Elva Owners Group

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Latest Activity: Sep 25, 2014

Elva Car Owners

Elva was a sports car manufacturing company based in Hastings, United Kingdom.

It was founded in 1955 by Frank G. Nichols. The name comes from French phrase elle va ("she goes"). After financial problems caused by the failure of the US distributor, the company was sold to Trojan in 1961, and production moved to Rye, Sussex; and again in 1966 to the main Trojan factory in Croydon. Ken Sheppard Customised Sports Cars of Shenley, Hertfordshire bought Elva from Trojan in 1965 but production ended in 1968.

Racing cars
Elva Mk VIIFrank Nichols's intention was to build a low-cost sports/racing car, and a series of models were produced between 1954 and 1959. The original model was based on the CSM car built in nearby Hastings by Mike Chapman but used Standard Ten front suspension rather than Ford swing axles and a Ford Anglia rear axle with an overhead valve conversion of a Ford 10 engine. About 25 were made. This went through various changes up to the 1958 Mark IV with 1100 cc Coventry-Climax engine and independent rear suspension with inboard brakes. The Mark V was designed for Formula Junior events and had a DKW engine in a tubular steel chassis. It was very successful until the Formula was taken over by rear engined cars in 1960. Over 150 engines were made.

Around 1965-1966 Elva made a very successful series of Mk 8 sports racers mostly with 1.8 litre BMW engines (modified from the 1.6 litre by John Nerus) and some with 1.15 litre Holbay-Ford engines.

Elva Courier
Elva Courier Production 1958-1969
600 approx made
Class sports car
Wheelbase 90 in (2286 mm)
Length 154 in (3912 mm)
Width 60 in (1524 mm)
The main road car, introduced in 1958, was called the Courier and went through a series of developments throughout the existence of the company. Initially all the cars were exported, home market sales not starting until 1960.

The Mk 1 used a 1500cc MGA or Riley 1.5 litre engine in a ladder chassis with Elva designed independent front suspension. The engine was set well back in the chassis to help weight distribution which produced good handling but encroached on the cockpit making the car a liitle cramped.The chassis carried lightweight 2 seater open glass fibre bodywork. It was produced in kit form. After about 50 cars were made it was upgraded to the Mk II which was the same car but a curved glass windscreen taken from the MGB replaced the original flat glass V-shaped one and the larger 1600 cc MGA engine. Approximately 400 of the Mk I and II were made.

With the Trojan takeover the Mk III was introduced in 1962 and was sold as a complete car. On the home market a complete car cost £965 or the kit version £716. The chassis was now a box frame moulded into the body. Triumph rack and pinion steering and front suspension was standardised. A closed coupé body was also available with either a reverse slope Ford Anglia type rear window or a fastback. The MGA engine was used at first to be followed by the MGB version and later the Ford Cortina GT unit was available. The final version, the fixed head coupé Mk IV T type used Lotus twin cam engines with the body modified to give more interior room. It could be had with all independent suspension and four wheel disc brakes. 210 were made.

GT160 Production 1964
Class sports car
Wheelbase 93 in (2362 mm)
Length 150 in (3810 mm)
Width 60 in (1524 mm)
There was also a GT160 which never got beyond production of three prototypes. It used a BMW dry sump engine of 2 litre capacity with bodywork styled by Englishman Trevor Frost (also known as Trevor Fiore, and who also designed the Trident) and made by Fissore of Turin. It weighed 11 cwt and had 185 bhp so would have had very impressive performance but was deemed too costly to put into series production.

Other companies
There was another Elva car company that lasted for one year, 1907, and was based in Paris, France.

^ a b Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1579582931.
^ a b c d e f Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2.
^ a b Robson, Graham (2006). A-Z British Cars 1945-1980. Devon, UK: Herridge & Sons. ISBN 0954106393.
^ a b Sedgwick, Michael; Gillies (1993). A-Z of cars 1945-1970. UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1870979397.

External links

For Sale Listings

Courier MK IV T Series

Started by Nick. Last reply by Bob Engberg Dec 3, 2008. 1 Reply

Comment Wall


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Comment by Stan Mason on June 9, 2010 at 6:21am

If you are interested in Elva, I would recommend the " " site for additional information on Elva Mk VII (2 of which are for sale). If you would like to see a large gathering of Elvas come to the Elva 55 reunion at Elkhart Lake / Road America in 10-12 September, 2010. There will be a listing of cars attending soon with the online register being prepared on the Elva Website.

Stan Mason
Comment by mike wood on June 8, 2010 at 5:20pm
I used to race a Mk7 with 2 litre BMW, but Edgar Barth used to Hill Climb an Elva-Porsche. Do any still survive?
Comment by Bob Engberg on November 27, 2009 at 6:02pm
Emailed with Rog Dunbar yesterday and he is going to call VSCDA about our interest in an Elva Reunion at their September 2010 race. I hope and think that it will happen.
Comment by Bud Byrnes on November 27, 2009 at 3:20pm
I am interested in bringing the Lutz Courier Chassis # 1042 to the Elva Reunion, if it is on. I was scheduled to go to the Sebring event, but my illness prevented me from attending. My leukemia is under control now and I am pursuing a limited racing schedule. I did 4 events in 2009 and lookforward to participating 4-6 in 2010 please let me know what is happening.
Bud Byrnes
Santa Monica, CA
Comment by Bob Engberg on October 8, 2009 at 10:28pm
Thor Thorson and Bob Youngdale and I have discussed some sort of 2010 Elva Reunion at Elkhart Lake next fall. Thor was going to talk with Rog Dunbar this week about it. News would appear on the Elva website.
Comment by Bob Engberg on July 29, 2009 at 3:25pm
Put three new videos taken from my Elva on YouTube. Search for "Portland Historics 2009"
Comment by Tucker J. Madawick on January 30, 2009 at 5:47pm
Gentlemen, I have a '59 Courier. It's been converted to RHD and looks like it has been en ex SCCA racer from the east coast. I'm trying to get some history on the car, but have had little luck so far. Who ever designed and built the car built was very professional. It's a neat little car, has all the right stuff for a reliable fun car,1622 A powered w/ cr. gears. I've race against a couple of other cars in VSCDA of which is my race group. Bye for now.
Comment by Bob Engberg on November 20, 2008 at 6:25pm
A "1958 Elva MK 3" sports racer is for sale in California. It is complete but needs total restoration. It is the ex-Tom Greatorex car. Contact me for details.
Comment by Bob Engberg on November 20, 2008 at 5:49pm
Just FYI I have put my 1957 MK II up for sale. There are some photos and details at and at
Comment by butch gilbert on April 24, 2008 at 10:21am
I have for sale a 4.55 diff with quaife all new 3 races ago new r&p brgs $1800

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