When Sussex engineer Frank Nichols set out to build a range of low-cost sports racing cars, he decided to name his newly minted marque Elva as a derivation of the French “elle va” – she goes. And this example certainly does…
Current owner Paul Andrew, a former golf professional and enthusiastic amateur racer, bought the beautifully presented Courier a couple of years ago from Australian Ian Macdonald, with whom the car had demonstrated almost supernatural reliability by taking part in more than 100 races without registering a single retirement.
The fifth Courier built, it was acquired by Andrew in partnership with friend and novice racer Mike Holbrook, who died last year having succumbed to cancer – hence the reason for the car’s sale.
As a tribute to Holbrook’s co-ownership, however, Andrew’s son, Tom, raced the Elva in the Equipe GTS and Equipe pre-63 events at Silverstone last year, putting it on pole for both events ahead of numerous larger and more powerful Jaguar E-types, big Healeys and TVRs.
It really does live up to the giant-killing reputation that was established by Elva almost from the first days of production, when early models achieved hillclimb records at Prescott and Bodiam in the hands of Robbie-Mackenzie Low, while top drivers such as Archie Scott Brown and Carl Haas, Elva’s mid-west US agent, campaigned later cars with notable success.
The last front-engined Elva sports racer was the MkIV – which racked up outright or class wins in races such as the Sebring 12 Hours – after which Nichols turned to building the single-seater FJ100 Formula Junior car and then a rear-engined version, with an 1100cc MkVI taking second place at the Boxing Day Brands Hatch meeting of 1961 after being beaten only by Graham Hill’s three-litre Ferrari.
Nichols introduced the Courier as Elva’s road car offering in 1958, but the model soon proved successful on track with future star Mark Donohue cutting his teeth in one with wins in SCCA production championship events in 1960 and ’61.
Andrew says whoever buys his Courier “needs only to add petrol” in order to start realising the car’s competitive potential. Offered in immaculate condition, it runs a tuned MGA 1600 engine with steel three-bearing crankshaft, forged alloy pistons, twin one-and-three-quarter inch SU carbs and a close-ratio MGA gearbox, driven through an AP Racing paddle clutch to an LSD axle.
Also significant is the fact that the car is not only being offered with a comprehensive spares package (including an extra set of wheels), but also with a complete set of body moulds that will enable the various glass-fibre panels to be replicated quickly and accurately in the event of damage.
What’s stopping you?
In fact, what’s stopping me?
1959 Elva Courier. £35,000
On offer privately from Paul Andrew on 07770 315531 or by e mail:
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