Andy Sta. Maria's Lotus Elan has been in MSCC meets since it was imported in 1978. However, it has undergone several iterations so people wonder whether it is the same car!

Andy bought his Elan, No. 45/8439, in 1977 from La Monsa Motors, a Lotus dealer in New Jersey, U.S.A. He used the car for a year in the U.S. for trips along the Eastern seaboard, to as far down as Atlanta, Georgia, and as far North as Cape Cod. It was then painted black with gold bumpers.

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A few years after arrival in Manila, Andy took No. 8439 apart from a frame-up restoration, the object being a completely stock Elan. The only departure, says Andy, was a new engine  prepared by Vegantune,  an English specialist in Lotus twincams. Andy did all of the restoration work by himself, excluding only painting. This time, No. 8439 was painted British Racing Green with a white belly.
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After about 13 years attending meets and PK runs, Andy brought No. 8439 for repainting. The paint shop was not sympathetic to a restored car and generally spoiled the careful work done in the past. Accordingly, in 1995 Andy again took the car down to the chassis and restored the car again. This time, the object of the restoration was vintage racing. No. 8439 now acquired magnesium strut housings, 26R wheels, light-alloy differential and gearbox casings, an aluminum radiator, and the other special Lotus bits that again became available. Andy's principal source was Tony Thompson Racing in England. The car was now yellow with a white bottom. It also acquired white roundels with the racing number "45." No. 8439 is a Type 45 Lotus.

Notwithstanding the racing bent, No. 8439 was highly restored, with original carpeting, wood dashboard, and even electric windows. In this form, the Lotus was entered in the 1998 Westin Philippine Plaza Concours d' Elegance and won "Best Classic Sports Car" and "Best in Class." The Lotus also was the highest-point car in the Concours, giving way to the eventual winner - a 1948 MG TC - because of its younger age.

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Unfortunately, Andy spun out at a vintage race subsequent to the concours and became very intimate with a cement wall at the back straight of the Subic Racing Circuit. The accident damaged the left-front fender and the suspension and frame at that corner.
And so, 8439's third restoration commenced. "I always want to install a 26R Lotus racing frame," says Andy, "so 8439 acquired one this time." Along with a full-rose-jointed suspension, we might add. Andy also ordered an all-steel engine from QED to replace the Vegantune.
The third restoration was completed in June 2000, and this time No. 8439 is back to its old color of BRG over white. "I hope not to have to restore 8439 a 4th time", says Andy.