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British Industrial History

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Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering

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1965. Reg No: BJX 510C.
Reg No: 279 CWD.

The Rochdale Olympic was a glass fibre monocoque British sports car made by Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England between 1957 and 1973.

1948 The company was originally founded by Frank Butterworth and Harry Smith in an old mill building in Hudson Street, Rochdale where as well as general motor repairs they made some alloy bodies for Austin 7s and other cars.

1952 they turned to glass fibre and produced a body shell for the owner to fit to a chassis of his choice. The next body shell, the GT, was specifically designed for the Ford Popular and was available in either an open or coupe style. Over 1000 were made.

1959 The real breakthrough came with the monocoque Olympic designed by Richard Parker. Production started in 1960 using a Riley 1.5 litre twin cam engine, independent front suspension and live rear axle. Other engines could be fitted including the MG A, and Ford 109E. The car appeared at the Copenhagen Racing Car Show and the Geneva Motor Show. About 250 were made. In 1961 the original premises were destroyed by fire and the company moved to Littledale Mill.

1963 The Phase II Olympic was introduced in 1963 now standardised with a 78 bhp Ford 116E 1500 cc engine. Front suspension was now using Triumph wishbone units whilst the rear used a BMC axle with coil springs. The car weighed under 12 cwt and could reach 114 mph with a 0-60 mph time of under 11 seconds. The rear window was made to open to give better access to the interior. the car was available as a complete kit for around £800 and about 150 were made. The last body was made in 1973.

  • The company continued in business for a number of years mainly working in the heating and ventilation industry.
  • Olympic 1 1960-62
  • Olympic 11 1962-73

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • A-Z British Cars 1945-1980 by Graham Robson. Published by Herridge and Sons. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3