Retro Photos
Garrie Cooper

The Quiet Genius

The Elfin name towers over Australian motor sport like few others, which is surprising given the quiet nature of its founder, Garrie Cooper.

Never one for words, Cooper spoke through his deeds on the race track. The mighty successes of his racing cars, driven by himself and a legion of other talented drivers, spoke volumes for the man who built racing cars in a small Adelaide factory for more than 20 years.

Because Cooper was born in Adelaide, South Australia, a world away from the hub of motor sport, he never received the recognition he certainly deserved. Had he been born in England, France or Italy there would probably have been an Elfin Grand Prix team, and Cooper would most likely have been lauded for his innovative racing car designs much as John Cooper and Colin Chapman were for their Cooper and Lotus cars that fundamentally changed racing car design.

He wasn't. He was born in Australia so the world only got a glimpse of his genius. When European teams and drivers came south for the northern winters to race against the best drivers and teams local motor racing could muster, Garrie Cooper was right up there, racing his V8-powered Formula 5000 monsters, with great success against the best in the world.

While Cooper enjoyed immense success at the wheel of his own cars, like the 1968 Singapore Grand Prix and the 1975 Australian Tourist Trophy, he also gave other great Australian drivers the chance to shine. Scan the list of drivers who have tasted success in Elfin racing cars and you'll find names like sports car legend Frank Matich. Gold Star champion John McCormack, Bathhurst champions Larry Perkins and John Bowe, Le Mans 25 hour winner Vern Schuppan and Formula One World champion James Hunt.

While Cooper would undoubtedly have enjoyed watching these other great drivers win in his cars, he gave his all in racing with and against them, because that's what he enjoyed most.

Cooper built racing cars because he loved racing. It was something he dreamt of from a young age. That his company grew to become the second largest manufacturer of racing cars in the world in the late 1960s was testament to his engineering ability.

From the early 1960s to the late 1970s Elfins dominated local openwheeler and sports car racing, from the diminutive Formula Vee to the sleek Formula Ford which helped a generation of young chargers get into racing, to the thundering V8-powered sports and racing cars that won numerous national titles.

Along the way Cooper and his tiny team built 27 different models, a total of 248 cars. With an impressive list of 29 national championships and major titles they were all winners, much like their quietly spoken creator.

Australian motor racing lost one of its stars when Garrie Cooper died suddenly aged just 46, in 1982. His spirit is looking over the shoulder of the designers of all subsequent Elfin models.


Heritage Family Tree

Championship & Major Titles Achieved in Elfin Cars

Australian Formula Junior Championship

1962 Frank Matich – Elfin FJ

Australian 1.5 litre/Formula 2 Championship

1968 Garrie Cooper – Elfin Type 600 with Stewart Rexman
1971 Henk WoeldersElfin – Type 600E Waggott
1971 Larry Perkins – Elfin Type 600B
1971 Peter Larner – Elfin Type 700

CAMS Gold Star - Australian Driver's Championship

1971 John McCormack – Elfin MR5 Repco Formula 5000
1971 John McCormack – Elfin MR6 Repco Formula 5000

Australian Sports Car Championship

1971 Frank Matich – Elfin Type 400 Traco Oldsmobile
1971 Peter Woodward – Elfin Type 350 Climax
1971 Phil Moore – Elfin Type 360 Repco
1971 Henry Michell – Elfin Type 360 Repco
1971 Garrie Cooper – Elfin MS7 Chevrolet

Australian Tourist Trophy

1971 Frank MatichElfin – Type 400 Traco Oldsmobile
1971 Garrie Cooper – Elfin MS7 Chevrolet
1971 Stuart Kostera – Elfin MS7 Chevrolet
1971 Greg Doidge – Elfin Type 360 Repco

Formula Ford - Australian Driver to Europe Series

1971 Richard Knight – Elfin Type 600FF
1971 Larry Perkins – Elfin Type 600FF
1971 Terry Perkins – Elfin Type 620

Rothmans International Series

1971 Larry Perkins – Elfin MR8 Chevrolet Formula 5000

New Zealand Grand Prix

1971 John McCormack – Elfin MR5 Repco Formula 5000
1971 John McCormack – Elfin MR5 Repco Formula 5000

New Zealand Formula Ford Series

1971 David Oxton – Elfin Type 600FF
1971 David Oxton – Elfin Type 600FF

Singapore Grand Prix

1971 Garrie Cooper – Elfin Type 600

Malaysian Grand Prix

1971 Hengkie Iriawan – Elfin Type 600
1971 Tony Maw – Elfin Type 600

Australian Hill Climb Championship

1971 Stan Keen – Elfin MR5 Ford Formula 5000
1971 Roger Harrison – Elfin Type Type 600 Repco


The Elfin Heritage Centre Museum
The Elfin Heritage Centre

The Elfin Heritage Centre was officially opened on Thursday 16th August 2007. A plaque dedicating the Centre to the founder of Elfin Sports Cars, Garrie Cooper, was unveiled by his wife, Lorraine Cooper who is also the patron of The Elfin Owners And Drivers Club.

More than 375 enthusiasts attended the Elfin Heritage Centre celebration evening and there were apologies from other Elfin luminaries who couldn't make it, including John Bowe, Neil Allen and Bryan Thomson.

Brian "Brique" Reed, EODC President, fulfilled MC duties and introduced short speeches which emphasized the importance of the Heritage Centre as a home for the Elfin Owners and Drivers Club. Most importantly, the Elfin Heritage Centre will act as a permanent memorial to the fabulous achievements of Garrie Cooper.

Many important pieces of Elfin memorabilia had already been provided to the Heritage Centre. On the night, more were presented, including photos, trophies and Garrie's old Ansett Team Elfin driving suit.

The Elfin Heritage Centre boasted 24 Elfins on display, including Garrie's first (Cooper Austin) and last (MR9 F5000) race cars, plus the prototype of his planned Formula Vee based road sports car.

The Centre would like to thank all those who contributed to a fantastic evening. There were visitors from every state of Australia. Special thanks go to those who presented the very special displays, including: Peter Griffin (MR9), John Hazelden (Cooper Austin), Paul Trevethan (MR6), Ian Ross (600C), John Anderson (Cooper Butler), Max McPherson (Formula Junior), Tim Dash (600B), Graham Hoinville (Mono), Peter Mattews (Formula Vee), Elfin Sports Cars (MR8 Streamliner), Glen Bishop (S/charged 7), Rob Richards (C3 Clubman prototype), Bill Hemming (MR8, 400, 300, Streamliner, Clubman, VW Road Car, NG Vee, 600FF, Aero, C3, MR8) and Pete Ffrench (Streamliner restoration project).

Further thanks to suppliers of invaluable memorabilia from: Lorraine Cooper, Brique Reed, Roger James, Jack Hunnam, Stan Keen, Ian Pope, Alan Hamilton, Bryan Thomson, Peter Fowler, Haam Largaij and Lloyd Shaw.

It is intended to maintain a changing display of vehicles and a growing list of important memorabilia as items become available.

The Elfin Heritage Centre... KEEPING THE SPIRIT ALIVE!


Elfin: The Spirit of Speed is a book on an epic scale. At over 700 pages and of imposing proportions, featuring hundreds of black and white and colour photographs, it is published in grand style, with the very finest quality stock and production values.

Five years in the making, exhaustive research has uncovered countless hitherto unknown facts about the marque. The author, David Dowsey, has conducted over 50 interviews with the individuals who know the history firsthand. Hundreds of high quality photographs – many previously unpublished – bring the story to life.

Almost every model and variant has been professionally photographed, making Elfin: The Spirit of Speed worthy of museum-piece status.

Elfin: The Spirit of Speed


This list of cars for sale is constantly changing... so make sure you check back regularly for any new additions.

2003 Clubman C3
1971 ELFIN 360
The Mildren Waggot & Elfin MR5 Formula 5000
1969 ELFIN ME5
Elfin 622 BDA

Contact UsWhere You Can Find Us

Open by appointment only.
General admission for non Elfin Owners and Drivers Club members is a gold coin donation.
"Non Elfin" Car Clubs and groups can meet after hours (by appointment). The cost will be $5 per head with a minimum of $250. This fee includes tea and coffee with biscuits. Beer and soft drinks are available at $2 per can or catering can be arranged. NB there is a 10pm curfew on meetings.

Our Address

29 Capella Crescent
Moorabbin, Melbourne Vic 3189

Our Phone

+61 408 059 002