Unique of the Week: 1957 Elva MK II Sports Racer

Classic Cars / 6 Comments

Vintage racing has long been a popular hobby. And this rare 1957 Elva MK II fits the bill perfectly.

Motorsports have certainly come a long way since their humble beginnings. While not the safest of professions, some drivers have gone on to become icons, while others are fulfilled simply because they had a chance to be a part of it. And for race car manufacturer Elva, their development of a lightweight, low-cost racer in the 1950s has become known within the industry. The company was founded by Frank G. Nichols in Bexhill, UK in 1956 and he soon produced around 15 units of the Elva MK II.

They featured aluminum, hand-formed bodies and were powered by a standard 1,100 cc Coventry-Climax engine. This particular Elva MK II, now for sale on eBay, is one of only four that currently appears in US and UK vintage races. It was imported to the US in the summer of 1957 and was likely the last one imported. According to the seller, the owner originally painted it red with black stripes and white trim and entered it in the 1958 "Road America 500" with legendary SCCA racer Chuck Dietrich. The car was sold the following year to another SCCA driver who had it repainted the Elva blue and added an auxiliary gas tank in the passenger foot well.

It continued its racing careers with appearances at the "June Sprints" and the 1959 "Road America 500." Along the way it suffered some damage to a front chassis tube, which was repaired, but is still noticeable. In the 1960s, it was modified with a KAMM rear end and a full width windscreen in order to comply with FIA regulations. More than likely, this is the Elva that competed in the first USRRC at Daytona Raceway in 1963. Later in the decade it also competed in some Pennsylvania hill climbs. In the following two decades, it went through a few different owners before one decided to replace the original alloy body.

The new body was also made by the traditional hand-powered English Wheel method. It has now been registered as a vintage racer and has competed in several recent events. However, whoever ends up buying it will need to add their own Climax motor with flywheel and clutch, twin Weber 40 DCOE's and distributor. At the time of this writing, the current bid was $44,544, but the reserve hadn't been met yet. For anyone looking to buy a decently priced rare vintage British-built race car with quite a history, this 1957 Elva MK II is nearly a one-of-kind find. Photos courtesy of sbergeleven

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