Loss of Elva garage is sad but “a sign of the times”

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AMONG the buildings in London Road to be demolished to make way for the link road is the former workshop where Frank Nichols created the historic Elva racing car.

This was one of the sites where Nichols and his team in 1955 made the unique motor cars that delivered both looks and performance and went on to become prized collector’s items. so rare in the 1970s there were just 20 left in Britain.

Roger Dunbar, of Elva Racing, said of the demolition: “It is obviously inevitable because things change over the years.

“But it is a little sad that even more history is being lost.

“It is a sign of the times.

“Bexhill needs a new road and the workshop is in the way.

“Hopefully at some future time there will be something in that area to commemorate that Elva was formed from that workshop in London Road. It’s all part of Bexhill’s history.”

Another Elva workshop already gone was further up London Road behind the York Hotel.

Nichols grew up in Bexhill and worked in a grocery when he left school. After the war he set up a small garage in Westham before taking the London Road premises.

His business was repairing pre World War Two cars because no-one could afford new ones and as this took off Frank became interested in motor sport.

It was from this passion that the Elva was created, successful because of its style and functionality at an affordable price. Nichols and his team went on to great acclaim and were involved in making early racing cars for MacLaren and sold as MacLaren-Elva sports racing cars.