Elva MKI/B Sports Racer

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MKI/B Sports Racer





Elva was a sports and racing car manufacturing company based in Bexhill, then Hastings and Rye, East Sussex, United Kingdom. The company was founded in 1955 by Frank G. Nichols. The name comes from the French phrase elle va ("she goes").

Frank 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, based on the CSM car built nearby in Hastings by Mike Chapman, 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. After six Mk1 cars had been built, the Elva became available for 1956 in Mk1/B form with a streamlined two-seater body (built in glassfibre by Falcon Shells, an offshoot of Ashley Laminates) and the 1,098cc Coventry Climax FWA racing engine. Although glassfibre would become almost universal for this kind of low-volume production, its use by Elva at this time was nothing less than pioneering. The other major change made on the Mk1/B was the adoption of Elva's own independent wishbone/coil spring front suspension. About 25 were made. While awaiting delivery of the CSM, Nichols finished second in a handicap race at Goodwood on 27 March 1954, driving a Lotus. "From racing a Ford-engined CSM sports car in 1954, just for fun but nevertheless with great success, Frank Nichols has become a component manufacturer. The intermediate stage was concerned with the design of a special head, tried in the CSM and the introduction of the Elva car which was raced with success in 1955." The cylinder head for the 1,172 cc Ford engine, devised by Malcolm Witts and Harry Weslake, featured overhead inlet valves.

On 22 May 1955 Robbie Mackenzie-Low climbed Prescott in the sports Elva to set the class record at 51.14 sec. Mackenzie-Low also won the Bodiam Hill Climb outright at the end of the season.

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