Racing for real at Swartkops on Sat 2 Feb 2013!
“Anyone interested in sports racing cars is likely to be aware of Lotus, Cooper and perhaps Lola, but may be less certain at the mention of ‘Elva’.” READ MORE http://www.elva.com/elva-history.html
The name is a corruption of ‘elle va‘ meaning ‘she goes‘. This is a story of JUST HOW “she goes” … a story that began in 1965 and climaxed this past weekend in 2012.
This story begins with a letter from Elva Cars in Sussex addressed to Dr Gous in South Africa …
3 May 1965
Left Elva Cars factory in Rye, Sussex, for Southampton port where it was loaded aboard the Edinburgh Castle – destination South Africa.
21 May 1965
Collected in Cape Town harbour by Dr Dawie Gous from Springs, minus engine and gear box. Cost £1200 CIF
5 June 1965
After 7 years of racing, Dr Gous decided to retire and sold the car to “Luki” Botha but he often still shared the drive on endurance races.
Despite having ‘off loaded’ the car, he continued to enjoy racing – most notably, the Angola Grand Prix as No 14. The Elva’s performance was awesome, racing through the streets of Luanda, in Green & Gold; starting 10th and finishing 5th behind four Ferraris AND beating all of the brand new Porsche 904’s!
5 Nov 1966
A last irresistible hoorah(!) was the Kyalami 9-hour when he shared the Elva driving with “Luki” Botha. At the 3 hour mark, the Elva was lying 5th overall, the leading SA entry. Unfortunately, the gearbox broke, prematurely ending Dawie’s last race.
During the era campaigned by Koos Swanepoel, the Porsche engine was replaced with a Climax 2.7 litre and a Hewland gearbox – it no longer was a true Elva Porsche!
“Luki” Botha took over the car again but competed in only a few races.
The car was advertised for sale by Koos Swanepoel in Cape Town
John Truter in Pietermaritzburg bought the car and fitted it with a Lotus twin-cam engine and a Lola T212 body moulded from Andre Verwey’s car. They renamed the car a JTS – a further demise of the Elva.
Unsure of the date, Hagen Wulff of East London, then bought the car with the Lotus motor and Hewland gearbox. Clive Winterstein confirms that the car he acquired had the repaired rear upright that identified this period. It had been badly repaired with steel and not magnesium.
It has not been confirmed exactly who, but it was heard on the grapevine that either Dennis Geyer of Pedi or Boet Pelser, also of the Eastern Cape bought the car from Hagen, and fitted a Mazda Rotary engine.
Exact timeline unknown
New owner Don van Staden of Chartwell; who sold to Mitri (Natal), then to Pat Duckham also in Natal until sold back to Don van Staden.
The car remained with the Lola body and the Mazda rotary engine until discovered by Howard Robinson, who through research and tell-tale signs realised what he had found.
This story does have a happy ending and that chapter started with an event at the Porsche Center in Randburg when Dawie Gous was invited to address the Marque enthusiasts about his days of Porsche racing. Famously, he won the 9 hour Endurance three years in succession.
Clive Winterstein, a well-known Porsche Petrol Head, who owns a Carrera 4-cam and a 356A race car (amongst others!) approached Dawie Gous after the talk to offer him a ride back down memory lane. Ahead of him he overheard a man talking to Dr Gous saying that he was the current owner of the Elva Porsche which he was in the process of restoring…
Eagerly Clive pursued the owner of this iconic car, offering to purchase the car without having seen it. It was not for sale! Unruffled, and a short time later, with the opportunity to meet in person at Zwartkops, Clive enquired after “HIS” car.
4 years later, in an e-mail it was offered to Clive for sale, setting off yet another phase in the life of Dawie Gous’ 1965 Elva Porsche …
Bought by Clive Winterstein. Howard Robinson introduced Clive to Andrew Thompson who had just rebuilt a Lotus, and prior to that a Brabham, racing car. Andrew is a whole ‘nother story hailing back to Team Gunston in the 70’s. Although keen to work on this project he spared no punches on the size of the undertaking. Not one to shirk at a challenge, the game was on .
21 July 2012
As they say in the Afrian classics, “Eish, a Beeg matata’” and 48 years on, the Elva presented at Zwartlops
….and living happily ever after – Team Elva