Monday, June 6, 2011

Sebring and the Sport Racer

I was walking along Powell Street Friday when I noticed something interesting. I walked by then turned around and asked if I could take a photo. Not only did I get a photo but I also got some information. Want to see what I saw?

This is a 1957 Elva Sport Race MK III, one of twelve MK IIIs built.

This vehicle debuted at the Sebring Race in 1958 in Sebring Florida. Four such cars were sent.

When this car was built it had to be street legal. Therefore the manufacturer made it with two doors, or at least doors of a sort. It also has two small bucket seats and carries a spare tire.

The original engine for this make of automobile was a Coventry Climax engine but unfortunately that one blew at Sebring on lap 144. It was replaced with an Alpha Romeo engine, 1300 5 speed gear box. (I  think I got that right!)

Further research on my part led me to the Elva website and a mountain of information! Like the name Elva was derived from the German 'ella' and 'va' meaning 'she goes'. And the 1958 debut of an Elva vehicle at Sebring seems to have been the manufacturer's first appearance there. But not the last.

One of the interesting aspects of this entry is the gentleman I spoke with. His passion for the car and restoring it and his willingness to share information with someone like me who really doesn't understand much about cars was inspiring. Finding people who are so involved in what they love makes life seem a little better.

Just seeing this piece of luxury reminded me of old Hollywood, glamorous women with handsome men. Parties and champagne. I thought of Katherine Hepburn. Then Isadora Duncan.

As you may remember Isadora Duncan is considered the mother of modern dance and she was very flamboyant character who loved long scarves. She also loved the Bugatti sports car but didn't own one. One day, when she was fifty years old and in Nice France, she met a young man who sold Bugatti cars. She asked him to go with her on a test run and when she got into the vehicle she turned to her friends and said "Farewell my friends, I'm off to glory!" Then she threw her long scarf around her neck and when the car started the heavily embroidered silk got caught in the open spokes of the car wheels, snapping her neck and killing her instantly.  Not to be ghoulish but I think that was a perfect way for her to die - as flashy as she had lived. And in a very memorable way.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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