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"Whenever I drive this car I grin!" .. Courier Mk.3 #E1096 
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Post "Whenever I drive this car I grin!" .. Courier Mk.3 #E1096
Regular visitors to the ELVA website and Forum will know that I enjoy sharing the stories of ELVA ownership, past or present. This one from Neil Korpi in Minnesota. Build details of his Courier show as "Ordered May 1963; LHD roadster; colour white with black trim; fitted with 1798cc MGB with # 18 GUH 8774; sold to KEYES and shipped in October 1963." Keyes was a US dealership.

Neil tells .. "I met up with a friend, Mark Brandow, at Sebring in 1978. He was vintage racing his MGTC and I was the “pit crew”. My favorite pastime involved wandering around the paddock looking at all the exotic old cars and talking to the people caring for them. I think I was most impressed by a couple of Panhards with their unshrouded polished aluminum air cooled supercharged motors that switched from 4 cycle to 2 cycle when the revs got up around 3500 rpm. What an amazing sound they produced. There were a couple of Elva coupes that I thought looked very tidy, though I didn’t follow how they did during the races. A couple of months later, back in Minneapolis, I was checking the Sunday classified cars for sale and saw an advert for a Elva Courier, not running, located near Watertown, South Dakota. The next week, after some phone calls, Mark and I headed for Watertown with a trailer and $3000 cash. We ended up on a farm west of Watertown, looking at a car in a shed filled with debris of various sorts. After putting air in the tires and moving a bunch of crap, we pushed it out of the shed, hooked a battery up to the starter and turned the engine over. Mark, owner of Quality Coaches, declared the drivetrain to be ok or fixable and so I paid the man (Mr Rick Goodell, I believe), got the car up on the trailer and my 35 year love affair began! Mr. Goodell said he thought he was the second owner, had found the car in a junkyard and the title had been owned by a bank. Evidently the car had been repossessed after breaking down. Mr. Goodell could not find any local mechanic who would work on his “foreign car” so it ended up sitting for years in his shed. Mark said I could use a corner of his shop to “ take it all apart, then put it all back together”, so I did.

The engine has no serial number and the only number stamped on the plate is the vin E1096. Turns out the engine is a BMC 1800cc 5-main block, balanced, ported and polished head with big valves, mated to a early overdrive transmission. I rebuilt everything and managed to race it late that summer at Brainard International Raceway. I brought it back to BIR in 1979 but didn’t want to turn it into a track car, so it’s been street-only since then. Street-only has turned out to be a few autocrosses and most of the “blue highways” in America. I have enjoyed every one of the thousands of miles we have travelled together over the years, and my faithful car has never let me down. The SU’s had been replaced with a Mikune 2 barrel side draft (I thought it was a Weber at first). I put in a electronic ignition, other than that, the car remains pretty much as it came.

Around 1990, someone from The Duplicate Car Company slipped a card under the windshield wiper, asking if I would consider letting the car be used as a movie prop. It eventually became the feature car for Equinox, (a horrible movie). During the filming, the car was painted BRG and transported to Utah where it got dropped from a lowboy, with cameras strapped to the body, breaking one of the axle shafts. Unable to find a spare, they welded the spider gears to finish filming. I learned about it from a buddy who owns a foreign car junkyard. He called me and said someone was looking for a Riley half axle in Utah and it was for my car! When the car was returned, I was devastated. The movie people were very nice about paying for all the damage. Fortunately, Mike Straub, the junkyard owner, came up with a stash of NOS parts and completely rebuilt the rear axle and differential. The body damage from the cameras and drop meant the whole car had to be stripped down to the fiberglass and repainted. Since then, everything has been normal.

A few years later, another card appeared under the windshield wiper. This one was from Don Kruzan who was putting together a Elva Registry and wanted to take a few pictures for a book that was being worked on. Just spotted my car parked on the street and was blown away, said it was probably the only Elva Courier in Minnesota and the nicest one he had seen. He took the pics, jotted down all the info I had and later sent me some tech info. And that’s it til now."

The pictures show two rather faded images of the Courier when bought in 1978 plus three far more recent showing the true colour. Neil commented .. "When I drive this car I grin! It is my all-time favourite ride. I've had so many great adventures, and a few desperate moments, with this car over our thirty plus years together ... I just cannot help but to smile!"

That's what it is all about Neil .. great to read THANK YOU. :D

Courier E1096 (1978).jpg
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Courier E1096 (rear).jpg
Courier E1096 (rear).jpg [ 79.54 KiB | Viewed 1998 times ]
Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:27 am
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:25 pm
Posts: 79
Location: Albany, NY USA
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Post Re: "Whenever I drive this car I grin!" .. Courier Mk.3 #E10
I rented Equinox years ago because I was told it featured an Elva. It was a dark movie literally and figuratively but I wouldn’t call it horrible. So much of Equinox was shot in the dark or rain that I remembered your Elva as a coupe. I guess the top was always up. A young Lara Flynn Boyle in the passenger seat of your Elva certainly added redeeming value much like Ann Margret in the Elvis Elva saved Viva Las Vegas. Singing race car driver? Give me a break!
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Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:43 am
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