ELVA began in 1955 with Frank Nichols in a small garage in Bexhill, Sussex, England. Lotus, Cooper and Lola had similar starts. Frank took the name ELVA from a corruption of the French 'elle va' meaning 'she goes' and began building the MK I, a sports racing car.
A chance contact with Chuck Deitrich, an American car racer, in 1956 led to growing sales in the United States. Consequently, many more Elvas are found in the U.S. than in Europe.
The early sports racers evolved during the late-1950's from the MK 1 through the MK 5 - ever more advanced variations on the front-engined race car theme also found in the Lotus 11 and Lola MK 1. During this time Elva remained a small company, producing between 5 and 30 of the various models.
In the early-1960's rear-engine designs were in the ascendancy and Elva produced the MK 6, MK 7 and MK 7S. The MK 7 Series was very similar to, and competed with, the Lotus 23. A total of 72 Elva MK 7 variants were built by 1964 powered by a variety of engines including Porsche, Climax, Lotus Twin Can and BMW.
An Elva 7-Porsche showed up at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in 1963 for the inaugural USRRC race, the Road America 500. With Augie Pabst and Bill Wuesthoff driving, it won, leaving Cobras, Ferrrari's and assorted other 'big iron' behind.
The MK 8 & 8S followed for the new two liter BMW engine. Bruce McLaren also worked with Elva to build a sports racer designed to handle American V8's resulting in the McLaren MK 1 cars.
During this decade of sports racers, Frank also built two Formula Junior models and a road-going sports car, the Courier, most of which were exported to the U.S.
By the mid-60's Frank Nichols left Elva to the Trojan Car Company which carried on production of the Courier and McLaren designs, eventually dropping the Elva name.Also photographed at :