No 106 SUMMER  2006




As you will see from the cover the club is now 25 years old.  To mark this event, first we had the wettest Capesthorne in memory and now the most colourful magazine in memory.  A club is only as good as its members and we are fortunate to have a great bunch of people, which is why we have prospered.  To new members, welcome to the fold, get stuck into those restorations and get to our meetings; you will find advice is freely given and our great spares setup makes it as painless as possible, though it will never be entirely painless!  Let us know how things are progressing it helps in keeping up the momentum.


The FBHVCs latest bulletin has many interesting snippets on motoring matters such as: the DVLA proposal for a £3 administration fee per VED transaction, new seat belt requirements for children (from Sept 2006), Rural Communities Act (off road regs), Events insurance, V5 to V5C conversion (no time limit), MOT test problems, Drive It Day, and more.  If you have an interest in any of these, let me know.


Capesthorne 2006


Capesthorne was very, very wet this year.  As usual, I arrived on Saturday in time to make a complete mess of the driving test.


After an excellent meal on Saturday evening, John Lyon, of High Performance Course fame, gave us a talk on various aspects of his career over the last 40-odd years.  John used to have a Phase I, and the introduction was made by member Tim Boyce, who has been on one of Johns High Performance driving courses.  He is an entertaining speaker, with some very forthright views on modern motoring amusingly put forward.  (He actually made Jeremy Clarkson seem like a bit of a pussy cat at times).


John is well known for his roadcraft writing and his vast motor racing experience, in particular, his success as twice overall champion racing driver in the B.R. & S.C.C. Caterham Super Seven Championship in his road going Seven (I got that bit from his website - www.john-lyon.com).


On the Sunday, it didn't really start raining until Roger and I had arrived, but then it continued enthusiastically throughout the day until it was time to go home.  With the poor weather having been forecast well in advance, attendance was sadly down on normal.


This year, John Lyon stayed on to present the prizes for us (apart from the Which Kit Trophy, which was presented as usual by Peter Filby)



Car of the Show - Daimler V8-250, Robert and Cynthia Hulbert

Runner Up - Bentley MkVI, Derek Bradbury

Highly Commended - Rover 3500, Alf Murphy



Car of the Show - Ferrari F355 Replica (Toyota MR2), Dave Wilson of Macclesfield

Runner Up - Lancia Stratos Replica (Fiat X1/9?) Chris Ellis Highly Commended - Robin Hood (F329 PNC)


Which Kit Award - Moss 


Visitor's Choice - Midas


Malcolm judged the cars for us again this year and said of the winning entry: The winning car is an interesting variation on kit cars as it's actually a glorified body kit, grafted on to much of the original MR2. I had quite a long chat with the owner and you have to admire the effort that went into it - in many ways it's more difficult than building a conventional kit as anyone can (hopefully) bolt engine and suspension into a chassis but getting a faultless join in the middle of the roof when joining a glassfibre rear section to the steel front is exceedingly difficult...


The far more important Club Trophies were won as follows:


Best Rochdale in show Les Brown; a lot of work has gone into Les's car since he first brought it to Capesthorne a few years ago.  He also brought with him the GT his students are restoring.  It is running, but still needs quite a bit to do.


Furthest distance travelled in a Rochdale aggregate to both the AGM and Capesthorne.  As Colin Brakespear has withdrawn from the competition, this prize was won by Alan Farrer.


Driving Test won by long standing friend of the club, (and now new member), Anne Heathcote (driving Alan Farrers beautifully prepared Phase 2, though it didn't do him any good - Ed).


 (PS did I mention the rain?)




 (Next four pictures below by Malcolm McKay)



A good turnout of Rochdales



Kit Car of the Show - Ferrari F355 Replica (Toyota MR2).   Dave Wilson of Macclesfield



Driving test winner Anne Heathcote


Best Rochdale in show Les Browns Phase 2          



Les Browns GT looked splendid a tribute to the effort that has gone into it by Les and his students





The brolly says it all    Photo: Alaric


The Stallards Spring Bash.


Well, it was my birthday on the Saturday, so Roger came down for the weekend.  For some funny reason neither of us could fathom, Paula didn't want to come with us, so we drove up in my new (well, thinking about it, it's actually the oldest car I've ever owned!) Phase I.  Nigel has been having problems with the people he was using to get the manifold and exhaust done on his Phase I and it wasn't ready, so he drove up to meet us in the TR3a, and we went off in convoy up the A38 and M5 to Guy and Caths.


This was just after the final front wheel bearing had been replaced, and the vibration was a lot better.  Even Roger was impressed with the car!  We arrived just before the rush; as well as Guys GT, Colin Ellis was there with his very nice Phase I, as well as Alan Farrer who got the special prize for furthest travelled.


There was a wide selection of other machinery there, and Guy and Caths Honda-engined Berkely we had seen as a running chassis last time, was now bodied and legal.


I hope the photos do it all justice.  As before, there was plenty of food and a wonderful, friendly, relaxed atmosphere.  It's well worth the effort to come if they decide to do it all again.


This was the longest trip so far for the Phase I, at just over 90 miles altogether.





A delightful BSA three-wheeler



More scenes from Guy and Caths Spring Bash    Photos: Alaric




Re: Lifespan of the Olympic Body/Chassis Unit


Following Malcolm Lomaxs comments regarding the lifespan of the Olympic body/chassis unit I thought I might stick my oar in particularly as I have had the dubious privilege to have both rebuilt and crash tested my Phase 1.  As far as the bonded-in steel components are concerned my thoughts are as below:


I.                   Reinforcement on the upper rear spring/damper mount


Corrosion of these steel bars seems likely as they are positioned where they are likely to get damp and stay damp. However, I'm not convinced that they do very much and  could probably be replaced with a fibreglass flange of sufficient strength quite easily. On my car the area around one of the upper spring mounting holes was starting to break up but this was due to due to poor quality lay up in this area rather than an absence of steel bar nearby.


II.                Gap in reinforcement over windscreen


Yes, it is normally there on Phase 1's as well as Phase 2's.  I also presume that this was to ease assembly (which would be very complicated without the split).  I do remember reading some comment that the split was there as the reinforcement was intended to improve the torsional stiffness of the shell more than its roll over performance.  However, I think this was really just to excuse why the split was left (and not why it was present in the first place) both torsional stiffness and resilience in roll over would be improved if the tube were continuous.


III.              Reinforcement tubes in windscreen surround


On my car the tubes running down the windscreen pillars were, similarly, largely bare and had surface rust along their length.  However, despite this and the split in the top tube, when my car flipped over prior to a spot of inverted sledging they proved to be up to the task of protecting me against injury.  There are probably few (any?!) other sports cars from the '60s which would have done this.


As the tubes are orientated such that they can drain and are in a relatively dry area I would have thought serious corrosion unlikely in most cars.  Certainly, on removal, mine showed a reasonably healthy ratio of metal to oxide despite their external appearance.  Also, the work involved in replacing them would be considerable certainly not the kind of task you would want to undertake on spec.


The rear roll hoop, incidentally, is a foam filled box section and seems to work well.


IV.             Front Subframe


The solution to the subframe is altogether trickier . It sounds like every Phase 1 has had the bottom tube rot out at some stage.  Presumably the bottom ends of the vertical tubes follow shortly afterwards.  I think my best suggestion would be to replace the three outer tubes with stainless equivalents as far as I'm aware it's possible to weld mild to stainless without dire consequences and then bond in as normal.  The fibreglass may not key to the surface of the stainless as well as mild but, as the bonding in process will result in a mechanical interlock, this should not be a problem.                                              

The bolt-in option initially sounds attractive but a large number of small bolts would be required to achieve the same effect as the bonding and getting the necessary flanges on the subframe to match the uneven surface of the shell may not be easy.  Also, as the engine has to be removed in order to extract the subframe, subsequent repair will never be a small task anyway.  The thought of all those bolt holes gradually fretting into oval shapes over time does not appeal either


Of course, like all the best advisors, I don't seem to be practising what I preach - faced with the rebuild, following my crash test experience, I elected to go for an all composite structure due to similar concerns about bonded-in mild steel (it will inevitably rust) and as an opportunity to introduce various other improvements.  This was, in part, the case, as rebuilding the car exactly as it was seemed to offer insufficient incentive to get on with the work.  Hence plans for a composite front subframe (also acting as ducting for the radiator), composite roll over structure and cleaned up underside aerodynamics.  However, 4 years on (!) I can assure you that this was not the most time efficient way to proceed.


Also, possibly more seriously, these modifications will further erode the originality, and value, of the car (although there will be very little change to the cars external appearance).  Malcolm Mackays article on originality (which, I notice, no one has responded to!) and attending various classic car events has highlighted that this is something that we Rochdale owners often fail to appreciate.  I am clearly no originality freak but the current ratio of obviously modified to roughly standard cars seems all wrong I am always pleased when pictures of Olympics taken in the early '60s appear in the magazine as these tend to be the only ones which show what the cars are actually supposed to look like.  The addition of low profile tyres, spoilers and other modern details are a good way to strip any old car of its period charm.  The Olympic is no exception.


The trend for radical modifications to both power train and suspension is also a concern and I feel, in most cases, somewhat misguided.  The fundamental layout of the Olympic (both Phases) involves front suspension with double wishbone geometry and a coil sprung live axle at the rear combined with a well balanced front/rear weight distribution.  This is similar, or superior, to cars of the same period covering everything from Lotus (7) to models from Aston Martin and Ferrari.  Needless to say, owners of these cars do not see fit to carve up their cars in order to fit something better and, were they to do so, the value of their cars would be dramatically reduced.  Even Spitfire and GT6 owners, with possibly the worlds worst ever rear suspension design, seem to get by. 


I think what is often forgotten is that the biggest difference between kit and volume production cars is created by the time spent on their development rather than their design.  Many revered marques from the same period (and later) employed crude chassis and basic suspension but still performed well on road and track - the result of well chosen spring & damper rates and generally making sure that everything present was set up correctly and worked properly. A good example of this as applied to the Olympic is Les Browns explanation of how removing the bending loads on the rear dampers of his Phase 2 radically improved the ride quality (ROC102).  No reduction in unsprung weight required.  I am convinced that it is this kind of trouble shooting and tinkering which will yield the greatest rewards.


So, back to basics I say!  Take it from someone who should have known better.


Happy Rochdaling!


Robert Harrison



My new Phase 1


Some time ago, Dave Jones contacted me and told me he wanted to sell his (ex Al Black, ex Paul Narramore) Phase I.  As well as advertising it locally himself, I emailed everyone in the club I was aware of who was looking for a car.


He contacted me some time later, having had no interest at all.  Well, Paula and I just had to go and look at it, didn't we?  I took a test drive, Dave told me that synchro on second was worn.  The car was very clean, tax exempt and with an MOT and good documented history.  Our offer was accepted and on 9th March, we went and picked the car up.  It had only done about 10 miles since the last MOT, so I topped up with petrol and drove off on homewards.  I was looking forward to getting a set of those nice shiny Club bumper overriders, one of those shiny covers for the bonnet lock, and driving it to the AGM.  Fool!  


Paula had gone on ahead; it was wet and dark, so I was taking it steady particularly as there was also an awful lot of vibration in the car, much of it feeding back through the steering wheel.  I got about 20 miles down the road and the engine died.  On a steep hill on a dual carriageway on the inside of a sharp bend.  I managed to get onto the verge, and got the engine started, but the car was too light, and the verge too wet to pull forward, and I didn't have a good enough view round the bend behind me to roll backwards onto the road and pull away.  Nothing for it but to call out the RAC, and they arrived quite promptly, safely blocked the road for me and I was off again.  Five minutes later, the engine died completely.  The RAC patrolman who had just been out to me was now off duty; it took about an hour for his replacement to arrive.  He diagnosed a faulty rotor arm (subsequently confirmed), but understandably, did not have a suitable replacement.


Recovery took over an hour to turn up, and the thirty mile journey home ended up taking about four hours.  Not a good start.  Still, my mechanic replaced the rotor arm and the car was running fine - until I went to pick it up to go to work, when the petrol pump packed up completely.  This was a new Facet item, having only been fitted in May last year for Dave.  A replacement was fitted, and I drove it to work the next day.  Sitting in traffic about 200 yards from the office, the engine boiled over.  I left it at the side of the road for an hour, went back and picked it up.  The next day I left it with the mechanic to sort out the overheating problem.  He phoned me quite promptly the following morning having made a quick diagnosis there was no fan fitted!  I salvaged one from a scrap Metro, and that was fitted, which has solved the heating problems.  


Braking problems were resolved by fitting a new nearside front cylinder, and the car sailed through its new style MOT, although I did let the tester have the V5 as well, so that he could find it on the computer.


The car is fitted with a Riley 1.5 engine, running twin 1 1/2" SUs.  I was quite worried that these hadn't got any air filters.  I checked with Derek, and he confirmed that this was as they seem to have left the factory.  I did a bit of looking around, and ended up with a Pipercross foam filter, supplied with a blank back plate, which I have drilled to get the best fit for the filter.  It seems to be working alright.  I also had a problem with petrol leaking from the bottom of the carbs, diagnosed by people who know more about these things than I do as dried out cork seals at the bottom.  I rang up Burlen Fuel Systems to order the parts, but they have a minimum phone order amount.  However, if you order exactly the same item from their website via the Internet, the minimum order doesn't hold.  I duly ordered over the Internet.  How ridiculous!


The chronic wheel wobble problem has also taken a bit of sorting out.  New tyres and front wheelbearings have made it a lot better, but one of the Mk 2 Cosmic alloy wheels on the back has been rebuilt and is, according to the tyre man, impossible to balance.  (If anyone out there has a Mk 2 Cosmic alloy wheel, 5.5" x 13", 4" pcd, to spare, please get in touch).


The gearchange problems in second gear were exacerbated by faulty hydraulics; a new master cylinder and new seals in the slave cylinder have improved matters.


For reliability and ease of starting, I decided to fit an electronic ignition system, and opted for the Aldon Ignitor, which fits under the distributor cap; this has also been replaced, together with the plug leads.

Needless to say, I didn't get to the AGM in the new car, but did manage Capesthorne without disaster, a round trip of just over 500 miles, by the time I had visited Mother on the way home and mostly on motorways.


Capesthorne was a bit wet, as you may have read elsewhere in this magazine, but I did manage to get a nice shiny chrome cover for the bonnet catch and a pair of nice shiny windscreen washer jets.  I also got some rubber and felt seal for the front side screens, which are not sealed at all at the moment, and apart from the rattles, may well be the source of the rainwater which is getting in.  I've just got to work out the best way to fit them.


After the fascinating talk from John Lyon on the Saturday night at Capesthorne, I've been trying to double declutch into second gear, to overcome the lack of synchro, with mixed success.  However, Derek Bentley has very kindly given me an MGB overdrive gearbox (4-speed synchro), so once it has been checked over, I will be looking to fit that, with appropriate propshaft tunnel modifications.


The Capesthorne trip highlighted a couple of things, firstly, the engine is using quite a bit of oil, so I will need to look at that, and secondly, although I knew the speedo was under-reading, a section of the journey I know to be 100 miles only indicated 60 miles on the mileometer.  This probably means the indicated 800 or so miles I have done since buying the car is probably nearer to 1300. Luckily, a previous owner has put accurate speed indications round the edge of the tacho (the steering wheel blocks any easy view of the speedo anyway), so I can keep an eye on that.  It isn't comfortable driving over 70 at the moment (on private roads of course) due to the wheel wobble.


And for the future?  Well, the new gearbox will need to be fitted, and with necessary propshaft tunnel modifications and altered propshaft, as well as the wiring for the overdrive, that is going to keep me busy.  I need to sort out the sidescreen rubbers, and find a replacement wheel.  I would quite like to fit disc brakes, but it is getting more and more difficult to find Marina/Itals in scrapyards.  The car will pull away quite happily in second, and seems under-geared, so I need to check which diff ratio I am running, and look to improve that.  As I said before, the engine is using a bit of oil, and the crankshaft thrust bearing seems to be worn.  At some stage, I will need to look to convert it to run on unleaded.  HRG head anyone?


I would still like to be able to double declutch properly!
























Alarics new Phase 1





By Neil Roshier


Copyright: Race Performance and Car Constructor Magazine in Australia.


In the previous article we looked at some basic Fluid Mechanic theory and we had stated that laminar flow is unlikely to occur in the intake ports of a performance engine.


To partially re-cover what we proposed in issue one, we have drawn up the following two velocity profiles. In No.1 we can see the classic laminar       profile with     its concentric layers leading to a nice progressive profile (note that we have exaggerated it for the purposes of this illustration).


In illustration No.2 we can see the turbulent flow profile (again grossly exaggerated for illustrative purposes) which appears much more blunt and less progressive. This is the profile        that      we       need to consider. We also stated that the turbulent          flow,    being inherently chaotic in nature, can be        more    susceptible      to surface irregularities   and sudden changes in direction.



When   surface             irregularities occur they can cause local disruption that may stabilise again given   sufficient time/length to do so. 




If there is insufficient time or space to stabilise, they can cause problems further down the port e.g. near the valve seat where it is critical to get smooth and well formed flow.


The treatment for this is simple enough - remove irregularities in the port surface and smooth out any manifold gaps!  The old theory of surface finish was to polish the intake ports. This meant lots of work with gradually finer and finer abrasives, until the ports were shiny to mirror finished. The intention behind polishing was to speed up port flow, but it is now known that instead it leads to a degradation of the port's effectiveness and often rough running at less than optimal engine speeds.


                                                                                                                       - 13 -                                                 

This occurred because the critical sub-laminar layer may have become extremely thin (note: a thicker boundary layer is not necessarily the cause of better flow attachment. The two are correlated, but not causally connected. They are both caused by the nature of the local flow), possibly failing to adhere to the intake port wall, particularly where it was more stressed by local flow conditions.


Had the port flow actually been laminar (which is quite robust ) then this very thin sub-laminar layer would have had an adverse effect, but as the flow in a port is actually fully turbulent the effect is much more disastrous. The effects may have included increasing the frictional losses due to the failure of the sublaminar layer to adhere to the port wall and as a by-product of this allowing much greater fuel droplet contact (due to the reduced velocity immediately adjacent to the port wall) and wetting of the port walls. This would have been particularly evident at lower engine speeds as the overall port velocity reduced and fuel was more likely to drop out of suspension anyway.


I would also contend that polished ports would have lead to additional sub-laminar separation issues, as the separation of the sub-laminar layer from the port wall would have occurred at much lower port flow velocities. This would mean that it would occur much more frequently in the engine's performance envelope. This polishing practice may have been promoted by some people following the mistaken belief that the F1 engine manufacturers did it. Speaking to an ex-F1 engine mechanic, he reported that Cosworth DFV engines (and no doubt others) had highly polished ports for publicity shots, but in practice (i.e. in engines that actually ran in races) the engine ports were not polished and were intentionally roughened.


When we look at current practices we notice that the polished ports are almost never used and the generally accepted finish is quite rough, with a 60 Grit (grit is the sandpaper grade of roughness) finish one of the most recommended. Naturally this rough finish has the effect of increasing the thickness and strength (in the sense of increasing the ability to adhere to and not separate from the port wall) of the sub-laminar layer, which is particularly beneficial for the turbulent flow that occurs in the port. The additional benefit may be that the increased thickness and strength of the sub-laminar layer may allow quicker reattachment of any disturbed flow due to surface irregularities (note that nearly all of these should have already been removed by the 60 grit finishing) or manifold gaps.


This surface treatment may have a benefit for the performance later in the port near or at the valve pocket, in that the flow presented to this area will likely be of better quality (smoother and more evenly distributed within the port). However, whatever the port finish we use, we may assume that it will not assist with the overly tight short turn radius near the valve. There have been some suggestions made that indicate the possibility of using fuel injector placement to influence local flow conditions at the short turn radius to improve matters; however at the time of writing we have not been able to confirm this suggestion, so treat the idea with caution. Nor would this idea assist anyone who uses a carburettor!  Additionally, the injector can only influence the flow when it is spraying fuel, and as injector duty cycle changes markedly with load and engine speed, the effect on the port flow may not be consistent enough to be useful.


What happens at the short turn radius?  In reality we do not know in an actual running engine and it would likely be quite different for each engine.  What we think is happening we can test on the flow bench and this will give us our best approximated answer. What I think is that at lower valve lift, as the valve is lifted off the seat by the camshaft, a venturi effect (between the valve and the valve seat/pocket) is reducing the chance that flow shear occurs.  It is also the case that the rate of flow over the short turn radius is substantially lower than when the valve is further off the seat (dependent on cam timing and pressure gradient), thus the flow shear is far less likely to occur (see diagram right).






At say 50%+ of valve lift (5mm+), when the port is flowing at a much higher velocity and when the venturi effect is gone the flow is much more likely to shear away from the port walls along the shortturn radius.  When this occurs there is not sufficient time/distance to reattach and the radius is too tight to allow that to occur anyway.  Thus the flow remains very turbulent and poorly developed right up to the intake valve and valve seat.  This very turbulent flow is not able to flow at nearly the same rate as the well developed flow and thus where the very turbulent flow occurs it shrouds the valve, reducing the      performance/efficiency           of the port/valve (see diagram right).


However what we also left unanswered in the last issue was the question of the intake velocity in working out the Reynolds (Re) numbers of the intake port. We also raised the question of the peak velocity vs. the mean velocity in an intake port.  We can work out the theoretical measurement of the port velocity for both of these by using the equation: (piston velocity x piston area) / inlet runner area.  This would mean that we could calculate the Re for both the peak and average piston velocities which are shown here for a bore and stroke of 85 and 87mm.



Mean  piston velocity (fps)

Max  piston velocity (fps)

Calculated port velocity (fps)

Reynolds Number






























































The piston velocity and acceleration can have numerous effects on the performance of an engine. For our purposes the  velocity of the piston can be important in determining how the intake charge is pulled through the ports and past the valves. The quickly accelerating piston (at maximum piston velocity) will create a lower pressure in the cylinder (compared to at lower piston velocities) and it will try to draw more air though the ports more quickly creating the peak intake port velocities noted. The change in pressure gradient from the cylinder to the intake port is not instantaneous as air has a mass, which whilst slight has an influence, which means that an amount of time is required to accelerate the air in the ports. Thus there will be a very slight lag when creating a higher port velocity for the duration of this higher piston velocity.  


The implications (of this maximum vs. average piston velocity) are that if you do all your design work just looking at the average velocity, but happen to have made an engine setup that has the average velocity as a smaller fraction of the peak velocity, then you will have much higher velocities during peak flow. You will then suffer increased pumping losses to get that air in to the cylinder. You might well make a bit more power with a different setup that has the same average velocity but a lower peak velocity, which would reduce the pumping losses.


You will remember from part one that in most cases Re above 4000 is in the turbulent range, as we can see above we have exceeded this figure by a factor of 10 at 2000 rpm.  Hopefully this will dispel the view that there is laminar flow in an intake port; if we are fortunate enough the flow will be smooth and well developed, but it will still be turbulent.





(But I ain't crying)


I have heard it said that the Phase 1 Olympic, especially an A-series powered car, has nicer steering than the Phase 2.  Why should this be?  The Phase 2 has the more modern wishbone setup at the front and the rear suspension is also rather better located.  Idly scribbling on the back of an envelope I worked out the basic suspension parameters of the two and a reason began to emerge.


The basic suspension rates are approximately as follows, as referred to the wheel (not the spring), in lb/in:

                                                        Front               Rear

                                Phase 1            70?                  100

                                Phase 2            60?                  75


 (The Phase 1 front value is a guesstimate as it is torsion bar sprung, but is probably a little firmer than the Phase 2, which itself cannot be calculated precisely, even knowing the spring rate, as the suspension ratio is difficult to determine with any real accuracy it is approx. 1: 1.4).  As the Phase 1 is stiffer at the rear one would expect it to be livelier at the back, which would make the steering also feel livelier, but is this the whole story, as these rates apply only to bounce, not roll?


Next, examine the roll stiffness, which comes into play when cornering and thus has the greater effect on handling.  They both have anti roll bars at the front, but none at the back, as was normal for the period.  


Rates are in lb/in.                                 

Phase 1


Phase 2








Bar diameter                                       5/8"#






Calc. bar rate at wheel*                      50






Spring rate at wheel in bounce 70 (est) 100






Spring rate at wheel in roll^               70






Combined rate in bounce**                70






Combined rate in roll**                      120







#  some are 9/16"

##  some are 1/2"

* This is the rate in roll it is zero in bounce.  Values are approximate.

^ For an independent system (eg the front) the rate in roll is the same as the rate in bounce, but for a beam axle the rate in roll is reduced by the square of the ratio of the spring base to the track.  For the Olympics this effect amounts to 60%.

** combined spring and bar


The bottom line tells the story.  They both have much lower roll stiffness at the rear than the front 50% for the Phase 1 but only 40% for the Phase 2.  The means that the front tyres do all the work in cornering and understeer is the basic trait.  What is more, the better axle location for the Phase 2 results in an even greater effect than the Phase 1.  It's strange, then, that several of us have spun our cars, with varying degrees of damage (no names, no pack drill what does this mean??), the cars giving no warning.  My theory is that when a cars basic trait is understeer the driver is not only surprised when it does oversteer, but has more lock to unwind if he tries to correct.  A basic oversteering car keeps the driver more alert!


So much for the theory.  What if the rear roll stiffness could be raised?  Simply increasing the spring stiffness would do the job, but would also give a much harder ride.  This is what the pre-war British Sports Car did and what gives them their bone-jarring ride.  A better way is to add an anti roll bar, which has no effect on ride quality (OK, some effect for single wheel bumps).  A peer under my Phase 2 showed that a bar could readily be fitted in front of the axle.  As I was changing the axle anyway I welded suitable brackets on to the new axle to take the links.  I obtained some suitable steel bar (EN16T) in various diameters from 1/2" to 9/16" and made a bar bending jig using 3mm mild steel plates to support three 2" alloy wheels and used the hydraulic ram of my engine crane to supply the necessary tons of shove.          


I found I could easily bend up a bar in 1/2" steel and with a bit of care get it to the required shape (surprisingly complex, as the centre of the bar needed to clear the exhaust pipe).  It was connected to the bodyshell and the axle using standard Ford (and BMW et al) anti roll bar links (two ball joints joined by a bar 200mm long) which I cut down to suit.  The bar stiffness was adjusted by changing the length of its arms by means of sliding clamps very convenient.


The first trial used 9" arms which gave a 25lb/in increase to the rear, making 70lb/in total (ie close to that of the equivalent IRS setup) and a rear/front ratio of 64%.  The effect on the road was immediately evident: the car was more wieldy, the steering lighter and the back end more secure-feeling all good news.  What is perhaps surprising is that such a small increase was so noticeable, though there is possibly a bit of psychology going on here one can easily imagine subjective things like handling.


Next up was the bar with 6" arms, giving 56lb/in more roll stiffness and a total of 101lb/in for a rear/front ratio of 92%.  Was this going too far, more than doubling the roll stiffness?  Nope.  It just got better, the car feeling as I thought it always should, but never did.  The steering was more delicate, there was  less roll, the back end was still secure and stability good even lifting off in mid-corner had no ill effect.  Why, it almost felt like a modern car!


Is there a limit to the level of rear roll stiffness?  Yes, it comes when the car becomes just a bit too lively.  Richard Parker once commented to me that he set up the anti roll bars on DUF on a track, but had to soften the handling for the road as it got too twitchy.  Remember that DUF already had independent suspension at the back, so started from a higher level than a beam-axled car.  Where was this limit for my car?  Only one way to find out.


Next I made a bar from 9/16" stock.  The extra stiffness of the material was immediately noticeable when bending it, but the DIY bender coped with no problems.  Having had some practice also helped, as I was able to form the bends in the correct sequence.  Getting the required angles is quite tricky due to the bar springing back a little when the pressure is released, but I made a template by drawing onto a large card and by holding this up to the bender I could get the required shape by taking it bit by bit.  Calculation showed that this bar with 7" arms would have the same stiffness as 6" arms on the 1/2" bar, but with 6" arms would give 79lb/in more roll stiffness, a total of 124lb/in and a rear/front ratio of 113% (bar stiffness increases as the cube of diameter but goes down as the square of arm length).  By shortening the arms to 5.5" (the shortest the arrangement could go) it would be possible to make 126% - if more were required I could make a bar in 5/8" stock, giving a daunting 175% maximum.  All in the cause of enlightenment


In the event I set the bar up with 6" arms, giving a ratio of 104%, as by then I had painted it and didn't want to damage the paint by sliding the adjusters again.  There was little incentive to go any further anyway, as in this state the car is a joy to power round bends, steering by the fingertips, pretending to be Stirling Moss.  It is bringing out the hooligan in me, a dangerous state, as I don't have his skill, so calm down  Alan and just be careful in the wet.


Paul Hutchings mentioned to me that he and a friend both drove two of his cars round a nearby race track (Castle Coombe I think): his Phase 2 Olympic fitted with standard suspension except for poly bushes at the front and a Triumph Spitfire (Vitesse?), also in standard trim.  They both thought the Spitfire the better handling car by quite a margin.  He wondered why, bearing in mind their front suspensions were so similar.  I think the answer lies at the other end the rear.


The Spitfire has an independent rear suspension (we all know that) and this means its stiffness in roll is the same as its stiffness in bounce.  Assuming its rear  suspension rate is about the same as its front, its rear/front ratio will be about 65%, about the same as the first trial on my car, and probably about right for the infamous swing axles of the Triumph.  Just a thought, Paul.


Footnote: At the Capesthorne Saturday dinner the speaker, John Lyon, reckoned anti roll bars were the work of the devil.  I kept my mouth shut


Alan Farrer





 Just part of the great miscellany of cars at Guy and Caths Spring Meeting    Photo: Alaric




Some of the cars and folk at Guy and Caths Spring Meeting. (the camera date is a day out!).




Everyone has their limit.  I had put up with the whining from the back of the car for too long.  I had tried ear defenders, but they make your ears sore after a while, and they don't improve your image.  It was time for a change.  Word had it that Mr Ford's differential is quieter than Mr Morris's.  When Colin Ellis confirmed this fact to me at the Bristol Show I had to give it a go, especially as higher ratios are available as well.  It turns out that the Ford English axle as fitted to 105E Anglias, Mk 1 & 2 Escorts etc. is virtually the same width as the Riley 1.5 and as my car already has Ford wheels, there was no problem in this department.  Unfortunately the scales tell another story:


Riley 1.5 = 40 kg Ford Escort = 51 kg.


Oh dear.  Never mind, go ahead.


Checking the prices paid for 3.54:1 diffs on ebay indicated that they were a) relatively scarce and b) therefore relatively expensive.  Eventually I obtained a complete axle taken from a Mk2 Escort Ghia 1600 which has the 3.54 diff and also 9" brakes.  It had been standing for some years and the car had rotted away, but the axle looked OK.  I recouped some of the purchase price by selling the anti-roll bar.


The brake parts were in surprisingly good condition - usable even, though I bought all new shoes and cylinders, available over the counter from the local motor factors.  I went for the larger 19mm cylinders to give the maximum braking effect as I have a proportioning valve in the rear brake line so I can set the front-rear balance at will.


The axle needed very little modification - just part of the left anti roll bar mount had to be cut off to avoid contact with the exhaust pipe.  The bracketry for the Olympic went on very easily, fitting to the spring mounts as per Riley axle and even the torque reaction arm bracket fitted to the original R/H a/r bar mount.  I had to lower the Panhard rod as the diff is deeper than the R1.5, but that's all.  I did, however, add a couple of brackets for my own a/r bar.  I got the whole thing blast cleaned (they use chilled iron powder) and then I painted it with much Hammerite.  


Fitting the hydraulics was straightforward and I retained the curious Ford arrangement whereby the brake line goes to the R/H backplate then to the L/H where there is the single bleed screw.  This more or less bled itself - brilliant!   My original handbrake system fitted directly, as the axles are the near enough the same width and the backplate levers are in the same place.  As it happens I use a variant of the Phase 1 system, which is what Ford also use (though better engineered than the Rochdale) and which is simple and effective.  I had to rotate the backplates rearwards about 30% for the cable to miss various body parts and this had to be done by drilling new holes.  Incidentally, the backplate fixing holes are not symmetrical like the Riley - if fact one cannot swap halfshafts side to side because of this.


I decided to get my propshaft balanced, which was done speedily by Driveshaft Services in S Wales, though their packing department needs retraining - it was returned wrapped in a little bubble wrap and parcel tape and bits of shaft were poking through when it got to me.  There was nothing to prevent the UJs being bent excessively eg by dropping.  I had sent it to them in a stout cardboard tube - a waste of time.  However they replaced the rear UJ as the shaft would not balance otherwise, so the unbalance must have been pretty severe and had maybe contributed to the demise of the Riley diff.  I retained the BMC flange on the rear UJ and drilled and tapped the Ford flange to suit its pcd.  I already had an aluminium spacer between UJ and Riley diff flange so I turned this down to provide a spigot for the Ford flange.


The axle swap itself went OK.  Everything fitted except that the axle was about 1/2" too far back - I had obviously got my bracket positioning a bit out - but fortunately there were alternative holes in the front trailing arm brackets.  The propshaft had only about 5mm clearance left - a close thing.  I lowered the body end of the Panhard rod to suit the axle end by extending the bracket - just as well as I found the original had cracked.


So on to the road test.  The diff whine had gone, but was replaced by a scraping sound - just like brakes rubbing.  When I first got the diff I had found that the its flange was a bit stiff to turn and felt rough - dodgy bearings - so they were obviously the cause.  I did the trip to Guy and Caths Spring Meeting* in this state and then removed the diff and took it to BGH Engineering# at Cranbrook in Kent who replaced the bearings and set it up while I waited (6 hours, spent mostly at nearby Sissinghurst Castle).  Cruising at speed is now more relaxed, probably due mostly to the balanced propshaft which makes the whole car feel smoother, as well as the 5% the higher gearing.  Curiously the performance seems better if anything, though this could be due to the relative peace.


All was not sweetness and light however.  The heavier axle was noticeable on rough roads, but OK on normal roads.  Also noticeable on rough roads were various knocking noises which took some time to identify and fix, though this is all OK now at last!


It's amazing how different the car now feels without the axle noise but of course there are always other noises to replace it am I never satisfied?  All in all it was worth the effort, though I would prefer to have used a Riley axle that does not whine and benefit from its lighter mass.


It's strange how many Olympics seem to suffer from whining axles, whereas the donor car does not seem to be so afflicted.  I have mused over this for some time and a possible cause came to me by accident.  I moved my electronic fuel pump from the engine bay and mounted it on the sloping bulkhead by the torque reaction arm.  I was surprised to find that the pump's throbbing sound was still so audible, even though it was rubber mounted and the glassfibre in this region is nearly 1/2" thick!   As the torque reaction arm connects directly to the axle and close to the diff, any noise in the diff will transmit straight to the cabin.  The Phase 1 has a different arrangement, so by my reasoning it should not suffer to the same degree, if at all.  Any comments?


Alan Farrer



*  Loads of cars there, from a Ford Model A to his & hers RRs via Berkeleys, Triumphs, Gilbern, ca. 1932 BSA 3-wheeler and 3 Olympics (Colin Ellis, Alaric and me).  A smashing day out.


#  Highly recommended - knowledgeable, friendly and efficient.





1.       Name        

The name of the club shall be 'Rochdale Owners Club', hereafter referred to as 'The Club'.


2.       Address  

The address of The Club shall be the address of the Secretary at the time.


3.       Objectives

a).  To provide Members with information, advice and assistance on all matters connected with the marque Rochdale.

b).  To arrange meetings (eg lectures, social, competition) and so promote the interests of The Club.

c).  To afford members such benefits and privileges as can from time to time be arranged.


4.       Membership

Membership shall be available to past and present owners of Rochdale cars, and also to anyone claiming an interest in the marque.  Membership shall be subject to acceptance by the Committee at all times; such acceptance to be confirmed at the AGM. Associate Membership will be available to a second person living at the same address as a Member.  One copy of the club magazine will be sent to that address; each Associate member will be entitled to one vote at Club meetings; to attend Club functions; to stand for election to Committee posts, and generally be entitled to all other benefits of Club membership.


5.       Subscriptions

The subscription rates shall be reassessed annually at the AGM and fixed for one year. Subscriptions are currently due on the first of April each year.


6.       Finance

All monies of The Club shall be handled and administered by the Treasurer.  Payments shall be made only on the signatures of the Treasurer and either the Secretary or the Chairman.  Payments over £35 shall be subject to prior approval by the Committee.


7.       Officers

The Officers of The Club shall be: Chairman; Secretary; Treasurer; Editor; Olympic Registrar; Pre-Olympic Registrar.  (Officers shall be fully paid up members of The Club).


8.       Election of Officers

Election of The Club Officers shall be made annually at the AGM.  Retiring Officers shall be eligible for re-election. Nominations shall be received by the Secretary in writing if before the AGM, or at the AGM.  In either event, the proposer must have received the consent of the nominee prior to the nomination.    


9.       CommitteeThe Committee shall consist of the Officers plus not more than four other members elected in accordance with the rules given at eight above.  Additionally, the Committee shall also be empowered to co-opt other Club Members for specific purposes to further the aims of The Club.  Such co-opted Members shall have equal standing to elected Committee Members, and be subject to the same termination.


10.  Minutes 

It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary to take Minutes of all Club meetings as is appropriate.  Such minutes to be entered into a book and presented for confirmation.


11.  Voting

Voting at all meetings shall be by show of hands or such ballot as may be determined at the time.  Every Member (including each Associate Member) shall be entitled to one vote (one subscription is one membership).


12.  AGM

The Annual General Meeting shall normally be held during the month of April each year for the following business:

a)   to receive the reports of the Committee for the past year;

b)   to receive and consider the statement of accounts for the previous year, as audited;

c)   to appoint an auditor;

d)   to complete any other business appropriate to an Annual General Meeting;


13.  Special General Meeting

A Special General Meeting may be called at  any time by the unanimous decision of the Committee, or by not less than 10% of the Members.  The reason for the SGM shall be given to the Secretary in writing, and a minimum of 1 month's notice to members will be required.


14.  Alteration of Rules

These Rules are subject to the wishes of The Club Members, and may be modified in part or in whole by two-thirds majority vote at an Annual General Meeting; or a Special General Meeting called solely for that purpose.


15.  Allocation of Rules

All members shall be provided with a copy of the Rules on election, and whenever there is a substantial change to them.


16.  Use of Computer

Members should note that Membership details of members and their cars are held on computer.





Malcolm McKay


Well, Capesthorne was wet, wasn't it?!  In the circumstances, the Rochdale turnout was staggeringly good and it was brilliant to see not just Rogers lovely Riviera flying the Pre-Olympic flag, but Les Browns school project GT looking lovely in red with Morris Minor wheels, driveable at last.  Les and the boys had been burning the midnight oil: It had no glass in it 24 hours ago, he laughed as he unloaded it from the trailer.  There was no radiator either, but that didn't stop the GT driving back onto the trailer.  With a Triumph GT6 chassis and Morris Minor engine under a shell designed for Ford Pop running gear, the project has been far from simple but it is now well on the road to completion and looks very good indeed a credit to Les and the team.


Jekyll and Hyde GTs


Matthew Morris and Paul Grant joined the club last autumn after acquiring a standard GT bodyshell and a heavily modified but largely complete GT on ebay. It's great to get an update on progress from Matthew:


I thought I'd write to give you an update on the Rochdale GT pair, the big arch shell and the Robin Hood.

The Robin Hood (ex-

Roger Coupe too Ed) shell is now back in Surrey and overall does seem to be in good condition and largely unmolested. I've decided to utilise this shell as was first intended and have purchased an MoT'd and road-legal

1953 Anglia as a base vehicle and intend to retain the running gear pretty much as original. It is a 933cc, which may change, but ultimately I see little point as it is an excellent engine. Whatever happens I intend this to be a totally original Rochdale. 


Thats Dr. Jekyll.


Dr Jekyll, I presume?



Mr. Hyde is the Popular chassis and big-winged body.  This is a longer term project!  Dotted around my garage are various bits that may prove useful in transforming the character of this example, such as Sierra LSD, brakes, close-ratio gearbox, etc, etc.  Also an ex-Lotus Exige VHPD engine languishes in the corner.  Retaining what I can of the original chassis (probably) I intend to shoehorn this lot under the big-wing shell to create probably one of the quickest GTs, to accompany the 933cc, probably one of the slowest.  Work starts in earnest in June on Dr Jekyll, I'll keep you informed of progress. P.S.  Anyone know of the whereabouts of an original GT dash moulding?


That's brilliant news, guys it'll be great to see two new GTs hit the road and I for one totally support your plans for the two cars, which are absolutely in line with their past history and current condition. 

While some might lament the demise of the 1953 Anglia, it's clear from the photos that its body would be uneconomic to restore so, if you hadn't bought it, it would have ended up being dismantled by one of the ebay breakers anyway.

It really would be great if someone could help with an original dash moulding, as several members need one: if you have a GT with the original dash, please let us know even if it's scruffy and needs repair before a mould can be taken.


Unique GT head to France


GT 480 UTC has been known to the Club longer than I have, as it used to be owned by Steve Grimshaw, a regular at club events in the 1980s.  It was stored when he moved to Scotland and only unearthed in 1999, by Brian Moor of Middlesbrough.  His progress with the car was slow and it later moved again, ending up with Roy Beasley in Wolverhampton, who finally got the car back on the road.  It was only very recently that I finally found out the truth about this GT: it had always been said to have the Rochdale chassis, but we only recently thanks to Dave Milner discovered that it had the ultra-rare square tube chassis.  Bizarrely, Rochdale produced some chassis in large diameter square tubes and most in large diameter round tubes, despite the fact that this necessitated two different moulds for the floorpan, which fitted tightly around the chassis.


The first tubular chassis left the factory on 5 Feb 1960 under a Riviera, but the first of four recorded square tube chassis only went out on 3 July and it must have been this car as of the others, one went to Northern Ireland, one was under a Riviera and one didn't go out until July 1961, by which time 480 UTC was already on the road.  That makes this car order number 1464, supplied to Northern Speed Supplies of nearby Bury, one of the larger Specials retailers of the day reinforced by UTC being a Lancashire registration.


Roy decided to sell the car last year and it ended up on ebay, described as follows:

This Rochdale GT was first registered on 1 May 1961 and is MoT'd to May 2006.  The fibreglass body is bonded to a Rochdale factory square tubular chassis and fitted with a Ford E93A engine which has an Aquaplane cylinder head and outlet manifold and a single SU carburetter.  It has a split front axle with all round independent suspension.


 The car has a current MoT with much work completed, there is an amount of work remaining for further improvement as thought to be necessary.  It has period bucket seats, an electric fan and woodrim steering wheel.


 Areas for improvement include the finish of the fibreglass, bonnet hinge fixings, the headlining and some mechanicals.


The statement about all-round independent suspension appears to have been a misunderstanding, as the car seems to have had the normal Rochdale chassis set-up with live axle and radius arm/Watt linkage location.  IRS was, incidentally, offered by some Specials parts suppliers but was not on this car. It came as no surprise that the winning bidder was not in the UK, as virtually all Specials sold on ebay these days leave the country though at least this time the underbidder was in Wiltshire! Other keen bidders on the car were in Greece, USA, Italy and Hungary but the winner in the end, for £3785 on April 14, is in France.  Here's hoping he joins the club soon, as he has acquired a very special Rochdale.  


This GT has a new home in France          




There seems to have been a number of Olympics, all Phase 1s, changing hands over the last couple of months.


A number of people pointed out to me that the Phase 1 Olympic 895 GBF was for sale on ebay back in April.  The car was originally built by a Clive Downing in 1962 and he kept it until 1980 when it was purchased by Bernard Allum of Twickenham, Middlesex.  Bernard used the car until 1990 and then sold it to an RAC patrolman, at which point it disappeared from my records.


I understand that at some point it subsequently passed through the ownership of Keith Hamer.  When it was spotted on ebay recently it was in the Bury St Edmunds area and it has now been bought by someone in France.  Hopefully in due course I will be contacted by the new owner and will be able to update my records.


Alaric Spendlove has recently acquired a running Phase 1, JFO 673.  This particular car has had an interesting history.  Originally registered 90 FHO it was built by a Dick Cawthorne and a write up appeared in the February 1965 edition of Motor Sport.  It then passed through a number of owners including Peter Watkiss and Paul Narramore and spent a considerable number of years off the road.  It was eventually rebuilt and made roadworthy by Richard Morris in the mid 1990s.  Alaric has suffered a few teething troubles, including overheating in traffic, traced to there being no cooling fan on the end of the wiring!!  Looking under the bonnet at Capesthorne this has now been sorted out.  As a result of this new acquisition Alaric has put his Phase 2 PBK 74M up for sale (see mag 105).


Another Phase 1 on the move is BPL 125, the ex Boon & Porter car, rebuilt in the late 1990s by Les Elliott and more recently owned by Richard Bennett.  The current owner is now Simon Brindle.


EWT 219H is a Riley 1.5 engined Phase 2 that has been owned for the last 20 years by David Allen from Solihull, although I don't think it has ventured too far from the garage during that period.  Ownership has now passed to James Farrington from Fareham, who is Davids future son in law.  Hopefully a rebuild will be started shortly.


Finally, 10 YPP has recently been sold by Anna Hill, who has owned the car since the early 1970's.  The car has a number of unusual features.  Not only had it been fitted with an opening hatch, a la Phase 2, but it also had a Phase 2 dash and Phase 2 wheels (the hole pattern was quite different from the unequal spacing of the Phase 1s).


It was surmised that these modifications had been carried out at the factory, certainly they had been carried out prior to 1969.


Strangely, although I have known the car for some 30 years, it was only earlier on this year that I managed, via the local authority, to discover that the original owner had been a G M Tilling from Slough.

The new owner is Alexander White from Berwickshire and within a month of acquiring the car he managed to reawaken it from its 10 year slumber.  I was a little surprised to see a few weeks later the car for sale on ebay.  Apparently, after buying the Olympic, Alex had the offer of purchasing a Berkeley that he had been after for a number of years, hence the re-sale.


Hopefully this won't be yet another car that disappears from the records.


Roger Drinkwater owns VJY 626, one of the early pre-fire shells.  Although this was ordered by J Howarth in October 1960 it was not delivered until February 1961, one week after the factory fire. Roger has recently been in touch with the original owner, who has confirmed that the shell is in fact one of those that survived the fire and therefore appears in the famous photograph in front of the blazing building.  It is not clear whether two or three shells actually survived the fire, but this is certainly one of them.         

There has been much correspondence in the magazine in recent years on the Phase 2 and the large amount of castor built into the front suspension, in fact considerably more so than the Triumph models from which the suspension components are taken.


I was therefore interested to read a recent article in MG Enthusiast Magazine on the MGB.  It would seem that as standard these models were designed with 7 degrees of castor, comparable to the Phase 2.  The interesting thing is that when MG reintroduced the B as the RV8 the castor was reduced dramatically and there are now several kits on the market to reduce angle on the B to about 4 degrees.  These take the form of wedges or spacers to tilt the whole sub-frame more upright, thus reducing the castor angle.  Apparently, the replacement front crossmembers from British Motor Heritage make use of this castor geometry.


In general terms the article implies that large castor angles give greater directional stability, but heavier steering and smaller angles the reverse.  More importantly the article also implies that modern tyre technology and the use of radial tyres allows the use of these smaller angles, giving lighter steering (or perhaps just returning the steering weight to what it would originally have been on cross ply tyres) without sacrificing stability.


So, perhaps those Phase 2 owners who have modified their front suspension are merely following the modern approach.