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1959 Elva Courier

1959 Elva Courier

1959 Elva Courier

The main road car, introduced in 1958, was called the Courier and went through a series of developments throughout the existence of the company. Initially all the cars were exported, home market sales not starting until 1960. Mark Donohue had his first racing successes in an Elva Courier winning the SCCA F Prod Championship in 1960 and the SCCA E Prod Championship in 1961.

The Mk 1 used a 1500 cc MGA or Riley 1.5 litre engine in a ladder chassis with Elva designed independent front suspension. The engine was set well back in the chassis to help weight distribution, which produced good handling but encroached on the cockpit making the car a little cramped. The chassis carried lightweight 2-seater open glassfibre bodywork. It was produced as a complete car for the US and European market and available in kit form for the UK market. After about 50 cars were made it was upgraded to the Mk II which was the same car but fitted with a proprietary curved glass windscreen, replacing the original flat-glass split type, and the larger 1600 cc MGA engine. Approximately 400 of the Mk I and II were made.

The rights to the Elva Courier were acquired by Trojan in 1962, and production moved to the main Trojan factory in Purley Way, Croydon, Surrey. Competition Press announced: “Elva Courier manufacturing rights have been sold to Lambretta-Trojan in England. F-Jr Elva and Mark IV sports cars will continue to be built by Frank Nichols as in the past.”

With the Trojan takeover the Mk III was introduced in 1962 and was sold as a complete car. On the home market a complete car cost £965 or the kit version £716. The chassis was now a box frame moulded into the body. Triumph rack and pinion steering and front suspension was standardised. A closed coupé body was also available with either a reverse slope Ford Anglia-type rear window or a fastback. In autumn 1962: “Elva Courier Mk IV was shown at London Show. New coupe has all-independent suspension, fiberglass body, MG engine. Mk III Couriers were also shown. Though previously equipped with MG-A engines, new versions will be equipped with 1800cc MG-B engine.” Later the Ford Cortina GT unit was available. The final version, the fixed head coupé Mk IV T type used Lotus twin-cam engines with the body modified to give more interior room. It could be had with all independent suspension and four wheel disc brakes. 210 were made.

Ken Sheppard Customised Sports Cars of Shenley, Hertfordshire acquired the Elva Courier from Trojan in 1965 but production ended in 1968.

1959 Elva Courier Gallery

In Detail

price $ $2 895 USD
engine Inline 4
valvetrain OHV
displacement 1489 cc / 90.9 in³
bore 73.15 mm / 2.88 in
stroke 88.9 mm / 3.5 in
compression 8.3:1
power 53.7 kw / 72.0 bhp @ 5500 rpm
specific output 48.35 bhp per litre
bhp/weight bhp per tonne
torque 104.9 nm / 77.4 ft lbs @ 3500 rpm
f brake size mm / in
r brake size mm / in
curb weight 721 kg / 1590 lbs
wheelbase 2311 mm / 91.0 in
front track 1278 mm / 50.3 in
rear track 1270 mm / 50.0 in
length 3861 mm / 152.0 in
width 1511 mm / 59.5 in
height 1257 mm / 49.5 in
transmission 4-Speed
gear ratios 3.64:1, 2.21:1, 1.37:1, 1.00:1, :1
top speed ~156.9 kph / 97.5 mph
0 – 60 mph ~12.4 seconds
0 – 1/4 mile ~18.2 seconds