Lotus Elan

Chassis numbers

PostPost by: pudge2260 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:35 am

What is meant by "Federal and non-Federal". My 1970 Lotus Elan plus 2 serial number is 50/1580, which would make this plus 2 "non-Federal ".
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PostPost by: TomMull » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:40 pm

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable will give you a better answer but as far as I know, the "Federal" cars were in compliance with the federal emission standards here in the US and built for export. The most noticeable difference is in the fuel system as mentioned earlier.

I cannot account for the numbers sequencing though. My 1970 Plus 2 is 50/0023. Were the Federal cars that rare in 1970?

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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:04 pm

I'll try to answer the questions from Tom and pudge2260 together. Both of your +2 were made after 1 January 1970 and are probably +2S Federal models given that you are both in the US. The chassis numbering system changed on 1 January 1970 and the key is in the single letter at the end of the chassis number. These letters indicate as follows:

L: +2S for the home (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) market (non-Federal)
M: +2S for export to anywhere other than the US (non-Federal)
N: +2S for export to the US (Federal)

Tom, you should have "N" at the end of your chassis number and this would indicate the 23rd Federal +2S made after 1 January 1970. Pudge2260, you should also have "N" at the end of your chassis number, indicating the 158th Federal +2S made after 1 January 1970. I think this chassis number should be "50/0158" rather than "50/1580". If is really "50/1580" it would be much later than 1970. My +2S is 50/0170 and was built in August 1971.

It does not help that the chassis number appears in three places on the body and each is presented a little differently. The full chassis number appears on the Lotus Norwich plate in the engine compartment. Here the first four digits give the year and month of manufacture. The full number for mine is 7108110170N. I am not sure what the fifth and sixth digits are unless the date of manufacture is carried out to the actual day, i.e. 11 August 1971. This plate also includes "Type 50" in the top right corner, this is superfluous because "N" in the chassis number already indicates a Type 50. Tom, I suspect your full chassis number reads "70XXYY0023N" where XX indicates the month, probably early in 1970, and YY the day in that month. Pudge2260, your full chassis number is probably "71XXYY0158N". I know you say yours is a 1970 but it is only twelve chassis numbers before mine which is August 1971.
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PostPost by: SGO 2F » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:13 pm

Based on my information about Elan +2 Unit Numbers:

Tom your Type 50 is a 1970 Elan +2S, Unit No. 7002410023N, indicating it was manufactured in February 1970 and invoiced by Lotus on April 13, 1970. A short form VIN would be "LOT 0023N" this is how I would expect to see on your title . Without the "N", 50/0023 equals a 1967 build.

pudge2260 your Type 50 is a 1971 Elan +2S/130, Unit No. 71????0158N, invoiced by Lotus on July 29, 1971, with engine number i24797. Your short form VIN would be "LOT 0158N". Also without the "N", 50/0158 equals a 1967 build, just before my '67 +2 (50/0164).

The best way to confirm information about your Lotus is by contacting Andy Graham, Lotus Archivist to obtain a certificate of provenance. It's worth the cost.

Cheers
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1972 Lotus Elan +2S/130 (0239N)
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PostPost by: TomMull » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:40 pm

Thanks to Russ for the chassis number information above. That pretty much cleared up any misconceptions I had and was written in a way that even I can understand.

And SGO 2F, mine does indeed have an "n" at the end and the build record is framed and on the wall of my garage.
I'll second you recommendation of Andy Graham, he is quick to reply, efficient and easy to work with.

While my car still still has some "federal " features, e.g. a steering wheel locking ignition switch, the engine is not original and was replaced by a non federal Weber carburetored version by the PO.

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PostPost by: Hethel_Haus » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:59 am

Regarding the earlier post about the chassis number located in three places, where else can they be found besides the ID plate in the engine bay?
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:19 am

Steve,
Federal +2S cars also have a small tag at the base of the windscreen on the driver's side and also a plate on the driver's side door jamb, in the body shell, not the door itself. I am fairly certain these other plates were US DOT requirements and may not appear on models for other markets. Images of these additional plates on my +2S below:
Attachments
img_1413.jpeg and
img_1416.jpeg and
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PostPost by: trw99 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:58 pm

You’d have found all this information in my article attached to my earlier post in this thread on the previous page.

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