Pandemic Project: 1960 Elva Courier Mk II

The Elva Courier was similar to Lotus, Lola, Turner, Berkeley, and many other cars — a small and lightweight sports car based on British components. This one has been a “Covid project” for the restorer/seller and is listed for sale here on craigslist. The price: $20,000. You won’t have to travel far to race the car after picking it up as it’s located near the famous Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.

The seller tells us that the car was originally raced but damaged and later converted to a street car. It was stored in 1972 and only recently resurrected. Unfortunately, no racing history is included in the ad; hopefully, the seller can fill in the car’s history for anyone interested in it. The finishing standard seems to be quite high although according to the seller it is not a show car.  A lot of parts were replaced during the process.

As you can see from this original brochure, the Elva was a very small car with minimal occupant protection from the elements. Elva had previously built racing cars in a Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex. The story goes that in 1958, an American agent for Elva racing cars suggested to Frank Nichols (head of Elva engineering) that a dual-purpose road-going/sports racing car could sell in the USA. Pretty soon a prototype was built and from that came “production,” eventually totaling around 600 cars.

While the seller doesn’t include many pictures, this one illustrates the extent of the restoration. Like an MGA, the floor pans are plywood. Being a racing car, this particular example doesn’t have a top or side curtains.

The engine is from an MGA; I believe the one in the car for sale is a 1622 cc version although it is listed in the ad as a 1600 cc engine. The seller states that the car still needs some tweaks and that it has only been driven 30 miles since completion. Honestly, with some testing, this looks like a fairly inexpensive vintage race car that you won’t see many of in the paddock — what do you readers think? Special thanks to Matt R. for sending this tip in!


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  1. sir_mike

    Would be a fun car on or off the track.Next owner will be a lucky person.

    Like 3
  2. Gerard Frederick

    Haven´t heard the name Elva in decades. It seems to me, this is a sleeping beauty awaiting a loving car guy to complete it and enjoy. Should be loads of fun and not too costly since MG parts are readily available. Maybe invest some dollars on the interior to make it more liveable, a bit of comfort is always a plus.

    Like 1
  3. Robert Thomas

    Front looks Costin-influenced.

    Like 1
  4. Howie Mueler

    Looks cool, but i really do not know much about them.

  5. OldGTRacer

    I have raced these and raced against various Elvas for years and they are a fun car. Imagine racing an MGA with only half the weight..good manners and lots of opportunities in the vintage racing world where these are fairly common.

    Many have upgraded their early cars from MGA running gear to MGB gaining a couple of hundred cc’s of additional power and additional reliability too. Otherwise the cars are fairly straightforward to work on and maintain.

    The price on this car with it’s rudimentary roll bar is high. These can easily be found with logbooks and history for $20K all day long. Better prepped cars will cost a bit more. The Elva is a nice entry car to the world of vintage racing and less plebian than the MGs running the same motors, etc.

    Like 3
  6. Martin Horrocks

    Can´t add much to OldGTRacer´s helpful post except to say that these were important cars in both UK and US, usually bought by people who wanted to race at the weekend.

    I agree price a bit high oin this. It´s nicely done, but presume the motor is stock, so it´s not a racing proposition. But nice as is for autosolo and a car which will encourage you to work on it.

    Bit of history, Elva built the early McLaren sports cars, which were known as McLaren-Elvas.

  7. Bob

    The first McLaren USRRC/Can-Am Cars were built by Elva…I believe.

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