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Museum Elva at NEC

A KEY element in Bexhill’s motoring heritage has helped publicise both the town and its museum at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Members of the Bexhill 100 Motoring Club used a covered trailer specially designed for the purpose to take the museum’s Bexhill-made 1957 Elva Mark III sports-racer to exhibit at the 2012 Footman James Classic Car Show at the NEC over the weekend of November 17-18th.

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Normally, the beautifully restored example of Bexhill businessman Frank Nichols’ advanced design has pride of place in the museum’s motor heritage gallery. It sits alongside the gallery’s reproduction of the steam car on which M. Leon Serpollet won the 1902 Bexhill Motor Trials, the first international motorsport event held in the UK, and the Volta car designed and built by St Richard’s School students which holds a class land speed record for electric vehicles.

The trio have recently been joined by an American-made Armstrong which in 1895 introduced a host of innovations including an automatic clutch.

It was the fourth year in succession that the 230-member Bexhill 100 Club had been invited to exhibit at the show. On the first occasion, members wowed show visitors with the Serpollet.

Club chairman Roger Gillett is delighted that the Elva has been loaned by the museum. As the car was winched onto its trailer on the Wednesday before the show he said: “The theme of this year’s show is The Story. Our attitude is that Bexhill is the birthplace of British motorsport. Frank Nichols set up his business in the town and the restored Mk III sports-racer is a key part of Bexhill’s motoring heritage.”

Roger’s “barn-find” Morris Oxford will also be among the cars the club is exhibiting.

Museum chairman John Betts said: “We are supporting the Elva going to the NEC because we think it is good for Bexhill and hopefully people who see it at the NEC may not only come to Bexhill to see the museum but to see the town itself.”

Bexhill Museum’s annual tourism value to Bexhill is put at more than a quarter of a million pounds.

The Elva’s place at the museum was taken for the weekend by club member Lee Dunn’s 1930 Morris Minor, subject of a 12-month restoration by colleague Ray Bennett.

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