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#1 RonPohl

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 23:02

I have been in touch with a gentleman who is restoring a lotus 51 here in the U.S. The car may, or may not be a car I raced 1969-70. It seems there are two 51s with the same chassis number. He told me there were other 51s around with identical numbers. Well, we all know about "air cars". But the question is- who and why would some one replicate a 51. The economics are simply not there. There are lots of 51s in existance and, at least here in the states, they are not raced in vintage much. Anyone going to all the trouble would do it up as a lotus 20 or 22 I would think. Anyone heard anything about this? Cheers.

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#2 D-Type

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 23:25

The economics of replicating a car may not be there, but i can think of several scenarios where replicating a chassis plate or a chassis number could make sense. Purely from my imagination, how about:

(1) Back in the day: Someone owned a Lotus 51, duty paid etc, totally legal. Then he ships a load of automative junk from the US to Lotus in Britain "for repair" with all the documentation and a fake chassis plate with the chassis number on it. Then he imports a brand new Lotus 51 with a chassis plate identical to the original accompanied by the same set of documentation. our man now has two lotus 51s but has only paid import duty on one.

(2) Fast forward to 2012. Someone has two Lotus 51s. One is an original car with full documentation and a chassis plate, say 51/13. he has another one which is a bitsa, having in period been built up from parts of two or more wrecks, and it doesn't have a chassis plate. So our friend makes an exact copy of his chassis plate. he can't number it 51/13 as that number is too well-known and documented. He checks and finds that there is no record of 51/14 having been seen since 1980 so he numbers his fake chassis plate 51/14 and stamps a few components with 51/14. The car is agenuine Lotus 51 apart from the numbers. but as it now has a chassis number it has a higher selling price than a bitsa would have.

The permutations are endless once you accept that it is far easier to fake a chassis plate than it is to fake a whole car.

Edited by D-Type, 31 December 2012 - 12:21.


#3 Supersox

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:56

The economics of replicating a car may not be there, but i can think of several scenarios where replicating a chassis plate or a chassis number could make sense. Purely from my imagination, how about:

(1) Back in the day: Someone owned a Lotus 51, duty paid etc, totally legal. Then he ships a load of automative junk from the US to lotus in Britain "for repair" with all the documentation and a fake chassis plate withthe chassis number on it. Then he imports a brand new Lotus 51 with a chassis plate identical to the original accompanied by the same set of documentation. our man now has two lotus 51s but has only paid import duty on one.

(2) Fast forward to 2012. Someone has two Lotus 51s. one is an original car with full documentation and a chassis plate, say 51/13. he has another one which is a bitsa, having in period been built up from parts of two or more wrecks, and it doesn't have a chassis plate. So our friend makes an exact copy of his chassis plate. he can't number it 51/13 as that number is too well-known and documented. He checks and finds that there is no record of 51/14 having been seen since 1980 so he numbers his fake chassis plate 51/14 and stamps a few components with 51/14. The car is agenuine Lotus 51 apart from the numbers. but as it now has a chassis number it has a higher selling price than a bitsa would have.

The permutations are endless once you accept that it is far easier to fake a chassis plate than it is to fake a whole car.


Some years ago there was a guy down in South Devon who for some reason set up a small production line of 51 's I never understood why, maybe he just liked them.
I can't for the life of me remember where I saw themI want to say Ottery St Mary but I know it was somewhere near there. It must have been somewhere near Crispin Manners shop.