The name Elva is French, 'ell va', meaning 'she goes'. A British man named Frank Nichols created the company in 1954 after he successfully modified his British CSM (Chapman Sports Motor) race car. The vehicle had great success and became widely popular; he then created an engine kit for Ford flathead engines.
Around 1957 he began selling racing/sports car in American and Britain. The Elva Courier is one of his greatest examples. It was designed by Tim Fry, a freelance designer, and Peter Nott of Elva Engineering. The vehicle was built using British components such as a 1500cc MGA power plant and suspension from the Riley 1500.
Walter Dickson was the U.S. importer of Elva vehicles and the owner of Continental Motors Ltd. He had influenced Nichols to sell the Elva vehicles in the United States and even provided much of the financial backing. In the early 1960's, Dickson ran into financial troubles and eventually went to jail. This left Nichols in financial distress due to shipping charges. In 1962, Trojan Ltd. agreed to buy the manufacturing operation of Elva Cars Ltd. This freed Nichols financially and allowed for the pursuit of designing and building racing vehicle once again. He created such masterpieces as Formula Juniors, Elva Porsche, Elva McLaren Can-Am cars, and the Carol Shelby's King Cobra.
Trojan had mild success at building and maintaining Elva vehicles. The Courier was still being produced but production was still low. Special variants of the car were built to help promote the vehicle. The GT160 was a successful marriage of Italian Styling and German Engineering. A BMW, 2 liter engine was provided to power the sports car. Sadly, due to logistical issues, the vehicle never went into full production.
Trojan was later absorbed by McLaren. Attempts were made to revitalize the Elva model line but resulted in little success. The Elva model line was discontinued in 1969.