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Dr. Dan Mitchell and owning an ELVA Courier (or three!) 
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Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:52 am
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Post Dr. Dan Mitchell and owning an ELVA Courier (or three!)
The Mk.4 T-Type prototype with chassis number E1125 and registration number ‘8148 VB’ was purchased by Dr. Dan Mitchell in March 2009.
However, Dan had previously enjoyed a six year ownership of a Courier Mk.2, registration number ‘YNP 255’, which featured in an article in Sporting Motorist magazine in April 1960, detailing its build by GP racing driver David Prophet from a Purchase Tax avoiding “kit”. Dan then had a Mk.4 T-Type, chassis E1172, registration number ‘CLL 594B’ for 9 years having bought this car from Bob Danvers Walker ; this car had previously worn the desirable registration ‘RAD I0’ as Bob Danvers Walker was a well known English RADIO and newsreel announcer. This was the 1964 show car. About a week after Dan had bought the car a weld joining the front passenger side outrigger to the chassis broke away, and on inspection he found that it had only one spot of weld on each side! He simply lined up the chassis and welded it properly, later taking the car to the factory to point out the problem.
Dan amazingly drove over 180,000 miles in the two cars. The only problems with the Mk. 2 Courier were the failure of two rear Spax shock absorbers which occurred at different times when turning into a corner, thankfully at only 20 mph. This time the weld holding the body of the damper to the lower bush eye sheared. Both had two pillar welds instead of being welded right round. Dan put the body of the shock absorber into a bucket of water and welded the lower bush holding back on then replaced the bush, which enabled him to get home! The dampers were later replaced by Spax free of charge. The brake master cylinders on the Mk.4 T-Type are above the pedals and any leaking fluid would drip onto the brake pedal. As a result, his foot slipped off and he hit the rear of a van shortening the car by 9 inches! Tony Ellis rebuilt the nose during the very hot summer of 1976.
Both cars gave the enthusiastic owner enormous pleasure over a period of 15 years and depreciation was zero on both of them. They were fast for that era and surprisingly economical on fuel. However there was no heater on the Mk.2 and one night driving back in freezing fog from London to Shrewsbury on the new M1 motorway, Dan had to stop every 3 miles to scrape the ice off the screen. It was a unnerving journey as unknowingly, the M1 had been closed behind the Courier due to the fog so he neither saw nor heard another car all the way back to Shrewsbury. Dan even stopped and walked to the centre of the motorway but found no cars on the other carriageway. It was a nine hour drive averaging about 20 mph but luckily he was carrying two spare cans of petrol in the boot. He fitted a round Smiths heater the next weekend which was angled so that the driver received most of the heat! The hoods were really tight and rarely used.
Dan was courting his future wife at the time and regularly drove the Mk.4 T-Type the 600 miles from Aberdeen to Dawlish in Devon. The fuel tank was enlarged to 10 galls. It was always necessary to make up individual exhaust systems and one very loud system meant the occupant had to wear ear plugs during the trips to and from Aberdeen! Dan regularly used the car for advisory work on farms and the photograph of ‘CLL 594B’ was taken in Yorkshire after driving down from Scotland in 1970. The silver foil in the nose helped keep the temperature above freezing inside the car! The Courier was a great car for pushing through snow as long as you could follow some tyre tracks! One journey took 9 hours to drive from Harrogate to Aberdeen following in lorry tracks in the snow all the way. Dan later wrote an article in the local Aberdeen newspaper saying how he was always able to leave an MGB for dead at traffic lights while driving to and from work.
Dan’s latest Elva was one of only two MK.4 T-Types fitted with overdrive.The car is featured in an article in Sports Car Graphic published in July 1964. It was originally built in 1963 and retained by Trojan as a demonstrator, later sold during 1965 to Tony Ellis who then in 1966 upgraded it to his SE specification which included a new cylinder head from Barwell of Chessington, a special camshaft from Hendersons, 2 X H6 SU or Minnow fish carburettors, close ratio MGA gears and the optional final drive ratios. The car had benefited from a brand new Zinc plated chassis during a rebuild in about 1990, but had travelled relatively few miles and was put under cover infront of a domestic garage before eventually being purchased by Dan to receive yet more “TLC”. It was soon returned to road use having sailed through its MOT inspection in September 2011. It certainly now has a new lease of life, looking resplendent in Porsche Guards Red, once again set to be enjoyed as a fun sporting road car well able to keep up with modern traffic and remains more than able to see off the occasional MGB!

Dan Mitchell Mk.2 & 4.jpg
Dan Mitchell Mk.2 & 4.jpg [ 216.43 KiB | Viewed 2128 times ]
ELVA Mk.4 T-Type Chassis restoration.jpg
ELVA Mk.4 T-Type Chassis restoration.jpg [ 258.98 KiB | Viewed 2128 times ]
ELVA Mk 4 T Type 1172 in Yorkshire snow.jpg
ELVA Mk 4 T Type 1172 in Yorkshire snow.jpg [ 65.55 KiB | Viewed 2128 times ]
Dan Mitchell 8148 VB.jpg
Dan Mitchell 8148 VB.jpg [ 249.26 KiB | Viewed 2128 times ]
Bob Danvers Walker Mk.4 T-Type RADIO.jpg
Bob Danvers Walker Mk.4 T-Type RADIO.jpg [ 104.89 KiB | Viewed 2118 times ]
Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:18 pm

Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:52 am
Posts: 974
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Post Re: Dr. Dan Mitchell and owning an ELVA Courier (or three!)
Dan has just emailed more recollections to add to his story ....

Dan was fortunate to know Frank Nichols,Tony Ellis and Ken Sheppard and all three were very supportive to him as a student ELVA owner. Their enthusiasm meant that he was never let down for parts or advice. The Mk.4 T-Type hood was later posted to Tony Ellis from Aberdeen for new plastic windows and general refurbishment. It was back in two weeks as good as new.

Frank sold him spares from the factory for the MK2 for cash at trade prices when Dan was an undergraduate. As a Post Grad Engineering student at Reading University he regularly visited Tony Ellis at Eton Wick and Ken Sheppard’s garage at Radlett for parts. Tony took him out for a run in the white ELVA BMW GT160, an experience that he has never forgotten, and when Mk.4 T-Type production moved to Ken Sheppard, Dan called one Saturday to see the new cars being produced to a very high standard and was interested to see the V8 engine being installed in the GT160. Behind Kens garage were several MK.4 T-Type Chassis’s fitted with rear suspension just lying in the grass, including two Sebring chassis with the large lightening holes along the rails. I often wonder where they went.

It was my girlfriend Sue who went up the M1 in the fog and she still 'fondly' remembers the trip and is now a great friend. She knew there was originally no heater in the MK.2 car and so I put her in a sleeping bag for the trip back to Shropshire where we both worked for the College. She had a hot water bottle down the sleeping bag ,was wrapped up like a mummy and a flask of whisky to keep her warm! Fond memories! ;)

Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:18 am
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