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She Goes: 1968 Elva Courier

Elva was a cottage maker of race and road cars in England beginning in 1955. Although production numbers were small, Elvas punched well above their weight due to their agility and simple but effective engineering. Elvas carried Mark Donohue to his first racing championships when he won the SCCA F and E Production titles in 1960 and 1961. Find this rare 1968 Elva Courier Mk IV SE here on eBay in Stratford, Connecticut with bidding at $3750.

Company founder Frank Nichols coined the name Elva from the French words “elle va”, which mean “she goes”—a clever play on words to connote the performance image he was after. He started with race cars, and then began building road cars in 1958. The Courier was produced in many series for the next decade, ending in 1968, making this car among the last Elvas ever made. Elva production was always small, and this Mk IV T-type SE is one of only 8 cars in that particular series. It is said to be the de-tuned test car that Tony Ellis, who was involved with Elva cars and parts, brought to New Zealand in the 1970s.

This RHD car, chassis E1194, was listed for sale on the Elva website in 2007 at 6850 GBP. It’s not clear what happened to the car between 2007 and 2011, when the seller says he had it shipped to the US, but it covered only 22 miles during that time. The car sustained some minor body damage during the trip from New Zealand, and it needs some mechanical help and frame work. It also seems to be missing its hub caps, but since the later Couriers appear to use MGA caps they may not be too hard to replace.

Like all road-going Elvas, this car uses a production engine, in this case a 1798cc MGB engine. It is said to have been detuned from the time it was with Tony Ellis by the removal of a turbocharger. The engine now has a single barrel downdraft carb of unknown specification on it, but there appears to be enough room to mount a conventional MGB dual SU carb setup if the buyer wishes.

This Mk IV car came from the last chapter in Elva history and is even mentioned in a recent book on the topic. The bidding is currently well below the true value of this car. Will its RHD configuration and obscurity in the US hamper the bidding and result in someone picking up this hand-built British sports car at a bargain price?


  1. Foxxy

    nice car. I see spitfire in there somewhere. Also I am wondering if the engine is still running the same compression ratio it was when turbocharged?.

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  2. Barn Finds Member

    Sold for $6,250.00 on 17 bids.

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  3. Richard

    I saw an Elva Courier Mark IV at the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona Beach several years go in restorable condition. Took a ton of pictures, but since I was still using a mechanical camera in those days, the film didn’t advance and the same frame got exposed over and over again and destroyed all the great shots I had. I haven’t seen another one in person since. Wish I had a digital camera back then, it would’ve made my life a LOT easier!

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  4. Elva Racing Roger

    This car has now returned to the UK and will be gently restored. I had the pleasure of meeting with Tony Ellis in NZ some years ago and he was certainly an interesting, talented engineer who later produced the very pretty Elva Cougar coupe powered by a Ford V6 unit. Just the one prototype as the lack of funding precluded further production. A great shame.
    Lots of Elva news on elva.com

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