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Elva was a sports car manufacturer based in Hastings, United Kingdom. It was
founded in 1955 by Frank G. Nichols. The name comes from French elle va ("she
goes"). After financial problems caused by failure of the US distributor, the
company was sold to Trojan in 1961 when production moved to Rye, Sussex and
again in 1966 to the main Trojan factory in Croydon. Production ended in 1968.
Frank Nichols's intention was to build a low cost sports/racing car and between
1954 and 1959 a series of models were produced. The original used Standard front
suspension and Ford Anglia rear axle with an overhead valve conversion of a Ford
10 engine. 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.
The main road car, introduced in 1958, was called the Courier and went through a
series of developments throughout the existence of the company. The Mk 1 used a
1500cc MGA engine in a ladder chassis with lightweight 2 seater open glass fibre
bodywork. It was produced in kit form. The Mk II was the same car but a curved
glass windscreen replaced the original flat glass V one and the larger 1600 cc
MGA engine. Approximately 400 were made.
With the Trojan takeover the Mk III was introduced in 1962 and was sold as a
complete car. The chassis was now a box frame moulded into the body. Triumph
rack and pinion steering and front suspension was standardised. A closed coupe
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 coupe 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.
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
There was another Elva car company that lasted for one year, 1907, and was based
in Paris, France.