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Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread! 
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:09 am
Posts: 68
Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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Post Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
Hi everyone! My name is Mike Clifford. Some of you may know my Dad of the same name. Let me first give you a little background info on the car I'll be building. It is a 1964 Elva Courier Mark IV, serial #1187. The car first came to our shop about 8 years ago, where it was built as a kind of car-for-hire from our shop. That didn't last long, as one of our customers decided to buy the car outright and race it. Here is a shot of the car at that stage:
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The car was run for about two years pretty successfully before the event. We brought the car to the street course in Pittsburgh, where it was to meet its end.

After this, my Dad bought the car back and sold some things like the Prather MGB motor and dry sump system. The remnants sat outside until this past October, when he gave the car to me as a birthday gift.

I'm really excited as I only dreamed I would someday be able to own my own vintage race car! I've been very lucky to race the Lotus Cortina, but it is actually co-owned by my Dad and another one of our customers.

Current pictures in the next post so this one doesn't get too long!!


Last edited by michaelsvintage on Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:16 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:09 am
Posts: 68
Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
Here are some pictures of the body and chassis as they currently stand! First, the body:

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And what's left of the chassis:
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Got some work to do! :)


Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:49 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:09 am
Posts: 68
Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
A few updates! Got some of the rough fiberglass done on the nose:
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Also picked up a Triumph Spitfire chassis that will be donating the area between the front bumper and the firewall!
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Last but not least, cleaned out all the wiring and removed the dashboard.
Here's a shot of sme of the harness and the old fuse box(who needs that?):
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The pile of extra weight and the dash:
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The top of the dash is facing right, by the way.

Next on my list is to remove all the gauges from the dash and surround, then decide which gauge setup I will be using and make an aluminum dash to fit those!


Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:08 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:09 am
Posts: 68
Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
Small update. Got the gauges out of the dash and got it ready to return to the car:
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I also unearthed an aluminum gauge pod that was made for the car before its demise:
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I might need to see how it works! :D

Also, there were rumblings about some additional fiberglass work getting done over the weekend!


Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:09 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:09 am
Posts: 68
Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
The bodywork is on hold until things warm up due to space constraints, so that leaves me some time to think about things way before I need to! :D As such, I've been putting a little thought into color choices and would love your opinions. Here is how the car looked before:
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This is my (badly photoshopped) idea at the moment:
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I went with this scheme to integrate the dark blue which is one of the shop colors (blue/yellow) with a bit of a change to differentiate the car as mine. I also thought the silver stripe would match the silver bumperettes on the four corners well.

Feel free to share/photoshop any ideas you have! I'd love to see what you guys come up with!

For any potential photoshoppers: I found a good amount of photos of the car online last night! Here are some, I can provide more if you would like!

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Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:10 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:00 am
Posts: 57
Location: South Jersey, USA
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
Nice report Mike Jr.
Looking forward to seeing this back on track, and what it took to get there!

A bit surprised to see the live rear axle. Original?


Gary C


Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:48 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:09 am
Posts: 68
Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
Victoracing wrote:
Nice report Mike Jr.
Looking forward to seeing this back on track, and what it took to get there!

A bit surprised to see the live rear axle. Original?


Gary C


Thanks Gary, I'm looking forward to it too! The independent rear suspension was only an option on the MkIV, and the original buyer of this car couldn't man up and do it :x

You seem to suggest Mike that the irs was an optional 'kit' .. It is true that there was a point in the production that there was a choice of the rear suspension fitted to the Mk.4 Courier but the cars were factory built.
As from E1178 to the final E1210 all cars are shown as irs T-Types and a high percentage from the first listed as a 'T' being E1124. RAD


I'm okay with it though; I have plenty of fun driving the Lotus Cortina, and the live rear axle only makes me feel better when I beat cars with "better" suspension! :)


Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:31 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:52 am
Posts: 887
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
Mike ... Great to see that you will be giving the Courier a future. Good job Sir.
The build details for E1187 show the car was built towards the end of the Trojan-Elva period as an 'open T', lhd, colour red, black trim, no engine number but of course the '1800cc ' MGB unit , and completed by Ken Sheppard. To my knowledge all of the cars he built on behalf of Trojan were to the T-Type specification that meaning with irs, however as mentioned many times these cars are individuals and it may be that it was produced with the beam axle. However, the last car listed as 'open beam' is E1177 .. unless there is any confusion with numbers then it strongly suggests this did have the irs originally. A return to irs would seem appropriate, but most importantly, enjoy the car whatever rear end it has; that is what they were built for!


Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:08 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:09 am
Posts: 68
Location: Hopewell Junction, NY
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
Oh wow, that's some great info! Seems interesting that the car would have been swapped to RHD at some point...it would be seriously cool to have the IRS though! Why would the car "of course" have the MGB engine? It was my understanding that the MkIV could have a 1500cc Cortina motor as well, which was our planned choice for durability/cost/parts availability reasons. Thanks so much for sharing though, I'd love to learn as much as I can about the car's history!

All I knew about it thus far was it was imported through Carl Haas in Chicago.


Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:42 am
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Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:52 am
Posts: 887
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Post Re: Mike's Elva Courier MkIV Build Thread!
Carl Haas had been involved with Elva from the earliest days but became the official importer after the financial hiccup in 1961 when he helped rescue cars marooned dock side in the States and became a major shareholder in the new Elva company. So I would have expected your car to have entered the US via Carl. The 1500cc GT Ford unit was not a popular engine with only 9 cars supplied out of 210, however the twin cam version was offered for the Sebring model. Some owners fitted their own engines if the car was destined to race, but remember Trojan were not interested in building race cars as they wanted to establish a Courier production line rather than the hand built individuals from Bexhill and Hastings. They relented occasionally and supported the introduction of the Sebring and a number of lightweight models towards the end of the production run. The increasingly prestigious relationship with McLaren and the worry of future supplies of the MGB units turned Trojan away from the Courier and they were happy to have an agreement with Ken Sheppard and Tony Ellis to complete and support the last of the cars, but the MGB power had been a good and popular engine with many tuning opportunities including Barwell and others. You might be aware that the irs was effectively as per the TVR Griffith of the period and parts can be sourced.
Would be interested in a pic of the chassis plate. Since the mid 1960's many cars will have travelled across the pond and sometimes adapted to rhd/lhd as appropriate but a change to the beam axle unexpected, UNLESS of course the irs was damaged or unserviceable and the only option was to use the more easily found beam axle. There is little doubt that E1187 was MGB powered and an irs car originally.


Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:36 am
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