Elva was set-up by Frank Nichols and based in Bexhill in Sussex to build specials. Its first car was completed in 1955, and was based on a combination of Ford power, Standard suspension and a hand-fabricated chassis, and known as the Mk1. It was pretty much standard fare for this end of the business, but soon Elva established itself as quite a force in club level competition.
The Mk1 was treated to more sophisticated suspension setups and esoteric engines, and ended up selling well in the USA. Unfortunately, financial problems beset Elva in 1961, when the government refused to support the company's proposed growth plans. Although it continued until 1965, Nichols sold the operation to Ken Sheppard