Classic car insurance.
I have been using Footman James as insurers for my classic cars for many years and I have been very pleased with their service (apart from having to wait when trying to contact them by phone). They have now initiated a discounted vehicle insurance scheme, which the ROC has joined. Full details are given on pp 4 & 5.
Back issues of magazine.
To satisfy the demand for complete sets of magazines we are planning a reprint of some of the back numbers of which we have no or few copies. Getting them copied is no problem the problem is one of cost, as getting small runs could easily result in a unit cost of £4. If any member has access to low cost copying, please get in touch.
I must express my thanks to James Farrington for volunteering to supply early Rochdale articles from information supplied by Malcolm McKay, who has not been able to find the time recently to do his usual detailed and informative pieces. I don't know how James does it either, what with his other commitments (rebuilding an Olympic, running a website, young family and earning a living in his spare time). Perhaps he doesn't need to sleep.
Top tips (not really).
1). I like to use an old Anglepoise lamp to light up my work areas, but normal 60W bulbs are very fragile and break if given even a slight knock. But I find that a halogen version, which looks just like a headlamp bulb inside a domestic bulb, is vastly more robust and gives more light too. Certainly worth the extra price.
2). I like to carry a bottle of water on my journeys, but if left in the car it can get warm. A very cheepcheep way to delay this process is to pop it into a couple of old bubble-wrap padded envelopes, which provide excellent (and cheap) insulation. No batteries required.
The second Tuesday evening of the month in the Summer, at Britannic Assurance,1 Wythall Green Way, off Middle Lane, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG. (From J3 on the M42 follow A435 north 1-mile turn left at 1st roundabout then mile turn left at mini-roundabout).
Sunday 12th October, 11am till 3pm.
Sunday 9th November, 11am till 3pm.
Sunday 14th December, 11am till 3pm.
Sunday 11th January, 11am till 3pm
The last Thursday evening of the month in the Summer at The Moat House Inn, Birmingham Road (A435), Kings Coughton, Alcester, Warks, B49 5QF.
Thursday 25th September, from 7pm. (Last one of the year)
Unfortunately, I did not receive enough photographs for a 2009 calendar.
Thanks to those of you who did send one; if I receive enough by June 2009 I will do one for 2010 as January 2010 is the 50th Anniversary of the Olympic.
CLASSIC CAR SHOW NEC 14th, 15th and 16th November 2008
The stand size is 49 by 16 this should take 4 cars, so has anyone got a reasonably tidy GT, Olympic P1 or Olympic P2 that they would either like or be willing to have it put on show?
Ideas for new and interesting material for the stand and the display boards would be most welcome, the theme for the show will be LAUNCHES not as in boats but as celebrating the original launch of the car, so if anybody has photos and details of the Olympics launch at the Racing Car Show, January 1960 please let me know as it would be nice to recreate the 1960 stand? Also offers of help with stand duty would be appreciated this would include a free admission ticket.
PLEASE contact Tony Stanton email@example.com
James Farrington Olympic PII EWT 219H has set up a diary of his rebuild and other Rochdale information on www.rochdaleproject.co.uk Well worth a look.
SILVERSTONE CLASSIC on July 25th, 26th & 27th 2008.
A great 3 days for all who attended, (the 3 days that were the British summer) but short on Rochdales. On the stand we had 11 Turners, with 1 more racing, a Fairthorpe, 2 Tornados and 2 Olympics, DUFFY and Alan Farrer with Phase 2 BNC 849B. All the cars created a lot of interest and comments.
10th August F.S.C.C. Historic Specials Day at Burford, very good turnout of period cars. Richard Disbrow puts a lot of effort into this day, thanks Richard for getting lovely old cars together in one place at the same time. Poor turnout of Rochdales this year just DUFFY, Alan Farrer and Colin Breakspear all the way from Germany. But at least Alans Olympic was awarded the Les Montgomery Trophy for Best Modified - a well-deserved recognition for a lot of hard work.
The place to share your passion for cars, the UKs biggest and Classic Motor Show returns to Birminghams NEC from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th November. Over 1,000 vehicles will be on display
courtesy of Britains best motoring clubs. Spanning five halls, around 200 clubs will display unusual and breathtaking marques ranging from European elegance and American muscle cars to Japanese performance and Great British sports cars and many more.
TV motoring expert Mike Brewer will set another motoring challenge for his trusty mechanic Edd China as well as providing a healthy helping of fun on the live stage while in the Restoration Theatre, our team will show you exactly how to tackle all aspects of restoring your cherished classic car. With over 300 trade stands selling a wide range of parts, spares, tools, and motoring services as well as the popular Autojumble, you are sure to find everything you need to get you on the road.
You can also enjoy a Dream Ride courtesy of the Sporting Bears, which offer a ten-mile ride as a passenger in your dream ride in exchange for a donation to charity. The Classic Motor Show is the only major motoring exhibition to offer this amazing opportunity.
New for 2008 is Classic Bikes at the Classic Motor Show, a brand new hall dedicated to bikes and scooters dating from pre-war to 80s modern classics with classic motorcycle clubs from all over the UK displaying rare and unusual bikes. There will also be a seminar stage, motorcycle traders and a
Bikejumble for people looking for that elusive part.
Show Manager Andy Rouse explains: For the past few years we have encouraged more classic motorcycle clubs to apply for the free space that we allocate at each show. As the interest in classic bikes has grown, so has the space allocated so it's a natural progression that we dedicate an entire hall so that enthusiasts can see even more rare and amazing motorcycles along with the exquisite cars that we always feature.
The Pavilion has a direct link into the main show halls and entrance will be included in the ticket price, giving visitors even more value for money. With 5,000 square metres to fill, we are welcoming applications from classic motorcycle and scooter clubs for space within this area and have up to 50 slots available. If successful, each club will receive a carpeted space, free of charge, along with two entry passes for the owners of each bike displayed per day and an exclusive ticket deal for its members giving them the best discount on tickets prices.
The Classic Motor Show is open from 10am until 6.30pm on Friday, 9.30am until 6.30pm on Saturday, and 9.30am until 5.30pm on Sunday. Ticket prices range from £15 when purchased in advance. For the latest updates or to book tickets, visit www.necclassicmotorshow.com or tel: 0870 060 3776.
Footman James teams up with the Rochdale Owners Club!
Classic vehicle insurance broker Footman James is delighted to have teamed up with the Rochdale Owners Club to offer the best insurance deals, advice and support to Club members.
Club members who contact Footman James can now receive up to 10% on a range of products specifically tailored to the needs of the enthusiast. In addition you can receive 5% off home and contents insurance. This includes any loose and spare parts for your vehicle, up to the value of £1,000, that are being kept indoors perfect for all motor enthusiasts!
There are also fantastic options, such as multi-vehicle (minimum 2 classics + 1 modern), limited mileage and laid up policies, that can save Club members even more money and crucially, offer peace of mind for your pride-and-joy.
Emma Merwood a lifelong classic and sports car enthusiast is Footman James club liaison officer and is looking forward to working closely with the Rochdale Owners Club and its members.
Investing in specialist vehicle clubs is a vital aspect of Footman James future plans and I am delighted to be playing a lead role in this, said Emma.
As a classic car lover myself, it's always exciting to meet and greet other enthusiasts and working with
Clubs is the ideal way to do this. I look forward to seeing Footman James relationship with the Rochdale Owners Club go from strength to strength in the future.
Emma Merwood is an active member of the TVR Car Club and is the proud owner of a lovingly restored 1971 TVR Vixen. Her Vixen which arrived in six boxes and took two years to fully restore - has won numerous awards and is regularly on show at the classic car events she attends. Emma also owns a 1992 TVR 400SE.
Footman James was named Insurance Broker of the Year in the UK Broker Awards 2006 in recognition of the quality of service and product in the classic vehicle market and all FJ motor vehicle policies include European and UK breakdown cover, legal expenses cover, road rage personal accident cover and emergency travel cover.
For a free instant quote call:
0845 330 9732
Quote ref: ROCH
Footman James was founded in 1983 to establish a professional insurance broking service specialising in exclusive plans for niche markets. For over twenty years Footman James has enjoyed a unique relationship with vintage and classic vehicle enthusiasts and clubs offering an exceptional service and flexibility. Footman James policies cover over 160,000 vehicles and attract premium income of over £40 million. Footman James operates a call centre of 180 experienced staff based in Cradley Heath, West Midlands dealing efficiently with over 2,500 requests a day. For further information, contact Emma Bicknell at Footman James on 0121 561 6245.
For Members of The Rochdale Owners Club
Policy Cover Benefits and Options
Footman James Insurance Policy Benefits:
UK & European Breakdown
Motor Legal Expenses
Road Rage & Car Jacking
It's important to note that many insurance companies ask a higher premium for such inclusions, so always compare like with like when making price comparisons.
Classic Vehicle Insurance Policy Options:
Limited and unlimited mileage policies
Multi-vehicle put your classic and modern cars on one policy (min. 2 classics)
All Rochdale Owners Club Members qualify for the following generous discounts:
10% on Kit, Classic Car & Classic Motorcycle insurance
5% on Modern Car & Motorcycle insurance 5% on Buildings and Contents insurance
Rochdale Owners Club Members call:
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Quote reference ROCH
While at Burford in August Derek Bentley and I had a long and interesting conversation with Derek
Argyle, who is Technical Secretary of the Wildcat Owners Club (replica E Types). Now it seems that in 1963 Derek A Owned Olympic Phase 2 589 CCJ, later re-registered FWO 764C, then destroyed in a RTA in 1983. (Photographs of the car being cut up prior to being taken to the tip are in Magazine No 89 page 7). In the conversation Derek A was telling us about Motor Sport magazine and Denis S Jenkinsons involvement in his Olympic and Olympic 90 FHO.
(D.S.J or Jenks: Denis S Jenkinson was for over 40 years the continental correspondent of MOTOR SPORT, the passenger/navigator with Stirling Moss in the 1955 Mille Miglia and the reason why I and many others read Motor Sport.)
This made me think about my article in Magazine 112 page 6 & 7 on the 2 lost Olympics at Blackbushe 1964, because I knew D.S.J. was entered in a Allard Dragon Dragster, so I sent Derek A a copy of the 2 photos. Below is his informative reply.
Great to receive your mammoth 8-page e-mail which did bring back many happy memories.
When I got married to Maureen in Nov 1961 we came to live in Camberley, purely by chance, from homes in and around Derby. Maureen was doing a degree at Kings and I had come to start my career as a land surveyor based in the big city. Maureen subsequently took a job with Motor magazine as secretary to the editor Joe Lowrey who, within a year or so, retired and handed over to Charles Bulmer who at the time, was the technical editor. Fate plays wonderful games and it so emerged that Charles also lived in Camberley. Charles made us particularly welcome to the friends and acquaintances he had made over many years and these included Peter Garnier, Jenks and, in time, all the Motor road test staff including Bowler, Dron, Cardno, Curtis, Bell etc. We joined the Hants & Berks Motor Club straightaway and that was the start of many happy years taking part in road rallies, driving tests, commentating at the H & B organised 2 CV racing, assisting at Great Auclum, and spending many weekends socialising at popular venues around the country. At the monthly pub gatherings, I did get to know Derek Buckler a little.
Jenks managed to borrow an Allard Dragon dragster powered by a 1500 pre cross-flow Cortina engine running with a blower and many of the active members of the H & B went to Blackbushe to assist at the Festival. Much of the final preparation of the dragster was made by Colin Glass who can be seen in the picture on the right hand side wearing white overalls. I am kneeling in front of the dragster speaking to him and do not remember this picture being taken at the time. Dick was at the venue and the picture show his red car clearly. His car was powered by a 1500 Morris engine, the early B series, out of an Oxford I believe. (Olympic Phase 1 90 FHO)
A note about the late Alaric (Dick) Cawthorne.
Dick was the kindest generous and lovable fellow anyone could wish to meet. He was careful with money for himself and even his family but when it came to others he was most generous, not so much financially but in the sense of giving aid and help. I learned a lot from Dick who, as a qualified engineer, taught me to weld and was able to manufacture practically anything from old pieces of junk. He would tackle rebuilds of DS Citroens and a Jensen 541. He had worked at Woomera, Australia, Malvern, Worcs and ended his career at the Road Research Laboratory, Crowthorne. Dick and his very capable wife Nan held many late night parties and we all brought along instruments such as banjos, trombone, guitars and clarinet in an attempt to make music when, amongst the group, there was only one or two who were truly proficient with their instrument. Thank God that house was detached.
Motor Sport magazine showed three Olympics for sale and I travelled with Jenks in his Porsche 356 to look at each of them as well as combining a visit to a wet Snetterton race meeting. As your e-mail reads, I did buy the third Rochdale which I saw that weekend and which was powered with a standard 1500 Ford engine, not the GT version. I cannot remember the name of the late doctor who had assembled the car but do remember that the son, with whom I made the purchase, was employed in the design office of the Luton Vauxhall plant nearby. 589 CCJ was perfectly roadworthy when I came to collect it with Dick but there was some trim that had not been fitted nor was the car painted. With a £50 loan from Jenks I paid £550 for this effectively new Rochdale.
It was at one of Dick/Nans late-night parties that Dick, who had disappeared for a quarter of an hour, said to me, I have started an article on Rochdales in the spare bedroom, go and add a paragraph. This became the first article I ever wrote that ended up in Motor Sport and Sidelights. (Part reproduced below - Tony). That reminds me of another party time but I can't place it in time sequence. Maureen and I had arrived at Dicks home in Church Crookham early for a party and Dick explained that we needed to make room for other cars so we would have to push his Rochdale and mine closer to the hedge. I pushed Dicks Rochdale and then asked Dick to release the handbrake on my car while I pushed. The strong resistance I felt led me to tell Dick that he hadn't fully released the handbrake, but he had. Later investigation showed that the gearbox was very stiff to turn and it was not a case of brakes binding as I had believed. This did at least give an answer as to why I was not getting the expected fuel consumption. The mention of the Derisley trailer in the e-mail refers to John Derisley, another H & B member who had sufficient funds to afford to go international racing and who drove a Lotus 7, a Lotus 18 and an Elite.
You should be able to find the original advert for the sale of 589 CCJ along with the same Motor Sport that contained the two other Rochdales that I saw that weekend with Jenks when I finally settled on buying 589 CCJ. I will look for pictures of my Rochdale and will send copies to you. Very sadly Dick Cawthorne died of cancer on December 18th, 2000. He was completing an E type kit car up to within three months before he died.
Here's an amusing anecdote about Dick and his Rochdale. After finally finishing the build of his car, he loaded up wife and luggage and set off for a fortnight in France. Now it was either at the port or at the Silver City terminal which most of us used in those days that Dick was stopped by the Customs officials and the occupants asked to get out. Dick was asked to unload all his luggage which was searched and then the officials took the car apart, right down to the removal of trim panels after which, not finding whatever they were looking for, thanked Dick and told him he could proceed, leaving a skeleton Rochdale and a not too happy Dick to reassemble and repack the car.
This writing has brought back more of my Rochdale memories which I hope won't bore you since the car no longer exists. I was travelling towards London on the A30 just after Sunningdale one morning in busy traffic conditions. My wife was with me and it was wet. I suppose I was doing about 60 mph when, suddenly the back of the car slid towards the kerb. I very quickly applied corrective lock but probably overdid it and the car swung violently right, left, and right again to head, at a shallow angle, towards the oncoming traffic on the other side of the road. I should add that at this time I was travelling backwards.
I still seemed to be doing about sixty on the smooth wet tarmac and looking out of the rear window realised I was in no position to avoid a glancing blow along the flank of an on-coming Vauxhall Cresta. This collision resulted in the Rochdale spinning round to finish facing forwards again and coming to a halt with petrol dripping out of the nearside wing fuel tank.
Within minutes the Police arrived since they had been parked up nearby and noticed a queue starting to form. In an attempt to push the Rochdale to the side of the road it was found that the rear wheels would not turn. The most helpful Police said they would attend to having the car towed away and as we were desperate to get to our work in London, took us to Virginia Water station. Now at work, Maureen explained the odd behaviour of the wheel-locking of the Rochdale to Motor magazine colleagues and one of them spoke to contacts at Ford who were happy that no one had been injured. They were aware of a certain batch of gearboxs that had not received a drilled hole for complete lubrication of the bearings. Ford dealers had been informed but obviously the supply and notification to Rochdale Motor Panels had been overlooked; they would take full responsibility and I was to send them the repair bill. The car was towed to Southlands, Bromley fibreglass specialists and a superb repair was made.
More memories come flooding back making me realise that this old car of mine had quite a history. I had been to visit my parents in Chester and, returning one Sunday afternoon, I found I was travelling at about sixty miles an hour backwards on the wide grass verge on the opposite side of the road. I was coming down Marlow hill and luckily happened to be running parallel with the road. When I came to my senses I quickly applied the brakes and as I came to rest realised just how near I had come to one very big accident. I had no idea of what had happened and drove with the utmost care back home. It was while I was recounting this experience with Charles Bulmer that his suggestion that I should not be on the road if I didn't know what had happened that led me to remember that I had felt tired just beforehand. This served as a very positive warning to me and the odd time I have felt the least bit tired since then, I have made sure I stop and walk around for a break.
One final episode I can recall. On reflection and probably as a result of the previously mentioned near accident I began to feel that the Rochdales handling had gone off. I put up with this for a while and realised I was likely to have an accident if I wasn't very careful since the rear of the car was taking over the steering. Being a much less proficient mechanic in those days I could not see what the trouble was and decided that I should sell it; it was too dangerous to handle. But then again I couldn't offer it for sale in this dangerous condition.
I took it to a small garage at the bottom of Egham Hill where the owner housed his D type Jag. He found that one of the trailing arm mounting points had broken and did an excellent repair on the car. By the time I collected the car my advert had been answered and I was to have a visit from a fellow coming down from Leeds. The car now had perfect handling and I was sorry I had been so quick to put it up for sale. I decided that I would try not to sell it by sticking to my asking price and offering no reduction. We haggled for ages and I think it was a Mr Penman who finally gave me a cheque for the full amount some £25 more than I had paid for the car though it was now handled perfectly and had been sprayed Jaguar/Daimler metalicrome steel grey.
Tony, if there is anything else I can help you with, memory obliging, I shall be pleased to write again. Once more thank you for the mail and those pictures of wonderful days gone by. Derek Argyle
Blackbushe 1964- 589 CCJ Steel Grey on the top left (note spotlights in nose)- 90 FHO Red on the top right- Derek Argyle kneeling bottom left- Colin Glass in white overhalls- plus Allard Dragon No 116 driven by D.S.J. (44years ago)
I feel envious of Derek Argyle, Alaric (Dick) Cawthorne and their two Olympics and their unassuming relationship with Jenks. I suppose with hindsight 589 CCJ could have been rebuilt instead of been cut up (I believe Derek Bentley still has the rear hatch, is this enough for a rebuild?) and 90 FHO is still around now owned by Alaric Spendlove in Devon, but it is a shame the registration number was removed by a past owner and is now registered JFO 673. The name Alaric is not very common, but here we have the same car being owned by an Alaric in the 60s and again 40+ years later.
And a quote I found on the internet to end this article:
The 1955 Mille Miglia was won by Denis Jenkinson in a chauffeur driven Mercedes-Benz 300SLR
This is part of an article in Sidelights, the monthly magazine of the Hants & Berks M.C., which is a discussion between two members who have built Rochdale Olympics one with Ford GT engine, the other using an M.G. power unit. (Full article in magazine No 95 Autumn 2003 page 16 Tonys note)
Alaric (Dick) Cawthorne : " The first I knew about the Olympic was a newspaper photograph that I spotted in South Australia. I thought it was beautiful and decided there and then that, if at all possible, I would have one when 1 got back to the U.K. The looks did it, but fortunately the specification fitted too - the right amount of accommodation for our two-and-a-half family, cheap spares, etc. All the difficulties of home building seemed to matter little to an inveterate special builder, but I had never before invested £500 in such pastimes and I was some time saving up to take the plunge. Meanwhile Rochdales were busy having a fire which destroyed their moulds and caused them to move to bigger and even filthier premises. Then Charles Bulmer (Motor Sport editor) took me out in the road-test car and the die was cast. How did you come to decide that this was the car for you?"
Derek Argyle: " The Mini had suited me fine for two years or so, by which time I hankered for a faster, streamlined yet reasonably economical ear, as near to the true GT concept as possible. I sought pamphlets on every chassis and fibre-glass body and where possible viewed such components only to realise. that one would invariably end up with what is generally known as a ' special.' At all costs, the car 1 built must look virtually if not wholly ' production finished.' Finally, a road-test of the original Phase 1 Olympic appeared in a popular weekly and after a little chat with Charles Bulmer I decided that no other car at a similar cost could offer such speed, good looks and economy.
"Unfortunately, I couldn't really afford a new one even in kit form, with mortgages and expensive wives to run, so we searched around the sporty motoring mags, and within a month were fortunate to see three such cars within a 120 miles radius. Now D.S.J. was visiting Snetterton and Debden that following weekend and he readily agreed to look at these Rochdales and take me motor racing at the same time. One of the cars was fitted with a Ford 105E engine and, though well finished, was struck off the list as underpowered.
Apr 63 MS ROCHDALE OLYMPIC, 105E, registered July 1962, 6000 miles. Fully trimmed and instrumented. £550. Hoare, Tangley House, Oak Avenue, Hampton,
Middlesex. Tel: MOLesey 166
(Reg no not known yet - Derek/Tony)
The second was a somewhat tatty, cream- coloured model belonging to a ' flying type ' but one which certainly did motor, with an M.G.A. engine.
Apr 63 MS ROCHDALE OLYMPIC: 15 months old, 22000 miles. MGA 1622 engine, oil cooler. Twin fuel tanks, Kenlowe fan. new X tyres. Heater, harnesses, rear seats, 2-speed wipers, washers wood-rim wheel. Fully trimmed. A really practical, economical, high-performance car. Immense fun to drive, very rapid on long journeys. Owner/ builder going overseas. £540, part exchange considered. F/L Oulton, Greensleeves Shepreth,Cambs.
(Reg no not known yet - Derek/Tony)
Car three (We have not found the advert for 589 CCJ yet - Derek/Tony) had been assembled so that it was just about in a roadworthy state and was a Phase 2 with 117 miles on the clock. I immediately fell in love with this and just had to have it. It was being sold because of the death of its doctor owner and so I found myself making an offer, an offer which proved sufficiently high to make me a very proud Olympic owner. Of course, you didn't buy your car as a complete kit, Dick ?"
Dick Cawthorne : " No, quite the contrary. Having decided that it had to be a Rochdale, I found that the firm at that stage only produced body shells, and I set about collecting the mechanical bits as cheaply as possible. The engine and gearbox came from Edinburgh in the back of the Renault Dauphine and the back axle from a breaker in Rainham and so on. After months of waiting, D.S.J. and I (that man again) collected the body and new front suspension from Rochdale with John Derisley's trailer behind the faithful Dauphine. I was rather disappointed with the ' finish ' on the body and spent the first 50 hours of work filling and grinding the rough edges and fitting points. Fortunately, at that stage you started to lend a hand, Derek, and the rate of progress was a lot more encouraging.
H&H Classic Auctions
As a trained engineer and director of George Lister & Sons - a metal working firm founded by his grandfather that made everything from garden gates to bridges - Brian Lister was better placed than most to become a racing car manufacturer. Able to draw on the engine tuning expertise and supreme driving skills of Don Moore and Archie Scott Brown respectively (both fellow Cambridge University Automobile Club members) he set about designing a 'cutting edge' sports racer in late 1953. Unveiled to the press the following March, the prototype Lister (chassis number 'BHL 1') boasted an unusual 'kite shaped' ladderframe chassis. Formed from three-inch diameter steel tubing, its side members kinked out around the driver and passenger seats so as to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. While, efforts to reduce unsprung weight included mounting the rear Alfin drum brakes inboard (either side of a Salisbury differential). Further benefiting from a sophisticated coil-over suspension set-up (independent doublewishbone front / sliding block located de Dion tube rear) and rack and pinion steering, the newcomer was powered by a Don Moore prepared 1500cc XPAG MG engine. With Archie Scott Brown behind the wheel, it won first time out at Snetterton on April 3rd 1954 (accruing a lead of 56 seconds in just five laps).
Ever mindful of the harm a major racing accident could do to his family's core business, Brian Lister refused to build a featherweight car. Thus, despite its handling prowess and Scott Brown's inspired helming, the Lister-MG was often eclipsed by Lotus opposition. Confident that the design could handle more power, Lister built a second machine (chassis number 'BHL 2') to which Moore fitted a breathed-on 1971cc Bristol straight-six engine. The result was little short of sensational. Making its debut during the British Grand Prix meeting at Silverstone on July 17th 1954, the Lister-Bristol was entered for the unlimited sports car race. Responding faithfully to Scott Brown's every command, it finished fifth overall (1st in class) behind three Aston Martin DB3S racers and the Lagonda DP115 V12 car but ahead of no fewer than eight Jaguar C-types. By the season's end, Lister had another five 1st places and nine 2nd places to its credit not to mention a growing order book. Priced at £465 plus tax, the production Lister chassis was differentiated from its Works equivalent by a revised rear suspension layout, hub-height mounted steering rack and Jack Turner 12-inch drum brakes. Although, most customers opted to install Bristol engines in the hope of emulating Scott Brown's success (he would score a further thirteen victories aboard 'BHL 2' in 1955), a few, like John Horridge, chose other powerplants.
According to a profile piece written by K. Heeley that appeared in the December 1958 issue of the 'Lancashire & Cheshire Motorist's Monthly' magazine:
"For 1955, John purchased a Lister fitted with a new 1.5 litre Riley engine bought in the days when that now famous firm was still in its infancy. But try as he might, he seemed unable to recapture his form of the previous season and due somewhat to the advent of newer cars such as the 'preposterously fast' Lotus and the introduction of 1500cc engines such as the Coventry-Climax unit being produced was never in the money".
Wearing a distinctive Rochdale alloy body, Horridge's mount for 1954 had been the Jehu-Riley. A well resolved Special that carried him to second place overall at the May 1954 24 Heures Grand Prix de Paris Bol D'Or, it was outclassed some weeks later by a certain Archie Scott Brown aboard the Lister-MG during the Half Litre Club's July 10th Oulton Park meeting.
Enlisting the help of fellow Lancastrian and former Le Mans finisher Geoffrey Beetson, Horridge got chassis number 'BHL 9' road registered as 'DEN 275' on 9th May 1955. Lining up for what would be the last ever Bol D'Or motor car race six days later, the Lister-Riley faced Porsche 550, Maserati A6GCS, Ferrari Mondial 500 and Gordini T15S opposition. Forced into retirement by a big-end failure, the sports racer fared little better upon its return to the UK. Indeed, by the season's end Beetson seems to have become disenchanted with the whole enterprise.
Undeterred, Horridge had the Lister re-engineered for 1956 with a Bristol engine and while their first few outings were unspectacular, car and driver soon picked up momentum. Though, not before they had retired from the Reims 12 Heures held as part of the 42nd Grand Prix de l'ACF meeting on June 30th 1956. Autosport magazine commenting as follows:
"Then there was John Horridge's Lister-Bristol which was going to be co-driven by David Piper instead of Archie Scott Brown as listed on the programme: this car was really completed in the paddock during the first race! . . . Before half an hour of racing was over David Piper brought the Lister into the pits with a broken clutch-actuating hydraulic cylinder and the harassed pit crew started fitting a new component which was installed in about three-quarters of an hour! . . . Another retirement was John Horridge and David Piper with the Lister which was sadly abandoned in the paddock with a dismantled cylinder head after blowing a gasket".
Thankfully 'DEN 275' was much better behaved for the rest of the 1956 season finishing 6th behind Maurice Charles' Jaguar C-type at Brands Hatch (Television Trophy, August 6th), 2nd in class to Archie Scott Brown's Lister-Maserati at Oulton Park (Daily Herald Trophy, August 18th), 4th and then 6th behind Austen Nurse's Lister-Bristol and Max Trimble's Jaguar C-type respectively at Silverstone (North Staffs MC, October 6th), 1st in class behind Keith Hall's Lotus XI at Snetterton (Redex Trophy, October 7th) and 3rd behind Stuart Lewis-Evans' Cooper Norton at Brands Hatch (Fibreglass bodied handicap, October 14th).
The 19th British Empire Trophy Race held at Oulton Park on April 6th 1957 must have been particularly galling for Horridge. Having qualified on the front row of the grid ahead of Allan Moore (ListerMaserati), Bill Frost (Lotus Eleven Climax), Gil Baird (Lister-Bristol, 'BHL 14') and Arthur Owen (Cooper T39 Climax) etc, he looked poised for a strong result until lap 19 when a sudden coolant loss cut short his afternoon. Enjoying something of a purple patch thereafter with 1st (Brands Hatch, April 21st), 2nd (Brands Hatch, May 19th) and 3rd (Oulton Park, May 25th) places, 'DEN 275' even graced the front cover of the programme for the BRSCC's June 9th 1957 Brands Hatch meeting. Despite what Autosport magazine referred to as its 'homely aspect', the fibreglass bodied car again performed well taking fifth place overall in the 10-lap sports car race. After another strong showing at the Leinster Trophy on July 13th, the Lister-Bristol took to the grid at Snetterton for the Vanwall Trophy meeting some fifteen days later. While dicing with the Loti of Brian Naylor, Gawaine Baillie and Mike Parkes, Horridge was punted off the track by Lance Reventlow's Maserati. As part of his profile piece on Horridge, K. Heeley recounted the accident in detail:
"The Lister overturned with its driver still aboard and in consequence John landed up in hospital with fractures to his neck vertebrae, nose and collar bones. The car was a complete (if that is the word) 'write off', the fibreglass body just disintegrating. Much to everybody's surprise he was soon up and about again in fact only ten days after the 'contretemps' and announced that not only would he be driving in competition once more, but he would do so at the Silverstone International meeting, six short weeks later. So all the remains, and there were many, of the last car were bundled into the transporter and rushed down to the Lister Works in Cambridge. A quick discussion was held with Brian Lister and he managed to fix the 'Equipe' up with the parts it required. By the usual process of burning innumerable gallons of 'midnight oil' another car with a new chassis and the ex-Allan Moore body began to take shape under the hands of the 'Ecurie Bullfrog' mechanics led by Stanley Newhouse. The Bristol engine had to be completely rebuilt before it could be put in the chassis, but to cut a long story short, both the car and her pilot were ready in time".
As things transpired the new look 'DEN 275' did not run at Silverstone (though, it did pick up a 1st in class at Charterhall a week later). Intriguingly, the account that Horridge gave to the 'Lancashire & Cheshire Motorist's Monthly' with regard to the Lister's reincarnation differs from what he told Doug Nye when the renowned motoring historian was writing 'Powered by Jaguar, The Cooper, HWM, Lister & Tojeiro sports-racing cars':
"Horridge broke his neck in this incident and his Lister-Bristol - which wore a glass-fibre body moulded by Rochdale's from a Connaught pattern - was written off. In 1980, running a Ford parts centre in Chorley, Lancashire, John recalled: 'I replaced it with the ex-Allan Moore Lister-Bristol chassis, which I bought from Brian Lister with a flat-iron body'. So that is where the original 'VPP 9' frame went to . . . Issard-Davies had part-exchanged it with Lister for the ex-Works Maserati-engined 'MER 303', which Moore was driving for him that 1957 season".
The Buckinghamshire number plate 'VPP 9' originally appeared on a Lister when Allan Moore registered his Bristol-engined car (chassis number 'BHL 3') as a 'private tourer' on May 4th 1955. As well as being the first production chassis, 'BHL 3' was also the first Lister to wear Thom Lucas-styled aluminium bodywork (complete with in-curled tailfins and prominent front wheelarch 'eyebrows'). For all its 'Dan Dare' curves, this futuristic shape still had a comparatively large frontal area. Thus, for the ListerMaserati and its 'flatiron' derivatives, the Cambridge firm drew inspiration from a model that Don Moore had turned up of Colonel Goldie Gardener's famous record-breaking MG EX 179. Although, the shortstroke Maserati engine with its side-draught carburettors lent itself to a far more elegant bonnet shape than the taller triple Solex topped Bristol unit. We have been unable to find any evidence that the Allan Moore Lister-Bristol was fitted with a 'flatiron' body prior to it being part-exchanged for the ListerMaserati in 1957. However, when Issard-Davies / Moore traded-in the car they surrendered any claim to either the chassis number 'BHL 3' or the registration number 'VPP 9' (both of which became Lister's property and were used on a hereditary basis).
Just as the original buff logbook which accompanies 'DEN 275' states that it was "built from old and new spare parts" so Horridge may well have been sympathetic to accepting the ex-Allan Moore chassis minus any identifying numbers. Given how protective Brian Lister was towards the good name of George Lister & Sons Ltd, it is unlikely that he would have released a chassis numbered as 'BHL 3' into private hands when that number had been adopted by the Works. There were undoubted advantages in terms of the contemporary purchase tax and carnet restrictions to Lister utilising the 'BHL 3' / 'VPP 9' numbers and Horridge already had an established identity for the rebuilt car. From what we can gather, it seems likely that the turn of events which Horridge outlined for Doug Nye in 1980 was not a distorted memory but rather the unfettered truth. Certainly the drum brakes which 'DEN 275' retains to this day are compelling evidence that it was reconstructed using a 1955-specification chassis like 'BHL 3' as opposed to a 1957type one (the cars produced by Lister in 1956 featured both 'flatiron' bodywork and four-wheel disc brakes). Whatever the precise ins and outs of its rejuvenation; 'DEN 275' was back in action for the 20th Empire Trophy Race at Oulton Park on April 12th 1958. Qualifying on the third row for Heat 2 (1100cc - 2000cc) ahead of J.W. Higham's Lotus and A. Digby's OSCA, Horridge's fastest practice lap of 2 minutes 10.4 seconds was just 3.4 seconds slower than that recorded by P. Whitehead in a Lister-Jaguar. During the race itself 'DEN 275' was forced to take to the escape road at high speed after it ran out of brakes!
Equally luckless on the Continent, the 'flatiron' bodied car retired from the May 5th 1958 Grand Prix des
Frontieres at Chimay too. Taken to Germany for the Nurburgring 1000km the following month, the Lister-Bristol found itself ignominiously abandoned in the paddock when Horridge was offered a Lotus co-drive. Perhaps conscious of the rear-engined revolution that was spreading from Formula 1 to sports car racing, Horridge placed an advert for 'DEN 275' in the August 8th 1958 issue of Autosport which read as follows:
"Lister Bristol. BS4 engine. Body ex-Allan Moore, just completely rebuilt, full Appendix C, several spares, 1,000".
Sadly, there were no takers and the car remained sidelined with an oil pressure fault until 1964. Recommissioned by Anthony Taylor who subsequently campaigned it at various Oulton Park and Aintree meetings, the old warhorse then passed to D. Cunningham of Rochdale, Lancs. Able to prolong its racing career for another few years thanks to sponsorship from a Mr Barlow (or so an accompanying hand written log would imply), 'DEN 275' was briefly owned by John A Brown of Padham, Lancs before being bought by the vendor's late husband in August 1969.
Joining a stable that already included a Mini Cooper and Lotus Cortina MKI, the Lister-Bristol participated in various sprints and hillclimbs during 1969 - 1970 including the Castle Howard Gunther Trophy, Scarborough hillclimb, BARC Harewood hillclimb and MG Car Club Northeaster Top Cliff Sprint etc. Laid-up nearly forty years ago, the sports racer was later stripped with the intention of restoring it - a process that has yet to happen. Overall the Lister appears to be basically complete. However, the contents of its engine, gearbox and back axle etc have not been verified.
Wiser heads than ours have advised us that the Bristol engine is something of a 'Heinz 57' concoction with a Cooper-Bristol magnesium alloy sump, gear-driven camshafts, '20.1.55' date stamped block and non-matching cylinder head etc. The rear spring / damper units have been replaced with angle-iron sections and the nominal two-seater sports a crude rollover bar which it seems to have acquired during the late 1960s. While, other incongruous features encompass Lucas sidelights which are entirely hidden by the 'flatiron' bodywork. An intriguing prospect, this Lister is potentially eligible for some of the world's most prestigious historic racing events. A potential front runner in a drum-braked up to 2-litre series, 'DEN 275' is worthy of close inspection.
Please Note: The above account of DEN 275's history is by no means definitive and we would ask potential purchasers to satisfy themselves as to its provenance (for example the race results listed have been drawn from a variety of different sources some of which may prove more accurate than others).
John Horridge 1926 1987
Born in Bury, Lancashire on February 1st 1926 (the same year as Brian Lister), John Walter Stuart Schofield Horridge began his competitive career in some style with a Grand Prix Bugatti. A bon viveur who was arguably more adept at popping champagne corks than tightening wheel nuts, he is remembered with great affection to this day. A former director of the calico printers, Horridge & Cornwall, his Elton Lodge home was supposedly a Mecca for gently decaying Vintage cars during the 1950s / 1960s. Once erroneously credited with achieving the fastest lap aboard 'DEN 275'at a Continental race meeting, Horridge displayed considerable ingenuity when it came to concealing the prize (100 bottles of champagne) from UK customs officials. Though, he did treat a number of fellow competitors to impromptu champagne breakfasts at the next event. Never one to take himself too seriously, the Lancastrian often raced under the Ecurie Bullfrog banner.
Doug Nye on John Horridge:
"Horridge's cars - I have been told - were notoriously scruffily presented and poorly prepared and one works team principal recalled how - at Montlhery, I think - Horridge came storming into the pits, slammed on his brakes and juddered to a stop while both headlights popped out of their mountings to dangle from their wires, having never been screwed-in securely".
Known Competition History (1955 - 1958):
Key: ELO = Entry List Only (race result unknown) i/c = in class DNS = Did Not Start o/a = overall
5th May Bol D'Or 24-hours Grand Prix de Paris, Montlhery Retired
1st August Air Kruise Trophy, Brands Hatch ELO
14th August West Essex International Meeting, Snetterton ELO
3rd Sep. Autumn International Race Meeting, Aintree 13th
14th April British Empire Trophy, Oulton Park DNS
23rd June Aintree '100' Meeting Retired
30th June 42nd Grand Prix de l'ACF, 12-hours Reims Retired
6th August Television Trophy, Brands Hatch 6th
18th August Daily Herald Trophy, Oulton Park 12th (2nd i/c)
6th October North Staffs MC, Silverstone 4th
6th October North Staffs MC, Silverstone 6th 7th October National Snetterton Handicap 3rd
7th October Redex Trophy, Snetterton 1st i/c
14th October Brands Hatch Fibreglass Bodied Handicap 3rd
6th April British Empire Trophy, Oulton Park Retired
21st April Easter Meeting, Brands Hatch 1st
19th May BRSCC Meeting, Brands Hatch 2nd
25th May Lancaster & Cheshire CC, Oulton Park 3rd
9th June Brands Hatch 5th o/a
10th June Crystal Palace Retired
13th July Leinster Trophy 6th (Heat 2)
27th July National Snetterton Crashed
14th Sep Daily Express International Trophy, Silverstone ELO
21st Sep Charterhall 1st i/c
12th April British Empire Trophy, Oulton Park Retired
5th May Grand Prix des Frontieres, Chimay Retired 1st June Nurburgring 1000kms ELO
H&H are indebted to the following for their assistance in the preparation of this catalogue description: Terry Harrison, John Dabbs, Nigel Wills and David Piper.
With the market for 1950s and 1960s sports racers reaching new highs at the moment, it was perhaps predictable that DEN 275 would sell well. Beginning its period racing career with a 1.5 litre Riley engine but ending it with a 2.0 litre Bristol unit, the Lister had been in single family ownership since August 1969. Stored in an old mill for much of the past four decades, it was among the more intriguing restoration projects that H&H has ever had the pleasure of offering. Eagerly contested by two telephone bidders and a gentleman in the room all of whom could see past its dented aluminium bodywork and likely £100,000 refurbishment cost, the ex-John Horridge Ecurie Bullfrog car generated a round of applause when auctioneer Simon Hope brought his gavel down at £115,000. Indeed, the premium inclusive price paid, £126,500, was a new auction world record price for a Bristol-powered Lister and more than two and a half times the £50,000 starting figure suggested by the catalogue. Pleasingly, the new owner plans to have DEN 275 running in historic events as early as autumn next year.
The Lister was not the only competition car to change hands, with the 1949 H.R.G. 1100 Alpine Rally Team Car (£31,900), 1958 Fiat Abarth 750GT Zagato Corsa (£30,800), 1957 RGS Atalanta MG (£26,950), historic rally car converted 1950 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible (£19,800) and 1970 Piper GTT (£18,700) among others all finding new homes. Headlining the road car results was the highly original 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series III at £110,000 followed by the former concours winning 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limousine at £71,600. Polar opposites in terms of condition, the delightfully careworn 1928 Lagonda 14/60 Semi-Sports Tourer and freshly restored 1933 Riley 9 Lynx Tourer made similar money at £24,200 and £23,100 respectively. Proof that strong prices are being achieved at all levels if the car in question is deemed sufficiently special, the cute as a button 1937 Fiat 500 Topolino raised more than a few eyebrows when it commanded £11,550 against a saleroom estimate of £5,000 - £6,000, while the highly presentable 1931 Austin Seven Saloon found its way into a notable collection for £7,700.
The highest price realised in the automobilia section was £1,575 for an imposing National Benzole Corporation light box. While, the Edwardian Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot (£1,012), Lalique Tete D'Aigle Bookends (£900), Asprey Hornet mascot (£843), Frazer Nash Original Artwork by James Dugdale (£787) and Malcolm Campbell signed Blue Bird photograph (£360) also performed strongly. Overall, the sale demonstrated that provenance and / or condition remain crucial factors in attracting strong bidding, while anything judged to be�below par is beginning to struggle.
For more information and images please contact H&H direct on +44 (0) 8458 334455 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DEN 275 with the Rochdale C-type body (above and top)
R o c h d a l e T y p e F
Iin period setting
making money from unwanted items
If you're anything like me (and I suspect most Rochdale owners are) then in the course of various car projects, you will have accumulated lots of parts off various vehicles which are too good to throw away yet are of no direct use. They may be of little apparent value, and attempts to sell (local papers, club magazines, motoring press) often meet with no response, and it's difficult to know their worth anyway.
Well - DON'T throw them away. There is ALWAYS someone, somewhere, who needs those bits, and the magic thing about eBay is - it puts you in touch with them, be they in Holland, Germany, Canada, Australia, Poland, USA, or Malta. Incredibly, people from all those countries and more have been in touch recently and seized on the opportunity to purchase bits I nearly threw out years ago; they are happy to get them, you feel good about the parts are being used rather than scrapped, and the price to which the auction floats is often a pleasant little surprise for things you had viewed as a financial writeoff. Would you believe £90 for old Herald seat belts? £80 for a Commer exhaust? £11.77 for a Minor starting handle?
So what's needed? Well, an obvious start is a computer with internet access - preferably broadband, though you can (just!) manage with dial-up if you're patient enough. You will need to get yourself registered with eBay - just go to www.ebay.co.uk and type in your details, including an eBay identity which you are pretty much stuck with once entered, so don't make it too silly. While there is no charge for any of this you WILL need to enter your bank account, and credit card details to link up to. While this kind of thing has given me no problem, you do need to be careful of any e-mail asking for such - I have had a number of scams claiming to be my bank as well as eBay in an effort to get to my details. You may also want to consider signing up to PAYPAL and transferring in a float to get you started if you are intending buying things. This is convenient when using eBay, and results in instant payments at the end of the auction (though getting money in from your bank can be painfully slow...) Cost to the buyer is nothing, though there are a few % charged to the seller each time. I personally would always go with Paypal as a buyer if possible, and much prefer to use it as a seller also - though not for very large or very small items. 23p on a 1 item isn't cheap and 2.9% of £3300 (my biggest sale) is far too much and I would insist on an alternative here (cash, cheque etc - but make sure its cleared!).
Once your account is set up, buying is the simpler option to start with - if you browse through the lists, or just type in the obscure item you have been looking for, it is amazing what shows up. Bidding is just a matter of typing in how much you are prepared to pay, with your identity + password and then letting things run their course. Auctions may be of various lengths though a week is most common. An item may lurk at virtually nothing all week and suddenly go crazy in the last few minutes - I did have one piece go from about £30 (more than I had expected) to over £300 in the last 5 seconds! The bidding is an art in itself, and a bid of, say, £100 does not mean this is the amount you pay. If the top bid stands at £50 then a £100 bid from you will push the price up to £52 (only), which you may just get lucky with. If the original bidder comes back with £100 this will push your bid to its limit (original one stands) and then demand £105 (minimum) from the next bidder. I been involved in a number of quite dramatic auctions - it's better than TV - one of the most remarkable being a friend who put £150 on obscure Mk 1 Land Rover vents he had spent years looking for. He turned out to be the only one interested and got them for £12!
Before you can SELL anything, you will need to photograph your item and enter a description in your ad. Just about any old bits (preferably not too heavy) will have a ready market. Classic bike bits - BSA/Triumph/Norton etc - have an unbelievable market but old car parts, especially Morris, MG, Triumph etc are not far behind. If you get your advert and photos right, people get caught up in the frenzy of bidding and may end up paying well over the brand new price. You will need a small parcels list from Royal Mail, and a set of scales if you are doing things properly - some things are just too heavy to post.
Here are some (hard earned) tips for better buying and selling:
Time your auction. Nobody is watching at lunch times, or Saturday pm, though I have found Thursday and Sunday evenings optimal.
Make sure your pictures are top quality. Think about your backgrounds, make sure the part is clean and
get the lighting right - don't expect big bids for dark and out of focus images. Its a seasonal business. Don't expect high prices in the summer months or the lead in to Christmas. However, response can be massive from folks sitting around with a lap top in the few days AFTER Christmas when they have little to do.
The top bid is of little consequence - you never get to know it anyway. It is the SECOND bid which has the most influence on the price they pay and predicting responses can be almost impossible. If you start an item at 99p, that may just be all it makes. If you think there may only be a single bidder, then start it at £9.99 or higher. Alternately, you can set a RESERVE price for bigger items eg cars but let it start at 99p (its cheaper!).
Get your postage sorted. If it's a big item, then you may wish to insist on local collection (though this cuts down on potential buyers). When posting, a certificate of posting (free) is vital because some will claim it's never arrived, and you may even go for recorded delivery when the auction has hit big money (factor it all in to the postage you quote). Selling abroad is no hardship apart from having the airmail small packet list (don't even think of overland) and getting the payment before sending. This limits your overseas sales to 2kg, but all the lists you need are available at www.royalmail.co.uk A good supply of stout boxes (and bubble wrap from local supermarkets - ask at the fruit and veg section rather than buying it from stationery) is vital.
Use the ADVANCED SEARCH facility to focus on COMPLETED LISTINGS ONLY to give you an idea of prices. Just don't expect too many Olympics in there though.
Be careful. Most people are decent but you are bound to meet the odd plonker (I'm running at one in every hundred). If they don't pay they obviously don't get the goods, but they can often cause you considerable grief in the process. When selling a really expensive item (eg car) I insist on a 10% Paypal deposit within 24 hours, and full payment within a week. One clown strung my daughter along for 5 weeks on a £3600 Minor before finally refusing to pay.
Don't bid in nice round numbers. If you are prepared to pay £100, enter £100.56 or similar. You will then pip-at-the-post those offering a straight £100. www.justsnipe.co.uk are very useful for slamming in last minute - well 8 seconds, actually - bids that nobody was expecting. Its free and I never bid by any other means.
www.auctiva.com let you set up really attractive ads with massive pictures - I used 24 for my Commer - without charge. Again, I don't put an ad in without it, these days, though I have yet to master all the options they offer.
It's addictive! I'm running at about 500 items and Pats not far adrift, though she hasn't BOUGHT a single one! The garage has never been so tidy - and I havn't sold a single thing I had any use for....
Make photos clear, like this ...
... or this
I have had my collar felt recently by the originality police, not by anything I had done, strangely, but by a comment I made in the last Mag. In that I wrote in Dereks Olympic Registrar piece: In my defence, all the cars came as stripped shells and only EKF 818L had an engine, so there was no question of returning them to their original state. This was interpreted as being the default situation for anyone contemplating restoring an Olympic. Perhaps I should have added the words in my mind, or something similar, to make it clear it was my view only for these particular cars.
To make my view quite clear: if I bought a complete car to original spec (ie Riley 1.5 etc for a Phase 1 and Cortina etc for a Phase 2) today I would certainly not throw out the mechanicals just because they were old-fashioned or needed rebuilding and replace them with modern stuff, and I would not approve of anyone else doing it either. Original cars in working condition are very rare today, so should be preserved. Bare shells are less clear cut. My motive for buying an Olympic in the first place was to satisfy a desire to own a car that I had admired for years, but this was not a practical proposition until family commitments receded. It was also a car from the kit side of the blanket and so more amenable to individual interpretation than a conventional classic such as Lotus. It was also a practical car that could be used daily (especially in Phase 2 form with its hatch), and capable of holding its own in modern traffic. There are very few classics that satisfy these criteria. Finally, it does not rust (not seriously, anyway).
Of the cars I have rebuilt (all from bare shells), I plead guilty to the latest one, BNC 849B re lack of originality. This had a diesel engine originally, and came with no mechanical bits apart from a lethal front subframe and suspension. I don't know about you, but I don't associate Olympics with chuggy diesels original perhaps in this sample, but not in the spirit of the original design. The shell also needed such extensive repairs that I felt justified in doing my own thing to it. In retrospect I feel I overdid it in some areas, which I regret, but it achieved largely what I intended: a comfortable, quiet, economical but speedy car which I could use every day and go places. It has now covered over 8000 miles in 2 years, 2000 of them on the Continent, and I am not a robust traveller.
My first rebuild was a Phase 1 which might be termed a baskit (sic) case, ie. as a shell plus sundry parts sufficient to make a car and which at one time had been whole. (This was bought to save it from the scrappie, as the owner wanted his barn back. I already had a Phase 2 to rebuild, so the Phase 1 delayed this for a year or three). Unfortunately, the Riley 1.5 gold seal engine had been stripped and left to rust, but the rest was usable (with repairs). This car was rebuilt to original spec, initially with the Wolseley 1500 engine from said Phase 2 but later with an MGB engine and o/d gearbox. The only other deviation from originality was to use a wider bush on the right side trailing arm and a bracing bar joining the two trailing arms at their forward ends to better locate the axle, and an attempt to get some Ackerman into the steering by moving the rack rearwards. It even retained the single wing fuel tank and drum brakes, though I used the pedal box from a Metro, as it came without one. So pretty original.
The Phase 2, whose rebuild had been delayed as above, also came as a kit of parts. It was a very late build, being 1972, and seemed to have had had little use. The original owner (probably) had widened the rear wheel arches by the cut and wedge method not very pretty but the shell was in pretty good nick otherwise and had never been painted, though the gelcoat was very dull. I restored the wheel arches to original state as far as possible. Its Wolseley engine and gearbox were in just about usable condition, serving time in the Phase 1 for a while, but I decided to replace them with items more capable of tackling long journeys using the new-fangled motorways, ie a Toyota 1600 pushrod engine and 5-speed gearbox from the Celica of the early 70s (and therefore in period). Apart from these, the non-original parts were: steel fuel tank (as the original was not usable); the instruments, which came from the Celica but were mounted so as to look more like classic gauges; the seats (modern); the pedal box (Metro again); wipers (Citroen BX copied from DUF). The suspension and brakes were original, though I replaced the rotted-out original subframe with a new one to the same basic design but bolted in rather than bonded in. Oh, and the spare wheel was relocated to a vertical position in the boot as the tank used its space. I completed over 15000 miles in this car, including a couple of trips to the Le Mans Classic, all without incident.
Would I have used a completely original car to the same extent? I just don't know, but there are now three Olympics on the road in good working order that might have lain in some damp and dusty corner had I not done my own thing (and a fourth is on the way).
Q: How many cars are now on the road?
A: fewer than 30, so I have been responsible for 10% of all current Olympics. Where are the rest? Mostly under tarpaulins, rotting in back gardens.
In the future I suspect standard Olympics will be at a premium, if only because of their rarity, and it would be a shame if they ended up as essentially museum pieces. Until then I'll just keep driving mine.
I must admit I would probably not contemplate buying an original, non-working Olympic. It is hard enough work rebuilding a bare shell without having to dismantle a long-disused tarpaulin escapee before the rebuild can start. The end has to justify the effort. For me, the prospect of spending over 3000 hours of often tiring, dirty and dusty work has to have a large carrot at the end for it to be worthwhile. It has to be more than a showroom example of the marque. I'm just a born tinkerer.
While I have your attention I thought I would give a short update on the Phase 1 currently occupying centre stage in my garage.
This car is just a shell, though complete with doors and bonnet. Although bought sight unseen, I was reasonably happy with its condition - the shell seemed relatively undamaged, only one wing showing any signs of repair and not much paint to remove. The subframe was severely rotted, but this was only to be expected and it is a simple structure to re-make - nowhere near as complex as that in the Phase 2.
Boy, how things change when you look deeper. The first task was to strip out all the rusted metal (apart from the subframe). This was a lot more extensive than ought to have been the case, as a past owner had gone to town with steel reinforcement in unexpected places. As this had converted itself to oxide it had further damaged the areas it was supposed to be reinforcing, as no attempt seemed to have been made to rustproof it, taxing my ingenuity in removal without collateral damage.
Inspection of the main area which had been reinforced (the mounting panel for the suspension doughnuts on the right hand side) explained why it had been done; the original glassfibre was totally inadequate, probably less than 5mm thick. What is more, the lay-up had been done badly, with patches of dry glass strands and voids filled with body filler! No wonder the panel had needed reinforcement, though glassfibre should obviously have been used and not steel.
Interestingly, the panel on the left appeared to be in perfect condition, which I thought reasonable, as the stresses are much less on this side (perhaps only one third), but a closer look showed it had been laid up with the same degree of care as the right dry glass, filler, etc.
It was the same story in other areas too - panels that needed to be thicker were thin, yet other panels were overly thick, and the standard of workmanship in awkward places distinctly dodgy. The conclusion I have come to is that the laminator was inexperienced and/or not properly trained. This would have been inevitable in that working environment; it was hard and uncomfortable work, there was a constant need for speed, and if an experienced worker was off sick a replacement would have been needed pronto.
We must also not forget that the notion of quality control was virtually unknown in the industry at large at that time, so patchy quality is perfectly understandable in a small kit car manufacturer using a relatively new technology. It's just the luck of the draw, but I can't help feeling sorry for the first owner or two, who must have had to struggle to keep the car roadworthy. It also explains the feeling I had that the car had been used relatively little it must have spent an awful lot of time in the garage.
In my experience the doors on the Olympic can take as much time to restore as the whole of the rest of the body, especially if the hinges are regarded as part of the doors. They are quite complex (in my view the design was over-ambitious and as a result suffered from poor detailing) and are difficult to work on due to very poor access, especially in the hinge area. The window frames are especially feeble in the Phase 1, do not seal well and do not guide the window adequately in either phase, but here I am concentrating on the glassfibre parts.
The two skins forming the door are often found to have come apart, especially at the front and rear where the edges have been trimmed back to make the door small enough to fit into the opening, and the gap is usually filled with dirt. It is worthwhile spending some time doing a decent repair job here so they don't spring apart again.
Method: first prepare the surfaces by prising the skins apart and cleaning out the gaps, first with a blunt knife and then with coarse sandpaper (or even a high speed drill fitted with a small stone if the gap is really wide) to clean off the dirt and to roughen the surfaces. You can be fairly brutal as there is no point leaving a feeble original join. Then clean up and roughen the inner skins for about 2" from the edge. This is difficult, though possible at the rear edge, but pretty much impossible at the front due to poor access. Access can be improved enormously by cutting out a section of the inner skin by the lower hinge (this can be replaced quite easily later). If repairs are needed to the mounting surface of the lower hinge (quite likely in my experience), then the extra access is vital.
Next glue the skins together. I use normal laminating resin loaded with a powder filler to make a runny paste, as neat resin is too thin and dribbles out. Work this paste into the gaps, which have been opened up with wedges (eg screwdrivers), then remove the wedges and squeeze the skins together with small Gcramps or similar (this can get messy). Then stand the door on edge and ladle in as much runny paste as possible along the length of the join to make a fillet between the skins (this is obviously only possible if the front and rear edges are done separately) and leave to set.
Next laminate glass matting on top of the fillet two or three layers up to 4" wide. This helps to hold the skins together and with the paste should make a good strong join which can withstand a fair degree of trimming back. While the access is still good at the front it is worthwhile beefing up the panel where the lower hinge fits as this will almost certainly have suffered some damage in the past, especially if force has been used to remove rusted up bolts. I have not yet had to deal with repairing the upper hinge panel, but it seems to me that, unless the skins were separated completely (see last para) it would be best to cut out some of the inner panel to permit access, as it would be absolutely impossible otherwise.
If the skins have parted along the lower edge, then access from inside is totally impossible, so the method is to use paste if the gap can be sprung far enough to work it in. If not then the only recourse is to clean and roughen the mating surfaces as much as possible then pour in some resin and tilt the door to spread it along the gap, then clamp the edges until the resin sets.
If the skins have parted nearly all the way round it would certainly be worthwhile to go the whole hog and rip them apart, as you would then get access to parts which have not seen the light of day since they were first made and be able to clean the mating surfaces properly. This would certainly give access to the top hinge area. Another benefit is subtler; the top edge of the outer skin is not very rigid and tends not to hold the sealing rubber against the glass, so with the excellent access available a stiffening bar can be grafted on, over a paper tube perhaps. Even better would be to make proper provision for a proprietary sealing rubber too. I wish I had done this on the door I have just been working on, even though the skins were bonded fairly well along the bottom edge, so I will have to do it the hard way.
by James Farrington on behalf of Malcolm McKay
First of all, you may have noticed that over the past few Rochdale Owners club magazines the Early Rochdales Register feature has been sorely missed. Unfortunately, for the short term Malcolm McKay is unable to centre his time and effort required for this feature. In an attempt to help him out I have offered my services. Malcolm does a fantastic job in writing this section of the ROC magazine and after requesting some information for this quarters edition I realised the enormity of his position within the Rochdale Owners Club!
Hats off to Malcolm, the amount of emails that he receives about early Rochdales would definitely exceed my inbox limit 10 times over. My knowledge of early Rochdales is limited but with Malcolms help I shall attempt to collate this information and present an informative write up for your perusal.
While Tony Stanton was on his rounds at the July Silverstone classic event this year, a Mr Verdun Webley approached him and said that he used to navigate in 1960-62 for a driver called Frankie Martin in a Rochdale GT. The car in question entered a few touring car rallies between these years and Verdun remembers being part of a motoring club called SODS, The Sporting Owners Driving S????
(Unfortunately I can't remember what he said the S was). Verduns memories of the car are a little sketchy due to the 45 years since he's seen Frankie Martin or the car but remembers it being powered by a Ford sidevalve 1172 engine. It was planned to fit a Cosworth engine into the car but Frankie Martin sold the Ford engine and fitted it with a Wolseley 1500 instead, he thinks. The shell sat on a Bowden racing chassis with a live rear axle; the chassis was made up of a ladder-framed box section that was painted bright red. Unfortunately, we don't know this cars registration, but we do know that it lived in a shed in the back of Frankie Martins garden in Dunstable until he emigrated to Australia in the mid '70s. Frankie now lives in Australia and Verdun will hopefully be getting some contact details for Frankie Martin in the coming weeks. Hopefully we can find out some more competition history and details of this Rochdale GT.
The internet never ceases to amaze me with what information and facilities are available at the touch of a few keys. One facility that I particularly enjoy can only be described as an online dating agency for cars and their owners and is called Drive Archive. This site allows you to look at peoples requests for information on vehicles they have owned in the past and allows you to list your own vehicle to research the history. One such request on this site was from a Rob Northcott who was looking for a Rochdale Olympic (?) Ford-based special registered VOR 6. No record of this number plate existed in the ROC database and on further contact, Rob writes:
I put that message out in the vague hope of finding any info about my parents old car. I've only seen one picture of it, and looked a bit similar to an E-type coupe, but much smaller. My dad says it was built on a Ford Popular chassis, and thinks it was probably a Rochdale body. The reg was definitely VOR 6.
They sold it when I was expected in 1969 (baby forces sale, I'm afraid) and bought a sensible car (a Minor).
Last time I looked for that picture I couldn't find it, but next time I'm at their place I'll try again. If I find it, I'll certainly send you a copy - then we can at least confirm whether or not it was a Rochdale body. Luckily Rob managed to get a couple of photos of this Rochdale, which is new to the Register.
My parents managed to find the pictures of their Ford Popular-based Rochdale GT, VOR 6, which I have scanned and attached. They would have been taken in the late 1960s. They sold it in late 1968, soon before I was born, trading it in against a sensible Morris Minor. It was apparently in quite poor mechanical condition and the dealer didn't give them much for it, so it may possibly have been broken up for parts or scrapped soon after that, but perhaps somebody saved the shell? Not sure if I mentioned before, but those pictures were taken in Bristol, which is also where the car would have been sold. I'm afraid that's all I know, but I hope it's of some use for your archive.
We doubt that such a nice looking car would've been broken up at that time the mechanical side was very cheap to repair then with recon engines two-a-penny. Ballamy wheels are fitted, so it probably had a high ratio axle
Sadly, it's not known to survive now and doesn't appear on the DVLA computer - at least, not as a Ford or a Rochdale, though it might be there if registered as something else (sometimes the builders name was used, such as Broadley Special). The registration was issued in March 1959 so it was registered as a substantially new vehicle then, meaning it almost certainly had a new chassis at that time which should still have been pretty sound 9-10 years later.
In the summer 2007 ROC magazine Malcolm described the turning up of an MG-chassis C Type that subsequently disappeared as Absolutely bloody unbelievable! Then what should happen? Another MG chassis'd C Type turns up out of the blue in America. Remarkable!
The initial contact was made by Mark Palmer of Pennsylvania, USA who had seen the car in America and was interested in some more information before he approached the owner to make him an offer.
I believe I have discovered a Rochdale Type C here in the USA. See photo attached. The body is mounted on an MG TD chassis. It uses the TD engine, which has period race modifications (Derrington manifold, Vertex magneto, etc). The current owner bought it c1976, in the USA. The previous owner supposedly bought it in England in 1959, when he was there on business and saw the car being raced.
Actually I suspect that, if yours did come from UK, more has happened in the intervening years than you have discovered to date. I say that simply because it is left-hand drive and, had it been racing here in 1959, it would almost certainly have been right-hand drive. Perhaps it has been converted at some time, or more likely it has been swapped onto this chassis from some earlier race car chassis. Type C bodies were used on all sorts of different chassis in the 1950s - no doubt there were many that we do not know about, but of those we do know and which have not been seen since the 1950s there was a Lister, a Turner and a TVR... Any of these could have been exported to USA, then the body taken off later and transferred to the TD chassis.
I am also attaching a photo of the TVR aforementioned, which also appeared on Rochdales brochure. Without wishing to get too excited at this stage(!), you might care to note the position of the sidelights (or are they indicators) on the flange below the headlights and, even more significantly, of the bonnet strap mounting just above the grille. Your body appears to have sidelight holes in exactly the same places and damage in the centre above the grille in exactly the place where that strap mounts - please have a look at your body and see if you can tell what caused that damage - could it have been the bonnet strap pulling out? It looks as if there were some other tiny clips in the front corners of the bonnet - it would be worth checking your body for those too; even if they've been filled on top, it's probably possible to see evidence on the inner face of the glassfibre if there ever were holes there. That TVR disappeared without trace in the late 1950s, so it is just possible...?
In fact, I will attach a few other photos, because the other highly significant point is that the C-type usually came without a grille opening - the builder was left to cut out as little or as much as he liked. As you will see from the attached images, most cut out more - only the TVR, I think, has an opening as small as yours. The original grille bars could easily have been swapped for the box-style grille at some time...
I haven't actually purchased this car in the USA just yet. The current owner is trying to decide what to do with it, sell as is, restore & sell, or restore & keep. I think his wife has convinced him not to keep it, and I am trying to convince him not to attempt a restoration himself. He is not really an enthusiast and judging by the condition of his Corvette, garaged alongside the Rochdale, I would not have much confidence in his restoration skills.
From what I have seen, the car appears complete, but partially disassembled. Body remains mounted on what I would describe as a rolling chassis - with complete suspension, steering, etc. Frame appears to be solid and un-rusted. Engine and gearbox are out of the car but appear complete; owner claims it was
running when parked. Body is very rough in places, requiring significant glassfibre repair. Interior trim is there, but very rough. All the electrics, instruments, hydraulics etc are there but in need of complete rebuild/replacement. Owner says he has all chrome trim but I would guess it all needs to be re-chromed or replaced. Windscreen is rather crude, but there, and owner says he even has the original hood. So I would characterize this as a complete car needing total restoration.
The current owner did not convert it to LHD, but doesn't know if the previous US owner may have done so. The current owner wasn't even aware that the TD chassis could be switched easily, in fact he wasn't really aware that you folks in England still drive on the left! He is truly not an enthusiast; he just lucked into this car 30 years ago.
If I purchase the car, I am NOT looking to make money, I just don't want to lose a lot of money if I have to re-sell later! My honest intention here is to see that the car goes into good hands, either my own or another enthusiast who will treat it properly. The market for this car in the US is probably pretty limited. Do you think it is fair to assume there would be more of a market in England?
I will try to keep you appraised of the status. I really don't have time for another project right now (I currently race an MGA 1500, am restoring an MGA Twin Cam to race, and maintain an MGC/GT road car) but I may try to buy the Rochdale mostly to protect it from further neglect - or direct it into the hands of someone who really cares about these cars. The current owner even asked me at one point whether I thought he should just scrap the car, due to the poor overall condition. I emphatically said no, but I'd be more comfortable if it were out of his hands ... soon. I will try to have another look at the car to see if it may be the ex-TVR car?
I do hope you succeed in rescuing the car, Mark - even if you don't have time to touch it for some years!
I just got back from my 2nd visit. Unfortunately, the current owner has an inflated view of the value, he feels it could be worth $10,000 or maybe $100,000 once he learns the entire history. I offered him $4,000 for the car as is, and he refused.
I examined the mounting of the bodyshell to the TD frame - it was done very professionally. There are hoops fabricated of steel tube, in the nose area, the tail area, and completely surrounding the cockpit opening. The steel hoops are glassed in to the fiberglass shell. There are various fabricated steel mounts, welded to the steel hoops, and bolted to the TD frame - all very well done. There is also a substantial hoop under the scuttle, perhaps adapted from the standard MG TD scuttle hoop. All in all, the body seems quite rigidly mounted to the frame - someone gave a lot of thought and engineering.
Oh, almost forgot - the paint, and the LHD. The current owner claims that the previous US owner bought the car in England, in 1959, and it was already LHD and already painted white with a blue stripe at that time. However, when he stripped the paint, he found BRG under the white. I strongly suspect that the car was BRG, and RHD, when it was sold in England in 1959 - and I further suspect that the first US owner converted it to LHD and re-painted it the American racing colours of blue & white. Anyway, if anyone remembers a blue & white Rochdale C-type in England (or has black and white photos of a light car with broad dark stripe), this could be it!
It appears that the owner will keep the car for the time being, unless someone offers in excess of $10,000, which I think is unlikely. I plan to bide my time for a little while, then re-approach him perhaps in a few weeks or months to see if he has come back to earth regarding the value - or perhaps his wife wants a space in the garage for her Buick.
THANKS for all your assistance, this has been interesting! I have learned quite a bit about the Rochdale marque, and have new-found appreciation. The Olympic is also quite an intriguing model!
Malcolms final thought:
It does sound as if the body has been well prepared for mounting to the chassis. I don't have my book on early TVRs at present (a friend has borrowed it) so can't check the layout of those early bodies, but if you look at the scan I sent you of the brochure photograph, it is possible to see inside the bodyshell what appear to be tubes glassed in to support the rear bodywork; I wonder if they are in the same positions? I am not sure that this is the ex-TVR bodyshell but it remains a possibility... Incidentally, John Walkington (who's had a C-type from new) said of that one, I was very interested to see the photo of the works C type, I have that photo, obtained when I bought my shell in 1955. I thought it was Riley mechanicals but am open to correction. The colour I seem to remember was a very smart pale blue metallic.
That doesn't tie in with the BRG of course, but then competition cars do change colour quite frequently (as do road cars - that Olympic I just rescued was registered in Feb 1962 as red, then in July 1962 as white, then in July 1965 as red again, then by Sept 1967 was black!).
Thanks again for keeping me posted with all this information. Does the car by any chance have a US registration number that I could make a note of? It's great to know of another surviving C-type and I do hope it makes its way into your hands in due course...
The early Rochdale shells featured on quite a number of competition vehicles. I suppose it was an easy and relatively light way to clothe the chassis. For some reason, however, the Olympic has never had a big competition history. I am sure that this at least in part accounts for the current relatively low values compared to the likes of Lotus, Ginetta and even Turner.
Lotus of course primarily produced racing cars and the road going side was almost a secondary means to bring in the money to finance it. The Elite was a forerunner to the Olympic and by all accounts not as practical as a road car. However, I would still have one if the price was right! To show how we all make mistakes I also turned down a Ginetta G4 (at £50) in favour of the Olympic. Not as practical as a road car, but it would have been a better financial investment.
Harry Smith mentioned some years ago that the Olympic had too big a frontal area to be considered as a serious race car, although I do not believe that this alone accounted for its minimal usage in competitive events. I also understand that they considered its strength would better suit it to rallying and other off road sport rather than circuit racing.
However, the company did produce a few lightweight shells, obviously with competition in mind. Some intrepid owners did venture out in their Olympics and I will attempt to list those known to me. Not all of these of course were lightweight versions.
Those known to me are as follows:
Order No 1515 was supplied in January 1961 to Mr A Arnold of the Union Street Garage, Andwick, Manchester and was registered 9735 NC. It was supplied with mountings for a Coventry Climax engine and in this form was sprinted at Burtons Factory in September 1961. Nothing further is known of this particular car.
The first listed order for a lightweight shell is Order No 1588 by a Mr Wilkin of Amstelveen, Holland. It was delivered in July 1961 to Youlgrave, Derbyshire and subsequently registered 797 URA. I have no record of any competition history, although one would assume that was the owners intention. The rolling shell still existed a few years ago, sadly neglected by its original owner, now in Kent. Details were published in ROC No 53.
The next lightweight is Order No 1601 supplied in August 1961 to Neville Hodkin of Thorne, Doncaster. It was registered 8500 DT and features in Autosport, competing at Olivers Mount hill climb, Scarborough in October of the same year. It also appears in Haynes Guide to Component Cars, parked alongside what seems to be an airfield. Unfortunately, nothing more is known of its ultimate fate.
A phase 1, Order No 1606, was sold to the London Riley dealers, Boon & Porter Ltd. in November 1961. This was fitted with an MGA engine and registered BPL 125. It competed at the Brighton Speed Trials and was hill climbed by Penelope Porter, the owners daughter. The car survives and is presently for sale by the current owner Simon Brindle from Romsey.
Harry Ratcliffe took delivery of a standard Olympic shell in September 1961 (O/N 1613). This was built up with parts from his racing Minor. However, it came to grief in collision with an errant lorry during road testing and never made it onto the circuits. An order had been placed in October for a lightweight shell, but this appears never to have been delivered following the above mentioned incident. As an aside there is a note in the factory ledger that the propshaft was collected from Union Street Garage, so there was obviously still contact with that organisation.
Order No 1676 dated November 1961 was from G Dixon of the Lincoln Racing Team, Kirks Motors, Longdales Road, Lincoln and was supplied in December of the same year, a remarkably short delivery period by RMP standards. I am fairly certain that this was subsequently registered TVL 145.
From photographs and programmes this car appears to have competed extensively during the 1963 season at Snetterton, Cadwell Park, Oulton Park and Mallory Park. Listed drivers seem to be a P Dobbs and a Mr Stamp. Engine capacity in one programme is listed as 948cc, so presumably it was Minor based. Unfortunately, no results seem to exist, although at least two film sequences indicate it crashing. Whether this was due to driver error or a serious handling problem remains a mystery.
Ron Scarfe bought a phase 1 in 1962 (Order No 1704). In 1965 Ron entered the car in The Lands End Classic Trial and gained a 3rd Class award. The car is still in Rons ownership and is currently being rebuilt.
The last entry in the ledger for a lightweight shell is No 1717 which was delivered to John Anstice-Brown in March 1962. This is probably the best known circuit racer and was used with a Ford engine throughout 1962 and 63. It was subsequently registered JJH 20G and now resides with Keith Hamer.
11 LOR was a phase 1 Olympic built by Derrick Bussey during 1963/64 and fitted initially with a 1340cc Ford engine. It was primarily intended as a road car, but was used for the occasional Sprint and driving test from 1964 to '66. During the 1967, '68 and '69 seasons the car was extensively Autocrossed. The car was sold at the end of the 1969 season and seems to have disappeared.
FRU 12D is a phase 2, built during 1965 by Bournemouth based Keith Ross. The car was used for
Autocross from 1965 to 1969 by both Keith and his wife Jean. The car was extremely successful with its Broadspeed tuned Ford engine and was a frequent class winner. The opposition included Derrick Bussey in 11 LOR. The phrase if you can't beat them, join them springs to mind and at the end of the 1969 season Derrick bought FRU 12D from Keith Ross. Derrick then continued the cars success throughout the 1970 season, finally selling it to a fellow competitor, David Dawson. The car was eventually sold, without engine and remained unused for a number of years. It is currently being rebuilt for further competition use by Joe Allenby-Byrne in Sussex.
In 1964 a lightweight phase 2 was built for Derek Alderson of Rochdale Caravan Services. It was raced for about half a season and was then bought by Jerry Jackson, who registered it KHX 378B. Jerry was in at the start of Drag Racing in this country and competed at several venues including Blackbushe Airfield. The car was allegedly extremely light weight and was generally driven to events. The car was last heard of in the Cambridge area in the late 1980's.
Geoff Thornton owned an Olympic in the early 1960's and entered club rallies as a member of Stafford Car Club. In 1965 he also took part in an Autocross that was televised on the BBCs Grandstand programme. The identity of this particular Olympic is unknown, although he was later to own a Phase 2, JDK 523F, now residing with Colin Breakspear in Germany.
The Woodside brothers, Robert and Ian, who were part of the Woodside Haulage family of Ballymure, Northern Ireland were alleged to have rallied an Olympic in the early 1960's, although the identity of this particular car also remains a mystery.
900 HLR is a phase 2, currently in the ownership of Gareth Davies. In 1965 it was photographed taking part in a Sprint, when in the ownership of R T Cox. I believe it was also entered at the same event as 11 LOR.
That is the extent of my knowledge in the competition history of the Olympic when it was current, however, any further information would be gratefully received.
In more recent years there have been a few instances of Olympics being used in competition.
Paul Gething has owned a phase 1, GUY 541C since the late 1970s. Initially it was purely a road car, although Paul then developed it into a fairly serious Sprint and Hill climb car., with some degree of success. The car, although not used for a few years, is still in Pauls ownership.
My own phase 1 (9557 LJ) formed an introduction to competition and was used for Slalom Autotests and
Production Car Trials from 1978 to '82. The only breakages were the panhard rod bracket on the axle (twice), which accounted for interesting drives home at no more than 20 mph.
John Blanckley (RGX 715), Malcolm McKay (BHU 404A) and Robin Stretton (104 WPK) have all entered their respective phase 1s in several Classic Rallies in recent years. I believe that John also used his original Olympic, 202 FLA for rallying back in the early 60's.
Over the water I understand that Mark Lynd Kennedy entered his phase 2 (LYG 741D) in the Circuit of Ireland on one if not two occasions.
I also understand that Patrice Wattinne has used MYG 393D in at least one continental event, although I do not have exact details.
If I have missed anyone please let me know, as it would be useful to build up a detailed competition history for the Olympic.
8500 DT at Olivers Mount in 1961