AT a time when Bexhill is keen to promote the image as the ‘Birthplace of British Motor Racing’, and its museum has a gallery devoted to automobilia, and the Elva sports car in particular, what has happened in Hastings?
When I was a teenager in the town, we all eagerly followed the fortunes of the Milton brothers (Milton taxis), driving their Ford Zodiac, in the Monte Carlo rally, as a private entrant.
The RAC rally came to the town, with speed trials on the seafront, Pat Moss, Stirling’s sister, was driving an MGA, the year I saw her participating.
Then there was the Bodiam Speed Hill Climb in the mid-1950s and 1960s, held on private roads, at New House Farm, near Bodiam Castle. In 1955 R Mackenzie-Low, in an Elva, set the fastest time of the day. But the event was organised by the Hastings, St Leonards and East Sussex Car Club. What became of their records, because very little is housed in the Hastings reference library?
In 1972, the Hastings 1066, and East Sussex Car Club had a club house at 348 Old London Road, and I know an old school friend, Roger Saunders, was a ‘leader of the pack’ then. But what happened to their records? The complete history of the Elva cars, The cars just happen...the story of Elva, by Janos Wimpffen, is due to be published this year by Haynes.
Hastings readers may be interested to see whether the time in Hastings gets much mention, as there was a period (1960-1966), when the cars were made in the town. During this time cars were being sent to the USA to Elva Imports Ltd, of Washington, and I believe the marque still has a following in the States.
The factory was near Sainsbury’s, where they had a service station, in Sedlescombe Road North.
Can any readers help fill the gaps?