History of Elden | The Cars

Mk 17 – Elden BEH 17

Formula Ford 1600 | 1975 to 1977 | ~6 Cars Produced

The Elden BEH 17 is a Formula Ford 1600 and was the first Elden to not be designed by founder Peter Hampsheir, as he was overseas in Zambia for a number of years. The chassis was a design development by Brian Hampsheir and John Harris.

The chassis had a slightly longer wheelbase than the Mk 8 or Mk 10 and was the first attempt by Elden to create a much lighter Formula Ford chassis.

Originally the engine connected to the rails with an aluminium block, which also tied the top and bottom rails together. This created a critical flaw, however, in that this assembly allowed the engine to sway from side to side, which in turn caused the rear of the chassis to flex. Whilst the car was very quick for straight line speed, the chassis flexing would cause the car to spin when cornering too abruptly or when trying to attack or defend a position.

The Works solution was to rework the rear of the chassis to be similar to the Mk 10, which lead to making the chassis heavier and so uncompetitive. An alternative solution used by owners was to add bracing to increase stiffness and to hold the engine in place with a spider, thereby preventing the engine sway.

Quality control issues in the factory and Elden’s challenging financial situation meant subpar components were sometimes fitted to the cars when new, which cemented the car’s poor reputation.

Notable Teams, Owners and Drivers

Tiff Needell (Later F1 driver for Ensign, Le Mans 24 Hour driver and TV Presenter)

Daniel Partel (Founder of European Formula Drivers Association, President of Lola Cars)

Brands Hatch Motor Racing Stables