447 to 2536 were all Federal. My records have a mixture, as was the case throughout Type 50 production, until the VIN system changed.

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PostPost by: TomMull » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:14 am

trw99 wrote:Peter,

This was a UK +2S, invoiced by the factory in March 1970, in Royal Blue and fitted with a F type engine for the UK market (and some export markets, less Federal). It would have left the factory with Weber carbs.

I'm not sure why you have it in mind that cars between 2447 to 2536 were all Federal. My records have a mixture, as was the case throughout Type 50 production, until the VIN system changed.

Tim

My Federal car, 50/0023N, was built in February of 1970. I've yet to discover the logic in the numbers.
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PostPost by: phunter121 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:18 am

Thanks guys, I'm not sure where I got the information re federal chassis numbers. Glad to be corrected though.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:31 pm

TomMull wrote:My Federal car, 50/0023N, was built in February of 1970. I've yet to discover the logic in the numbers.
Tom


I have attached two pages from the Elan Plus 2 Service Parts List which explain the logic in the numbers. Prior to January 1970 there was nothing inherent in the identification number that made the destination market (UK, Europe, US Federal) obvious. Until that point it was just 50/XXXX to identify a Plus 2 and the four digit sequence. The Workshop and Service Parts Lists provide information about production change points within the four digit sequence. Beginning in January 1970 the numbering was revised to allow obvious identification of the destination market. You can see that your +2 S is the 23rd US Federal +2S built after 1 January 1970. My Federal +2 S is the 170th) 50/0170N and built in August 1971. Federal +2 models can be a bit confusing as there are three different plates, each with a slightly different representation of the identification number, at least none of this representations should be in conflict.
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Elan +2 Identification Numbers.pdf
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PostPost by: phunter121 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:15 pm

Thanks Russ,

Let me get my head around this.

The extract you attached says 50/2447 is the starting point for Federal +2S cars.

Does this mean:

- Chassis numbers before 50/2447 cannot be federal cars?
- Chassis numbers after 50/2447 can only be federal cars?
- Chassis numbers after 50/2447 can be federal, but also any other market?
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PostPost by: phunter121 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:16 pm

Also, do any of you have any comments on the engineer bay photo at the beginning of this post.

Does it look like an authentic layout for a 1970 +2S
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:28 pm

phunter121 wrote:Thanks Russ,

Let me get my head around this.

The extract you attached says 50/2447 is the starting point for Federal +2S cars.

Does this mean:

- Chassis numbers before 50/2447 cannot be federal cars?
- Chassis numbers after 50/2447 can only be federal cars?
- Chassis numbers after 50/2447 can be federal, but also any other market?


We need to keep in mind that +2 versions intended for the UK, European, US and other markets were produced in parallel. The pages I posted from the +2 Service Parts List indicate that the first Federal +2 was 50/0857 (March 1968). This coincides closely with the effective date of new vehicle safety regulations in the US. The first Federal +2S came later, 50/2447 (November 1969). Clearly there were Federal +2 cars prior to 50/2447. Chassis numbers after 50/2447 would have been a mix of UK, US and other markets types as Tim stated in his earlier reply. I don't know what the last chassis numbers were before the new numbering systems began in January 1971, I am sure Tim can shed light on this.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:40 pm

phunter121 wrote:Also, do any of you have any comments on the engineer bay photo at the beginning of this post.

Does it look like an authentic layout for a 1970 +2S


Peter,
Not sure I can be of much help here, I am most familiar with Federal versions. You are correct about the Dellortos, they were introduced with the S 130 version in January 1971. I can also see that the brake servo is the replacement Lockhead type and not the original Girling. Other than that I cannot be of much assistance.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:12 pm

[[/quote] My Federal car, 50/0023N, was built in February of 1970. I've yet to discover the logic in the numbers.
Tom[/quote]

Tom, there is a certain logic. I have attached an article I wrote for Club Lotus early last year on Lotus VIN systems for the Elan and Plus 2 production, which I hope throws some light on the subject.

Please also not that there is a difference between the date a car was built and the date it was invoiced by the factory.

[quote="phunter121"]Does this mean:
- Chassis numbers before 50/2447 cannot be federal cars?
- Chassis numbers after 50/2447 can only be federal cars?
- Chassis numbers after 50/2447 can be federal, but also any other market?[/quote]

Peter, please read that attached, which I hope explains.

[quote="CBUEB1771"]Chassis numbers after 50/2447 would have been a mix of UK, US and other markets types as Tim stated in his earlier reply. I don't know what the last chassis numbers were before the new numbering systems began in January 1971, I am sure Tim can shed light on this.[/quote]

50/2556 was the very last +2S Unit No recorded in the books, though it is actually crossed out in the factory records, presumably because it was allocated one of the new VIN System numbers instead. So that makes 50/2555 the final +2S under the old system and that car happened to be for the Federal market.

Tim
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2018 Jan Lotus Elan VIN Systems.pdf
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PostPost by: phunter121 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:28 pm

Thanks for all the info....really useful.

Does anyone have any thoughts as to the reason a 1970 +2S car would have Dellorto carbs. Could it be a later '130' engine has been installed?, or was/is it fairly common place to retro fit Delorto carbs to older engines?

As far as my research has shown, Dellorto's were not fitted until 1971
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:23 pm

Peter, as I indicated above, your car left the factory on Webers. Dellortos only started to be fitted by the factory to Sprints and Plus 2S 130 Elans from May 1972.

It seems clear to me that a previous owner has swapped out the original Webers and decided to fit the easier to tune (allegedly!) Dellortos to your car's engine.

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:31 am

Maybe it was a Stromberg car originally and was converted to a Weber / Dellorto head and Dellorto carbs ? There was a batch of federal plus 2S converted back to RHD around 1970 time that had Stromberg heads

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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:11 pm

rgh0 wrote:Maybe it was a Stromberg car originally and was converted to a Weber / Dellorto head and Dellorto carbs ? There was a batch of federal plus 2S converted back to RHD around 1970 time that had Stromberg heads

cheers
Rohan


That is an interesting consideration. If this +2 had been converted from LHD to RHD I suspect there will be a metal closing plate where the LHD pedal box had been fitted. I can't imagine that Lotus would have taken the trouble to close the LHD pedal box aperture with fiberglass. Another possible reason for converting from Weber to Dellorto carburetors is that the latter are reputed to have a smoother off-idle transition circuit.
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:48 am

Regarding pedal box openings, my 1967 +2 has one both sides, with a blanking plate with the wiper motor mounted on it covering the LHS hole, so that is not evidence it has been converted as mine is a RHD UK car from new.
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