Watkins Glen to stage two-day Elva celebration

| 9 Feb 2012

Frank Nichols' Elva marque is to be the focus of two days of celebrations in the USA from 21-22 April.

The English south coast concern operated from through the 1950s selling affordable racers, initially using mainly Ford running gear, and ultimately the Courier road car.

The company's name was taken from the French for "she goes" (Elle va) and it is to be honoured at the International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen as its season opener.

The Elva is described as "deceptively simple – and surprisingly competitive" by the publisher of an award-winning book about the marque, Elva: The Cars, The People, The History, by racing historian János Wimpffen. Wimpffen will be the weekend’s keynote speaker before activities move to Watkins Glen International.

Wimpffen will discuss the company’s origins as well as its successes and failures at the track and its influence on better-known marques, such as the fledgling, eponymous outfit set up by a young Bruce McLaren.

The cars may have humble roots, but they were fiercely competitive, American great Mark Donohue winning the SCCA national championship in 1961 in his first racer, a Courier. Today, they are extremely popular in historic racing.

Saturday’s salute to Elva will include a display of the cars at the Center. They will be on display again the following day at the start/finish line and Victory Circle area at WGI. Parade laps around the circuit are also planned.

Elva owners and enthusiasts are invited to participate in all activities. Interested owners should contact Racing Research Center Administrator Max Neal at 001 607 535 9044 or at max@racingarchives.org

Main image (Ron Nelson): Berdie Martin corners on the absolute limit in his Elva Mk IV at Wilmot Hills in 1959