Classic Sports Car
LOST LAKESIDE ELVA UNEARTHED
Gregory Perigo recently purchased a lakeside cottage at Bear Lake in northern Indiana, USA. Included in the sale was a 1930s-style garage located at the back of the tiny property, and inside he discovered a completely stripped-down 1964 Croydon-built Elva Courier MKIII, chassis E1086.
In 1964, Tim Kauffman of Vicksburg, Michigan, bought a new Elva from Atlantic Imports of Kalamazoo. The car had the 1622cc MGA engine and a K-L heater. “The latter was a sobering nod to practicality,” says Perigo, “because Michigan winters are noted for their bone-chilling cold.” It is not known why Kauffman chose an Elva, because the car was considerably more expensive than an MGB or a Triumph Spitfire, let alone a new Chevy. He used the car in various sporting events and won numerous cups and trophies, and the Courier still proudly displays a Kalamazoo Sports Car Club badge.
The Elva later had to go into storage when Kauffman joined the US Army infantry and served in Vietnam. On his return he used the car again before taking it apart for restoration in the 1980s. When he moved from Michigan he took the car, still in pieces, to Bear Lake, where the project was put on hold – and it stayed that way until his death in 2013. It has not been touched since.
“There were mounds of lakerelated bric-a-brac,” says Perigo, yet the car remains remarkably complete. The engine and gearbox are both free and all removed parts had been bagged, labelled and properly stored. “The only missing items are the original front badge and the top [hood], but they may yet turn up. While clearing out the cottage, I came across an undiscovered cache of many original parts dating back to the early 1970s. Boxes and boxes of Elva stuff are waiting for me to sort through, making every day at Bear Lake akin to a classic enthusiast’s Christmas!”
Perigo hopes to restore the car to as it had been with Kauffman, and it will join his small fleet including MGS B and Midget, Triumph Spitfire and Mazda Miata: “While I never met Tim, I am grateful to him for his introduction to the Elva marque and the many new friends I have already made as a result.”