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A Trip Down Memory Lane ... 
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Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:52 am
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Just found the ELVA website and it was a trip down memory lane. In 1959 while in graduate school at the University of Florida I got my SCCA license and ordered a race prepared TR-3. While waiting for the car I saw Charlie Kolb racing an E-production Elva Courier. I cancelled the Triumph order and bought a 1960 Courier from Charlie in Baltimore MD. I drove it back to FL where it was my daily transportation for the next two years. I raced on local courses, including the then new Daytona infield course/banked oval. Maintained the car myself with help from friends in the university sportscar club. Had the 1600 MG engine balanced by legendary Big Daddy Don Garlitz of drag racing fame and fabricated a tuned exhaust. Boy, would that engine rev (see below)! Went on my honeymoon with that car in New England in 1962 and raced at Bridgehampton NY and other NE tracks. Never had a mechanical breakdown or DNF. However, my wife and I needed a bigger car for our return to FL and I traded it for a brand-new Volvo PV544 to a Volvo dealer who had seen me race and was impressed with the Courier. Said he had a customer who would buy it immediately. Deal completed and we left for FL. Weeks later I learned the Elva was still on the dealer's lot as he had let one of his salesmen drive it home the day I traded it, and the guy over-revved, blowing the engine while out dragging an Oldsmobile at a stoplight (remember the Don Garlitz engine balancing?). When they tore the engine down to rebuild and saw all the expensive custom work, they decided it wasn't worth it and rebuilt to overbore factory specs. The potential customer was no longer interested and I have no idea what happened to the car after that. It wasn't very practical on the road, but was such a lot fun to drive. I wish I had it now! Any ideas where it might be?? Unfortunately I no longer have any record of the chassis number. Tom Parkinson

Footnote: I did find some old photos; unfortunately none of me actually racing as I don't think I had any friends with a camera! I had the racing stripes added and hardly ever used the soft top because it was too hard to put up, always leaked, and the side curtains were impossible to see out of. The tonneau cover worked fine in any weather. The group around the car was at a race in Florida; we were all probably trying to figure out why we had to replace the Lucas points and condenser for the third time in 10 minutes. The final picture shows my new bride and I off on our honeymoon. There is a roll bar under the top by this time. We later ripped the exhaust system off in a construction zone in Bath, Maine, and had to have it replaced at a local welding fabrication shop. Only took about two hours, as I remember, just enough time for lunch. Happy days! Tom

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Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:18 pm
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