For 1964 a plan was hatched for Elva to build 100 2 litre / 122 cui GT cars capable of 160 mph, after the unexpected death of David Ogle, who had originally intended to design the car, Trevor Fiore was commissioned to design the bodywork which ended up with a roof line just 40 inches off the ground much like the Ford GT40 announced the same year.
The two GT 160’s displayed at the London Racing Car Show and Turin Motor show caused a sensation, but even before either car had turned a wheel in anger there were many problems, the GT 160 did not have sufficient ground clearance to meet the regulations and the cars were well over the targeted weight of 600 kgs.
Additionally the aluminium bodies manufactured by Fissore in Italy attracted an unexpected 15% tax railing the cost of manufacture and sales price, furthermore Elva was in the process of being swallowed up by Trojan who at the same time were doing a deal with Bruce McLaren to manufacture McLaren sports racing cars for customers.
So the GT 160 was eventually shelved after just three cars had been completed, all of which still exist today, two them being seen in historic racing circles including what I believe to be the third and final BMW powered chassis featured today which was seen at Race Retro a couple of years ago.
In 1965 Sir Richard Wrottesley raced the first GT 160 chassis as a prototype at the Le Mans test weekend, the Nurburgring 1000 kms and Le Mans 24 hours.
Sir Richard recorded the cars only finish, 17th place, in the Le Mans test and though the car was not a strong competitor against its intended Porsche 904 and ALFA Romeo TZ rivals in the GT class it did record a top speed of 165 mph on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans.
Thanks for joining me on this “Forty Inches High But Not A Ford” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !