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THE BOOK

  The Elva Story - Part 1
As time permits, I would like to share more of the history of Elva Cars with you, although this can only be a glimpse of the full Elva Story otherwise you will not buy the proposed Elva book!!


Roger Dunbar
 
 

Perhaps I could firstly present you with views which show where the cars were built over a period of some twelve years.


Frank G. Nichols had a small garage business in London Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, England, and this was to become the birthplace of 'Elva' cars during 1955. The early cars were built in the garage workshop and business activities included the nearby 'fish & chip' shop which was run by Frank's older brother John.


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First Factory - Bexhill-on-Sea


As the demand and interest in the cars built by the Elva Engineering Co. Ltd increased, it became necessary to expand the workshop premises, and further lock-up garages were found behind the 'York Hotel' a few yards away. All these buildings still exist.

The popular L.R.G. and Elva o.h.i.v. conversions and first sports racers were conceived and built in these rather cramped premises, but there were soon even more pressures on space following the suggestion that Elva should produce a road-going sports car.

The Elva Courier soon proved to be in great demand, and was an immediate race winner particularly in the States. Despite additional space being found in the Old Drill Hall in Ore, it was obvious that much improved and enlarged workshops would be required. Surprisingly, Bexhill council were not very helpful and so Frank obtained finance and supervised the building of a purpose built factory in Sedlescombe Road North, in Hastings, East Sussex, and the new factory opened in early 1959.


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Main Factory - Hastings


It had every facility and Elva Cars Ltd. produced several hundred cars before disaster struck in 1961 when an American distributor failed to pay for cars received and on route. Elva Cars Ltd. was forced into liquidation, but limited production of the Courier and development of the Mk.6 sports racer continued through into 1962.

Frank Nichols was able to regroup and establish a reformed company (Elva Cars 1961 Ltd.) in a smaller factory unit in Rye, East Sussex. The Elva Mk.6 through to the Mk.8S sports racing cars were built at Rye together with the early production McLaren cars.


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The Rye Workshops


The Elva Courier production had been taken over by Trojan Ltd. and the various Courier variants were built at their massive factory in Purley Way, Croydon, Surrey, until Trojan finally took control of Elva completely. Gradually the name was dropped following the tragic death of Bruce McLaren and the Trojan entry into Formula One etc.


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Croydon


(The various factory views are from my own collection of Elva photographs and are but a few of the large number in the Elva archives. If transferred to another web site or copied, I would ask that the source is acknowledged.)


In the next part
The very first 'Elva' and the start of production following the experiences gained in the C.S.M ... click here to continue

 
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