1965 Elva
Mk8 Sports Racer

Desirable Mk 8 with 2.0 Liter BMW power, as originally delivered. Undisputed history and beautifully restored.

  • VIN80-05
  • Exterior ColorWhite
  • Interior ColorBlack
  • MileageTMU
  • EngineBMW M10 2.0L inline 4-cylinder
  • TransmissionHewland 5-speed transaxle
  • StatusInventory
  • StockFJ2860


1965 Elva Mk 8 Sports Racer
s/n 80/005
White with black interior

Launched in 1954 by Frank Nichols, the very first Elva returned to the pits after the inaugural test drive driven by a Frenchman. Upon arriving, Nichols asked how the car was and the Frenchman replied in “Elle Va” (she goes), thus earning the name. In a few short years, Elva would become one of the most competitive lightweight race cars earning significant wins throughout the motorsports glory years of the 50s and 60s. Racing head-to-head with the likes of Lotus, Lola, Marcos, Peerless, and Turner, Elva Engineering factory teams and privateers proved the value of their lightweight design and impressive power to weight ratio. Powered by a range of engines from the early side-valve Ford, to sports-racers powered by Porsche and BMW engines, and to the big V8 McLaren-Elva CanAm cars, the lightweight Elva MK series with its space-frame chassis, independent suspension, and reliable power plants were favorites among racers that demanded the latest in technological advancements.

Although the earlier series cars were formidable, the Mk VI and VII would prove to be one of the most visually striking cars in part due to the impossibly low profile, minimal frontal cross section, and “lay down” design would deliver shotgun-like acceleration and slot-car cornering worthy of the best drivers. By 1964-1966, the Mk VIII would mark the last of this highly successful Eric Marsden design incorporating some of the best features gleaned from years of track experience. Offered with a longer wheelbase and wider track, most Mark VIII cars were BMW powered using the same tried and true Mark VII aspects including a tight package engine/gearbox unit, disc brakes, and lightweight suspension. The improved length and width dimensions of the Mark VIII vastly improved handling, particularly at higher speeds. And while race cars of this period were frequently altered, enhanced, or modified to suit newer technology as seasons progressed, the Elva Mk VIII remained highly competitive well into the late 1960s and early 70s.

This Elva Mk VIII is one of only twelve produced. Chassis 80/005 is currently outfitted with a BMW M10 engine and mated to a Hewland FT200 5-speed gearbox. Originally sold with a BMW engine and HD5 gearbox, the car was built to standard specifications and sold June 3, 1965, to the first owner. Although early detailed history of the car is not extensive, Elva experts concur that this car was imported to North America by Carl Haas and campaigned by Fred Ashplant in mid-Atlantic SCCA and other events between 1966-1973. By 1985 the car was purchased as a project by restorer and Bristol engine expert Mike DiCola. Though the engine and gearbox were not with the car and much of the body panels were missing, DiCola was intent on restoring the car. As many projects often resolve, DiCola realized it would be best suited to another more engaged patron. A wise choice as the car would be purchased in 1992 by active vintage racing driver Larry Kessler. Under Kessler’s ownership, shortly after purchase, the car was treated to a comprehensive restoration by Elva Racing Components, UK and Vintage Racing Services, CT. Kessler kept the car until 2005 successfully campaigning it in approximately 50 vintage racing events (logbook included) with many first-place finishes, few DNFs, and several Enduro finishes. A minor 1994 incident, limited to cosmetic repairs, occurred at Summit Point. The car was repaired in a manner consistent with regular professional services while under Kessler’s care and returned to racing throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s. Logbook racing entries recorded through the early 2000s under Kessler ownership are coupled with documentation supporting professional care from Vintage Racing Services, race prep and post-race care, noting thousands of dollars for engine work, brake system work, and suspension specification reviews performed on the car through 2003. In 2005, the car was sold to the next two subsequent owners who privately maintained the car until it was sold to the current owner in 2015. Originally intending to drive the car in vintage racing, over the past decade, the current owner has participated in three non-competitive track days at a club track facility. Although minor services have been performed as needed under current ownership, the car has been stored indoors with minimal recent use.

Today this historically important Elva Mk VIII is presented in excellent condition, formerly prepared for vintage racing, featuring cosmetics and race preparation typical of older restorations benefiting from preservation and indoor static storage over the past decade. The current cosmetic condition is very good overall with mild evidence of use shown on the various body panels, typical of race cars with nominal recent use. The beautifully shaped spider body has fit and finish better than most vintage race cars including attention to detail in panel fit, windshield fit, and smooth operation when raising the body sections to reveal the frame and mechanical features. Details included cleverly painted faux headlights with clear Perspex headlight covers, a central red stripe, a fully curved side profile continuous windscreen, and a beneficial front air dam. The clean and purposeful open cockpit body is beautifully formed around the impossibly low-profile frame, most of which sits below the knees of an average height standing person. The paintwork is glossy throughout with alloy latches, Elva front emblem, and various air vents along the lower body panels. The Elva cast wheels are uniquely designed and appropriately shod with a set of Hoosier tires, tucked beneath the smoothly contoured aerodynamic body.

The cockpit is simple, clean, and very well laid out featuring a low-profile contoured driver’s seat bucket, Willens seat harness (dated to 2012), and padded headrest mounted to the triangulated roll bar. Other important details include a fire suppression bottle (dated 2011), exposed alloy pans, black dial instruments with chrome bezels, and removable Momo steering wheel. Drop down hinged doors make for easy entrance and exit, and when closed into position, the body envelopes the driver in a purposeful, compact, and extremely capable package.

The rear section is easily hinged open revealing the beautifully detailed Nerus BMW engine, dual 48 DCO2 twin throat Weber carburetors, tuned exhaust, and a professionally prepared engine bay. The exposed mechanicals of the rear section reveal the Hewland transmission, Koni shock absorbers, uniquely articulated suspension, detailed lines, thoughtful preparation, correct fittings, fuel and brake lines as found on professionally prepared vintage race cars. Under the front hinged body section, further component details are revealed including the painted grey frame tubes, lightened foot pedals, Koni shocks, front suspension, and carefully plumbed water lines. Although this Elva has been restored some time ago under prior ownership and prepared for prior competition events, we recommend a professional race shop review all mechanical systems, fluids, and safety equipment installed on the car and perform road testing before using this car in a competition setting.

This car is accompanied by a handful of spare parts, a file folder with reference materials, prior inspection report, prior written history and description as prepared when offered for sale under prior ownership, and service invoices from Vintage Racing Services while under the care of Larry Kessler.

This is a fantastic opportunity to acquire one of the most exciting race cars of this era. Regarded as the ultimate challenger to the Lotus 23B and equal to the 23C, the key feature of the Elva Mark VII resides in the 2-Liter BMW Nerus engine, packing 400cc more than the Lotus with equal handling prowess. One of twelve originally produced and the subject of former restoration and continued professional care during the 1990s and early 2000s, this Elva Mark VIII is ready for the next fortunate owner to write their next chapter in vintage racing behind the wheel of this very capable vintage race car.

The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608