James has reminded me that the first Club magazine (then called a newsletter) was produced in October 1981, so this is the 30th anniversary edition. To help celebrate, this issue has more pages in colour. It would be nice to have the whole magazine in colour, but the cost for such a small run is prohibitive. The contents are as varied as ever, but I hope you enjoy the extra splash too.
FBHVC - Consultation on Proposal to exempt all pre-1960 vehicles from MOT Test I received the latest FBHVC newsletter just as I was sending my copy to the printers.
They are asking for responses to this consultation. Make your views known.
Links: www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2011-27 www.surveymonkey.com/s/FBHVCMot
Derek and I spent a very interesting time the other day wandering round Mark Evans (see below) collection on a tip off from Tony Wright, mainly to see his Olympic and a GT (sold before we arrived). This is eclectic to say the least, from split screen Morris Minor to Ferrari Mondial. Many seemed to be stalled restorations (presumably not Marks). Unfortunately, many are also stored in the open. We parked next to an A7 chassis, used as a trailer with a pretty A7 style ali body nearby. There are Minors and Minis galore. In the barn are a 1920 Calthorpe, used by Mark for VSCC hillclimbing, various MG Y and Z saloons, a Lancia Zagato, Alfas, Fiat 500s. Most of the cars are for sale. Fords are conspicuous by their absence.
Those of us of a more Northerly persuasion (surprisingly sparse given the cars background) will no doubt be interested in this Classic Car show coming up in the new year. I have booked a 9m x 6m stand which should take 3 or more Rochdales, without charge (!) The event takes place right next to the Trafford Centre, which is the huge shopping area visible from the M60 ring road. Talking to Stuart, the organiser, it does seem a good deal more friendly than many such venues: in addition to the 5000-space car park at the exhibition, there are all the shopping centres car parks available, which are all free (I must admit, my jaw dropped when I saw the £8 charged at the NEC!)
There is also free entry to the show for those with cars on display, and accompanying guests, along with secure locked parking for their support vehicles. Entry at the gate is £10 each for others, but if you let me know in advance I can secure these tickets for £6 each for club members. This is the second year the event has been staged, last years coming along just after the venue had opened. Claimed to be second only to the NEC in size, anyone who gets fed up here (what? SURELY NOT!) can take a wander round the shopping centre itself, on the other side of the road with its cinemas, adventure centres et al. There are also plenty of Premier Inns nearby for meals/overnight stays.
Stuart was keen to see as found restoration projects as well as the (would-be) concours examples to which we would all aspire. I must admit, this kind of thing always grabs MY attention, perhaps it's the thoughts of uncovering details of long-lost classics just needing a quick wipe over and oil change to see them right... ha-ha. I am hoping my GT will be a little more show-worthy by that time, and anyone else interested in showing their car should contact me in the near future to sort out the details.
This is a phase 1 Olympic ordered 1961 delivered 1962 with the simpler BMC mechanics.
It was purchased initially by Mr C.J.Balfour for delivery to Birmingham in a fetching battleship grey (inside and out) but was altered immediately to Pillar Box Red and shown in 1962 at a company stand on a metal frame as an empty body. It was then bought in 1963 by a gentleman (unknown) working at Jaguar who turned the poor beastie British Racing Green and used it often as a test car for various components to improve the car.
The next owner Stan Hanks also worked at Jaguar and kept the car from 1978 to 1989, adding a Kenlowe fan wired straight to A1 on the alternator meaning if left on the battery is flat in 20 minutes as turning the car off does not disengage the fan. Nice touch of self-destruction.
His son John Hanks then drove the car for a number of years but the next recorded new owner is a gentleman in Bushey Hertfordshire who had the car from 1994 to 2007 during which time it had an orange followed by another red face lift (badly as all the colours were by now arguing).
The car was then in Keith Hamers hands for a while who sold it to a local man in Swindon who did not re register it in his name as driving it home had frightened him. He believed the car was about to self-ignite and was overjoyed to find a dumb female who wanted to buy it from him. His face altered when I test drove it down the road with a few non-standard manoeuvres to find the problems and I duly paid for the car. When I got it home I hit eBay for spares and for the princely sum of £1.50 stopped all the smoke which was only a dead rocker gasket that was pouring oily smoke inside.
As originally acquired in two-tone red and black
Putting it over the pit at night with a torch revealed much P38 and little fibreglass in many areas. (The torch if high powered on the body shows the thin areas). I decided that as I personally hate red cars to strip it back by hand and then re-do the car properly. During this a few star cracks were found on the roof to be dealt with, doors about to fall off, a bonnet that opened a few inches or collapsed etc . . . I stripped loads off then took the car up to Burford to see the others and found a few amazed faces at a rolling restoration in lizard pattern paintwork.
Tasteful Lizard finish
I then had a tyre/wheel problem in that the car is still on the original Minilites but the law does not now allow inner tubes in tubeless tyres but also does not make the correct tyres in tubeless. . . cue car on axle stands and arguments with idiots.
Due to personal circumstances of husband being ill and dying I decided to get the car spraying etc finished by others which may be wimpy but is pragmatic and asked around, finding a poor man in Shaftesbury (Thomas Kacprzak at http://www.autobodyrepairz.co.uk/ ) who had a steep learning curve. First he asked for the tow hitch point and me bringing out a rope had him very upset as new methods to him. Apologies for the non-standard colour but I asked the sons who consulted Google Images and decided on the silver.
Current state in silver
During this month I have to fit two stainless steel tanks as the present bodge of a petrol can with a tube through to the engine is not recommended but does work until the tanks arrive (thanks Rochdale Forum). During this year other than a hatred for new ethanol levels as they caused me so much strife and money the little car managed to win second in a custom car class . . . the organisers thought custom and kit cars the same.
Next year I will take it to Wilton Supercars with my Rileys to have more members of the public whose normal reaction to a Rochdale is wtf is it? . . . If I had donations for all the guesses as to what these little cars are we would all be rich. Also for this year the car needs an inside makeover as the battleship grey is VERY depressing. So is now coming together but I now have two teenage sons eyeing it up in a rather greedy manner which will be the next problem.
The desire to see what lay beyond the county boundaries from quite an early age led to teaming up with school pals for long distance bike rides and later with the Scouts for rides to weekend camps. Once I'd assembled my own racing bike (a Carlton) in 1948 I tackled a tour of France, Switzerland and Belgium that took four weeks of pretty tough pedal-pushing.
My engineering studies led to a desire for a motor bike and something that could be stripped down and tuned. I think it was fortunate that a house near to the Derbyshire home where we lived at the time had a competition Bantam on display for sale (1952). This model was pretty rare and except for greater ground clearance, raised exhaust and knobbly tyres wasn't so different from the road-going version. I soon had the engine to bits and with the aid of a tuning booklet I was able to make some improvements to the performance. This led to my joining the Derby Motorcycle Club and from there I entered into trials riding and the odd scramble,
I had to endure 2 years of National Service and, having been a member of the ATC, I was able to join the RAF.. To cut a long story short, I spent my time boringly as a Pay Clerk but I had in fact taken and passed the Aircrew Selection tests, something a little later I regretted. However, much later, when I was settled into a career in Land Surveying, I knew that I had found my true vocation. My time with the Air Force was made more congenial with the acquisition of a 350 Royal Enfield, ironically enough, purchased from the fellow from whom I had bought the Bantam.
More motorbikes followed during the time when my main interest turned more to cars. Many of the bikes I acquired were found abandoned in the countryside wherever my surveying work took me. In this way Greeves, Francis Barnett, Moto Itom, Ariel Arrow and James Captain bikes came into my possession. These were stripped, missing parts added and the bikes made roadworthy.
Though vastly underpowered, the Bond Minicar I bought new in 1953 took me surveying all over the British Isles, often in the company of a fellow surveyor who had a more durable Messerschmitt KR 175. One amusing incident comes to mind and that was the drive to the Ordnance munitions factory at Bishopton on the Clyde. Tommy, the senior surveyor I was with refused to travel up from London in the Minicar. As it was, the little car was crammed full of survey equipment and that included a long tripod that was slung from the top alongside my body, tight against the side of the car. I arranged to meet Tommy at the Glasgow station and bring him to the factory. With only one door (for the passenger), Tommy got out to report and sign in at the Police gate. Though I too should have signed, the constable told Tommy that there was no need for the cripple in the car to get out!. After trips of this duration it did not take me long to realise that 200cc of Villiers engine was not really up to the task and I better start looking for a full sized car.
Armed with the cheque for £195 that I got from the sale of the Minicar, I blew my money on a £25 Morris 8 series 1 (with wire wheels). I remember that it was the day after I brought the car home from Nottingham that my Aunt Nora came to stay with us. I naturally was keen to take her for a drive in my new pride and joy but, within 5 miles I noticed that the oil pressure was a needle width above zero. Staying in top gear and driving gently I made for home by which time the oil pressure reading had disappeared all together. I had hoped to return that weekend in the car to my digs in London where I was based but instead, drove the car to Dad's friendly garage up the road and asked for a works reconditioned engine to be fitted. When the car was collected, I was amazed at the difference in performance and that came for an outlay of just £37. The car ran so smoothly and was much quieter, so quiet in fact that I got the garage to build in an extra outlet pipe to the tail silencer. The crackle from the exhaust now told others to think twice about taking this car on!
Months later with the head off and some subtle head and port work, not to mention Terrys double valve springs, the old Morris gave me a further increase in performance. Worn, but tightened-up suspension shackles, and new dampers led to road holding improvements. Section by section of the cars bodywork would be prepared in the car parks of the hotels where I was staying after which Dulux paint was applied so long as the weather remained fine. That car did me so very well for two or more years and to this day I have a very soft spot for such old Morriss.
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end and so it did. Returning to London from a weekend at home in Derbyshire, I had got as far as Cricklewood, North London, when, in rainy conditions, I suddenly found that the brand new Ford Consul ahead of me decided, rather late, to indicate a right turn. Because I was, at this point, in the process of overtaking another car I had no opportunity of avoiding the Consul and bang, I left a nice V-dent centrally in the rear of the Ford. At the time I was paying double insurance premiums because of previous accidents not, I must stress, all my fault, and I was for ever grateful to the Consul driver who let me pay his repair bill and thus avoid dealing with the insurance company. The Morris was towed across the road and left in a garage car park but after a week I was told to move it. The chassis had become lozenged and I was fortunate to get £14.10 shillings for it as a breakers best offer.
Being without a car for me was hell. For three months I did nothing but save and then in 1957 I found a delightful low mileage 1955 Standard 8 being sold by a young couple who had just started a family. I paid £350 for it and realised the advances in car comfort that had evolved over nineteen years since the Morris was made. But the Standard was too soft. Stiffer dampers and tuning by a north London ex police mechanic gave me more oomph and when the rear silencer rusted through and all-but dropped off, I added a curved piece of pipe to what remained to give me a side exhaust outlet and a sporty note.
The standard deal for passengers on survey outings around the country was for them to give me two thirds of the claimable rail fare towards fuel and running costs. This worked out well for both of us as they were picked up from home, driven to the site and at the end of the job driven back to their door. In this way we both made a profit There was one trip I well recall that took us up to Catterick, Yorkshire in the depths of winter.
Amazingly my Standard was one of those cars which, at the time of purchase, was not fitted with a heater; heaters were considered to be an extra. I really was not looking forward to the journey since the only heat source in the car was a mini heater strip that was held to the screen with rubber suckers and was designed as a demister. Though we were wearing many layers of clothing, I had an idea that we would use a primus stove mounted on the rubber covered floor and held in place between the passengers feet. This gave so much heat (as well as condensation) that it had to be used in a twenty minute on and twenty minute off sequence. By the time we reached the site we both suffered from incredible headaches.
I wanted more performance on the cheap from the car and then I discovered Molyslip. This product, when added to engine oil was said to cut down friction and it certainly did. Tin after tin was added rather than making top-ups of engine oil. The car became more accelerative and would rev higher with infinite ease, such ease that it wasn't long before the big ends started knocking. We were passing Dove's, the Tooting Triumph garage at the time and I drove straight into the repair shop at the back and asked them simply to fit new shell bearings which they did (at my risk) and the car was once again a runner. As impecunious as I was, I could not possibly consider a complete engine-out, crank-grind and rebuild, if indeed all that was necessary. In fact I felt it would be best to sell the car. A gentleman came to see it and after a short drive he was pleased to make an offer commenting on its perky performance. A month or more later he rang to say how pleased he was with the purchase; the car was running beautifully.
Maureen and I decided to get married in £61 but I really felt that I should first buy a new car and make it last, there mightn't be another chance for years. My old Messerschmitt friend had graduated, after a spell with a Noble kitcar, to a new Mini and after I had been driven a few miles I could hardly believe its astounding road holding and handling; this was the car for us. It was 1960 and new Minis were still scarce but since my cousin worked as secretary for a car and motorcycle dealer in Chester, a tartan red de luxe model was soon brought from Rhyl to Chester. We went up to collect it (in late 1961) and I was delighted with my £550 purchase. We married and took the car to Paris and the Loire for the honeymoon before adding great mileages in journeys to and from work in town, participation in many night rallies, club driving tests and more holidays abroad.
Unfortunately the engine duly went the way of those previous cars on a hard and fast journey from Newcastle to London but this time it was the crank that broke in half. The replacement was, I was told, a stronger version so here was another case of the car owner doing the development work. Later on a return journey from London with two passengers and, luckily near to home, I heard a clinking noise from the front of the car. I stopped and finally found cracks in the front wheels that radiated out from the wheel nuts. I replaced the highly cracked wheel with the spare, put both passengers in the back and drove home gently. On getting in touch with British Leyland, or was it BMC at the time, I was told that the wheels would be replaced f.o.c: new wheels of 11 gauge were being introduced to replace the 14 gauge ones that had been fitted from new to my car. I've often wondered how many accidents occurred to others with the thin gauge wheels of the early cars.
As much as I loved my Mini, I eventually wished to buy another car, something that was more streamlined and more sporting. The free Motor magazine that Maureen brought home from work each week was studied because at that time the back page gave brief specifications of all current cars. I looked for the car that gave the best combination of top speed and mpg at a price that I could afford and that car turned out to be the Rochdale Olympic. I could not quite afford a new kit as I don't like borrowing money from the bank so decided that I would buy a second-hand car so long as it was in excellent condition.
I have written elsewhere of the weekend trip I made with Jenks in his 356 Porsche to look at three Olympics and ended up buying the third one that I saw for £550. It had a mere 117 miles on the clock and was being sold because of the death of the doctor owner. Almost completed in its assembly but fully driveable there was only a little trim and attention to detail to complete. I have written much about this wonderful car and quite honestly I should not have sold it but with illhandling after an accident that had involved going to sleep, I believed it would be best to sell. I then realised that I couldn't sell the car in this condition and had it repaired such that the fine handling returned. It was to be seen by a prospective buyer and I couldn't put this gentleman off so I quietly hoped he wouldn't buy the car. He tried to haggle but I could only say that the sale price of the car was the only price I would accept since the car was in truly excellent condition. And so another chapter in the cars that I've owned came to an end.
When a survey job came up at short notice in Nottingham, I was without an assistant and the lad I hired was well into cars. In conversation it came out that he had a Mini for sale. Not very interested I asked what he was asking for it and when he said £5 I had to ask if I had heard correctly. Indeed I had and that resulted in a visit to his home after dinner that evening. It was getting a bit dark by the time I found where he lived and so my inspection of the car was not very thorough but for £5 how could I be critical. It seemed that being untaxed he had to get the car off the street within a fortnight.
I picked up the car that weekend and brought it home on a trailer. I first noticed that there was a large self-tapper sticking out of the radiator and wondering what its purpose was. Silly me, just to keep the water in. Looking at the rear of the car I could see that one wheel stuck out further than the other. It turned out that a spacer had been fitted to stop the wheel rubbing on the sub frame after the suspension arm had been clouted. I used a spare battery to get the engine started but it sounded like a bag of nails and was quickly turned off. A friend in the Motor Club had a few Minis in his garden and I went to see him to buy some spares. By the time I had shown him my long list, he said why didn't I take the whole car, I could have it for £35.
It was without an engine and I didn't wish to rebuild the clapped out 850 one in the £5 car. Exchange and Mart came up with a local 1100 engine that had been taken out to 1220 cc with the use of Imp pistons. It was very cheap but 1220 was a real bonus, well, at least, up to a point. With the head off I was staggered to see that the block surface sloped. The piston top on No 4 cylinder was a few thou below the block face while in No 1 cylinder the piston top was about 60 thou below the block face. The only way I was able to retrieve the situation was to get the local engineers to shave the head at a matching angle. I went on to fit larger inlet valves and smoothed out the ports. A 731 cam would give a nice increase in performance and with a new timing chain and other new parts such as a 3.4 diff I completed a fairly cheap rebuild of the engine.
At the same time I set to work on the bodywork. The car had been modified with a fibreglass front-pivoted bonnet which gave unlimited access to the engine and suspension. The latter was adjusted for the car to sit lower and later a pair of wide steel wheels came along suitably attired with matching wide tyres. The interior was a hotch-potch of colour and with a tin of leather paint I gave all the trim and seats a couple of coats of black paint. All that was required now was to rub all the bodywork down and spray the car. It had to have a white roof and by mixing two colours together, a Hillman pale blue metallic and Jaguar indigo, I ended up with a striking mid blue metallic finish. The car was great fun with its large torquey engine and higher gearing and it would easily pull my little trailer on which I took a trials bike to meetings. Within two year, parts that I had not attended to, such as the flooring, were showing signs of rust and not wanting to spend any more time with the car I sold it.
I know this part of your Rochdale Owners Club magazine is dedicated to early Rochdale cars but I'd like to introduce this article with a light introduction on another topic, drag racing! Drag racing in the UK was steadily establishing itself through the late 60's after Sydney Allard; founder of the Allard Car Company built and demonstrated their Allard dragster. Built in 23 weeks and featuring a 354-cubic inch Chrysler motor this car was meant to be a showcase for Sydney Allard but initially it suffered from mechanical problems and unconvincing public appearances.
Undeterred with these initial teething troubles and after some bad press coverage Sydney Allard later went on to much accolade following an invitation to appear over the standing quarter mile at an N.S.A record meeting at Wellesbourne Aerodrome, near Stratford-UponAvon, on October 14, 1961. An article in Motorsport read:
"Sydney Allard pointed the sleek blue dragster down the quarter-mile, let in the clutch, opened up and with a sound like a large bomber going down the runway disappeared through the timing traps. Time : 10.841 sec., which made the motorcycle riders whistle a bit. There were no arguments about the dragster's performance this time and "sack-cloth and ashes" were handed out to all dis-believers and certain Editors!
Following on from this success and a UK record for the quarter mile, Allard founded the British Drag Racing Association, launched in June, 1964. Allards slingshot dragster was considered to be the true pioneer of British drag racing, a building block for UK racers to improve upon and adopt the already proven American methods and styles.
By 1970 Drag racing was proving ever more popular, reaching a major growth spurt in the UK, but like in America not everyone liked dragsters or could afford to race them. To allow for an increase in accessibility a class called Fuel Altered's made its debut allowing a greater access to the sport.
Fuel Altered's proved to be a major crowd puller in the seventies with racing legends such as Kevin Pilling and Dennis Stone, the first fuel altered star in England was Freddie Whittle who was the first to break the nine-second barrier with runs that it was reported filled the damp English air with smoke.
This success didn't last long for Freddie Whittle as other contenders appeared on the scene. One of these was Phil Elson who was the driver of a Supercharged Hemi Altered called Sneaky as you can see on the photo above, a serious looking motor in front of what must have been a pretty brave driver. So now I can hear you all still thinking, Why are we still talking about dragsters? Well, what is not evident from the front of the Sneaky dragster is what is more evident from the back, sneaky, I know!
If you have a look at the picture above you will see that this dragster is wearing the back end of a Rochdale ST Bodyshell! It was not that unusual for these altered dragster cars to be clothed in specials bodies as they were readily available at that time and you only have to Google this era to see a few Fairthorpe bodied cars. I was fortunate to come across this photo as most cars are pictured from the front and we may never have known this was a Rochdale. The history of how this car came to be clothed in this good looking rump though is unconfirmed but fortunately I managed to contact another driver of that era called Martyn Babb who knew of the owner of Sneaky who writes:
I used to race a slingshot dragster back then, and would sometimes find myself in the fireup road near Phil Elson, who hailed from Blackpool and had nailed Sneaky together, and we would talk about building and running the cars among other topics. I seem to recall the body came from a "project" that was sitting in someones drive in Blackpool and they were persuaded to part with it, and that was about 1967, but I more than that I don't recollect. At that time I was also into sidevalve tuning and ran a 300e with all the aquaplane stuff, Wooler 4 speed etc, so I was also aware of the specials scene and through that recognised the body and that was confirmed by Phil in one of our chats.
I have attached a couple of photos of Sneaky, being driven by Phil, I think I took these in 1970, one has his
If I remember correctly, Freeman Rogers (he was a US serviceman posted to a U.K. base) acquired Sneaky late 72 and ran it through the 73 & 74 seasons before he returned to the U.S. I don't know what became of the car after that. I hope that's of interest to you?
Having trawled the internet for pictures of the car I can confirm that Phil Elson removed the body of Sneaky and fitted a yellow T Bucket to this car. He subsequently passed the ST modified bodyshell onto the Aardvark team of US Serviceman Freeman Rogers who promptly repainted it in green and brown camouflage colours as can be seen in the pictures below.
Having surfed the internet I have managed to find a few results of note for this car
Elvington 1970 - Top Comp Winner with 11.93s
Santa Pod Raceway 1971 - Runner Up with 12.10s North Luffenham 1972 - Runner up with 15.08s
Along with this picture was a little write up that was suggesting this car was becoming a little outdated in the competition. It reads:
Freeman Rogers Aardvark was the number four altered in a four altered country. The scary looking piece was even scarier looking than Phil Elsons first altered. Rogers was a US Serviceman who managed to piece a homebuilt altered together with a strange looking body on it. The car debuted with a Chrysler Hemi for power, which Freeman then replaced with a big block Ford wedge for some reason? The car managed an anaemic 10.40 best clocking in 1973.
What was handy about this website is that below the picture it also stated:
Mike Kason has written to tell me that he is in the drivers seat in this picture. Mike subsequently bought the car and re-bodied it with a 5 window coupe from Rays Rods and ran it as Kerbdozer. The car performed champagne burnouts on its debut and was attended by a crew in waistcoats. Kerbdozer, fitted with a big block ford and a carb fitted with velocity stacks, making it look like injection.
So with this extra lead into where the ST bodyshell may have gone to I tried to track down the owner of Kerbdozer, Mike Kason, to see what he had done with the old Sneaky shell? In my search I managed to uncover a bit of information on Kerbdozer as pictured above and one significant bit to lighten the article, it reads:
Thanks to racer Mike Kason for filling in the facts: Kerbdozer had a 427 Ford "side oiler" motor, with which Mike clocked 148mph in 10.71secs. (Later he went big time in a nostalgia fueler at 235mph / 6.4 seconds.) Mike's "red face" moment was in Easter 1976 when a lost pin left Kerbdozer's gearbox in reverse, unknown to him. He floored it and hurtled backwards into his push car in front of 35,000 fans. To add to this, when a frustrated Mike understandably tossed his helmet onto the track, the scrutineer promptly barred him from another run until he'd gone away and bought a new helmet.
With this extra lead on Mike Kason, I scoured the internet looking for some contact details to see if I could find out what happened to the ST Shell. I didn't manage to find Mike Kasons details but what I did find was an internet forum entry from Gary Alce who claimed to be on the pit crew for Kerbdozer. I wrote and asked him for more information on Mike and the ST and had the following sorry reply.
Hi James, unfortunately I was only recruited to the Kerbdozer crew after the 5 window body was fitted, however, I contacted Mike Kason today to ask him your question, and here is his answer: The ST shell was stored in a church garage in the road next to my mums house and the church was sold to be a Seikh temple. The garages were knocked down without my knowledge and it was destroyed then.
Sorry it isn't a more positive answer, but at least it is a definite one.
Regards, Gary J Alce
I spend a lot of my spare time searching the internet for Rochdale related finds but as you can imagine the internet is a big library of information and it has been a long time since I have found anything to report. Luckily for me, ROC Member Rod Smith has stumbled across an ex Rochdale GT owner whilst searching for biker friendly campsites in France!
The picture here shows owner Ray Lambert with his car when purchased in the Summer of 1965, he bought it to replace a Matchless 350 motorbike when the engine seized on the A1 and he dumped the bike in a farmyard!
The website goes onto describe how the Ford Special went on to attract a new girlfriend (Maggie, who was to become permanent) and in Spring 1968 Maggie and Ray painted it white to sell on to purchase a Austin A35 van.
The website can be viewed at http://lambert.eggconnect.net/maggie_lambert_page.htm and details some reports from various trips and old days in and around the Alps.
I write to Rod:
Rod, well done, what an excellent find, to be searching across the internet and stumble across this when you weren't even looking is even more impressive! The fact it doesn't even mention Rochdale in the site means it would have been slim if I had found it, I do occasionally look for "Ford Special" in Google though, slight envy as I've not found a gem like this on the internet for a while!
Thanks Rod, yes, it certainly is a Rochdale, quite a fine-looking GT (though with a worn engine, judging by the reports - still, quite brave to take it to the Alps!). It's got 15in wheels and has been converted to exposed headlights and Mini door hinges, plus twin wing mirrors. It's not among the known survivors, but who knows...
It's hard to be sure of the original reg - it looks like ?833 HE, though that could be NE, or even ME or WE... All of those registrations were issued in 1958-62, so it must have been registered as new and probably had a new chassis when it was built. I wonder what happened to it...
Other photos on the website reveal it was Ray Lambert who fitted the 15in Ballamy wheels during his ownership (and presumably a higher ratio axle, otherwise that trip to the Alps would have been deadly slow and noisy!) and that the first digit of the number plate is 5 and the second one possibly 9, though I'm still unsure about the first of the letters!
Amazing how often Rochdale GTs served to "get a wife" and were then sold on... Seems they did a good job, as the couples in these stories are invariably still together!!
I then followed this find up by writing to Ray Lambert and asking him if he had any other pertinent information that he could let the Rochdale Owners Club have but unfortunately I still don't have a reply, watch out for a part 2 in the next magazine.
Before I moved out to Cyprus I had to put all my effects that I wasn't transporting over into storage, included in these effects were about 10 A4 folders of Rochdale related paperwork letters and pictures that the club has accumulated over the last 30 years. I have been going through all this old paperwork slowly scanning it all into the computer so that we can reduce the amount of material we have accumulated as a club. Having one final flick through before putting them into storage I discovered a picture of my C Type that I had not seen before. What was brilliant about this photo was the fact it had a street name in the background as can be seen below.
Unfortunately the photo was too grainy to make out the name of the road even after putting it through photoshop and enlarging the area, all I could make out was the first letter L and the last 5 letters WORTH, what was annoying is that I couldn't quite see if there were 4 or 5 letters after the L and before the WORTH.
In desperation I enlarged the sign and wrote an article for the last magazine and included the picture asking for the Rochdale community to help trace the location. What I didn't expect was a reply from Alan Farrer after I had sent him the copy saying he had discovered the address as Lindsworth Road, following much thanks we withdrew the article from the last magazine and I investigated further. The actual house can be seen in the picture below from Google Street View with the original period street name still in front of the brick wall.
I think the original photo was taken around 1955/6 so if the owner of the car was visiting the house in the background or one near then it would have been 55 years ago so the chances of finding a relative or owner at these houses was going to be pretty slim. I started by writing a leaflet with a photo to drop in the houses around the area asking if anyone knew the car or its occupants and started the fairly short drive of 20 miles from my father in Laws house to find the address. As luck would have it there was someone moving boxes into the house from a car on the drive so I wandered over and told my story to the house owner.
Now this is where my luck ran out, unfortunately the boxes were because he had just bought the house and was moving in. The neighbour then pulled up onto the drive and I asked her if she had any history of the previous owner or a name, unfortunately she said the owner had died 3 months earlier and had lived there since the 50's, I was a few months too late.
I then wandered round the houses knocking on a few doors and putting leaflets through the letter boxes of those who weren't in. I also popped into the local estate agents and asked for them to pass on my number to the people who sold the house but I have heard nothing from any more sources since I came to Cyprus.
I was still eager to learn more about my C Type and contacted the Buckler register to ask if they could send me copies of all their back issues of the Bucklering newsletter. For the princely sum of £5 I was able to download them all from 1973 and started working my way through them. As soon as I started I realised they were a goldmine of early Rochdale related information (more later) but it wasn't until I'd got to July 1987 that I found a golden nugget of information.
The sister of A.P Locke visited us at the NEC and told us of her Brothers car VAR 732. She was very surprised to see a photo of him racing at Silverstone in our files and to be told the car was currently derelict in Cornwall. This then led to Tony Locke being contacted. Apparently it was his first race and the car was bought from a Mr Fosbury, who was not the original owner. Tony put in a Willment Conversion set up and Buckler close ratio gears and made it quite a quick car, the car had a Rochdale body. What is great about this is that I thought Mr Locke was only the second owner (as described in previous ROC magazines) but now know that it had 2 owners before him, the first being a Mr Booth as I found out from past investigation but also being confirmed in a March 1989 Bucklering newletter with a little statement that read:
So I have some more information on my Buckler chassied Rochdale and hope to trace a Mr Fosbury but with 160 results on 192.com it is going to take a lot of stamps, still, worth a try! Whilst I'm on the subject, did anyone see the little snippet in Classic Car magazine about my C Type in June? The American C Type also featured in the same column in Septembers issue.
In the article above I mentioned that I'd purchased all the back issues of the Bucklering newsletter and contained in the newsletter is a wealth of information on the history and fate of Rochdale bodied Bucklers, below are a few snippets and leads I have followed, expect more in the next magazine.
My first little snippet is from September 1984 and is one which I don't think I'll ever get a lead on but thought I'd introduce it just in case anyone is travelling to South Africa?
The next useful information I came across is about a car I have long wondered the whereabouts of. The car in question is the Cornish F Type that was used for Autocross (featured in a past magazine, help me Ed), unfortunately I had no lead on the car until now. The article below from October 1976 Buckler newsletter gave me a much needed name of the owner at the time. I had a quick look at 192.com and this uncommon surname appeared pretty much straight away with a telephone number.
July 1980 saw another article in the Bucklering newsletter about this F Type
I rang a bewildered Doug, the previous owner, who wasn't even going to answer the phone because he saw a foreign phone number on his display! Doug informed me the car had been sitting in his garage for years until he sold it 10 years ago to someone called Peter Bilton from Liphook. He said Peter was around 75 when he bought it so he'll be around 85 now. Unfortunately I can't find any record of Peter Bilton but luckily another snippet of information Doug gave me is that the son of Peter raced a Porsche, another lead to follow.
Having typed Bilton Porsche into the internet I managed to find numerous race results and information on Laurence Bilton but no contact details of any sort, what I did manage to find though is Oliver Bryant Racing, this website detailed a race that Oliver Bryant shared the driving with Laurence Bilton, I wrote to Oliver and asked for some contact details and he promised he'd pass on my information to Laurence but as of yet I still have not heard anything. Does any of our readership now of this Porsche racer? Hopefully more on the whereabouts of this F Type and the other leads I have discovered in the Bucklering newsletter in the next magazine.
Again I am going to finish my little article with the same request I put in every edition of the magazine and for the past few years I have still received nothing. All I and the other registrars are asking for is any history you have about your Rochdale, there might be a little gem of information in your files, on your V5 or Buff Logbook, in your pictures or on your original letters from RMP that could help the hard working registrars complete a Rochdale related jigsaw puzzle. Please, please, please scan or photocopy any information you feel is relevant so we can add it to our strictly confidential files and collate some more history of Rochdale cars.
In the last magazine you may remember I mentioned having an empty garage and nothing to do with it, well now it is filled with a Mark 1 Golf GTI Cabriolet. A bit of an impulse buy but it's in excellent condition for a 23 year old car. It has certainly benefitted from being out in the sun for its life. No rusty patches to be seen and even the front valance looks like it has just been painted. It was an impulse buy though and as I'm not going to be changing my trade to hairdresser it might be going to make way for an MGA I have seen sitting in a scrapyard, more next edition!
The Rochdale Owners Club first magazine was produced in October 1981 and I write this quarters article in homage to those first instigators attempts at recording and promoting the Rochdale Marque. I suppose an ideal place to start would be with those early marques mentioned in the first magazine, although it was only 6 pages long, we all have to start somewhere! As you flick through, you first come across a list of new members, of those I only recognise 2 names of people who have lasted through to the current membership list, Wim Groot and Keith Hamer, obviously Keith is an integral part of the world that is Rochdale, being one of the creators of the club.
Of all the early members though there were only 2 GT owners and of those I have recently written about the cars history and fate, so with that I move on to magazine number 2 to find a car to help celebrate 30 years of the Rochdale Owners Club magazine. All I can find is an advert for a Rochdale GT up for sale by Ian Heywood.
I looked through all my files but can't find a GT with past history including Mr Heywood as an owner. I did find another advert in magazine 31 though:
Now this magazine was published in 1987 so maybe Mr Heywood didn't get any takers on the car in 1981 and stuck with it for a few years? As the original advert is in Cheshire and Keith Hamer started the magazine and lives in the locality I thought I'd start by asking him if he knew of Mr Heywood, Keith said That was a long time ago, I'm afraid I don't know, try Roger Coupe. So following Keith�s advice I wrote to Roger Coupe asking if he knew Mr Heywood, Roger said �That was a long time ago, I'm afraid I don't know, try Keith Hamer!
So I'm back at the start and the trail is cold, I have checked 192.com and found that Mr Heywood no longer lives at 70 Carrington Lane and the electoral role shows a few people have owned this property over the past 10 years. Where to next, well I'm hoping our members may be able to help in tracing which particular Rochdale GT this actually is, any offers?
So, my initial homage to celebrating thirty years of the Rochdale magazine for early vehicles has run dry as the next magazine a GT features in is mag 13 from 1983, I'll have to celebrate 30 years in 2013.
Even now I am writing this wondering if anyone reads this far.For those who have Happy Christmas and a trouble free Rochdale New Year to you all
The Revival never fails to give me a most enjoyable day of motor racing and much more. This year was no exception. My E Special being driven by Chris, my nephew, brought us to the pre'66 car park near the entrance gate where we were pleased to see another Wildcat, the ex Graham Searle Union Jack emblazoned vehicle which, surprisingly, was registered as an Historic vehicle. We bought a programme and because we didn't want to lug around the heavy part of the main programme made arrangements with the lady to leave it under the counter. We couldn't resist a coffee and bacon bap after our early start but the glorious sounds of the start of practice for the Goodwood Trophy urged us to a viewing space along the pit straight. There were many Continental drivers taking part in their Maseratis, Alfas and Bugattis, and drivers, such as Duncan Ricketts and Mac Hulbert, maintained a strong British presence with their rasping ERAs.
The 500 race that followed showed the numerous makes that had been constructed in the 1950's employing a wide variety of motor-cycle engines but it was the Cooper-Norton and Cooper-JAP cars that predominated. Most of these cars, as we look at them today, have an unnecessarily high ground clearance which seems odd for a car only concerned with racing on flat circuits. The Barry Sheene Memorial race was enjoyed as we walked towards Madgwick corner and the Manx Nortons are still the bike to beat but the 4 cylinder MV Agustas and Gileras sounded wonderful.
The St Marys trophy produced some very competitive racing and notable drivers were Martin Brundle and Whizzo Williams in the huge Ford Galaxies, Tom Kristensen and Richard
Attwood in their Lotus Cortinas, and Tiff Needell showing just how fast he could drive a 1200 Anglia. Cooper Ss gave their usual fine display of on-the-limit motoring. The Ford Motor company, this year, celebrated 100 years in existence and put on a very fine display of 100 vehicles. Just think of any Ford, however rare, and it was there completing a couple of laps of the circuit.
As we walked towards Lavant on the opposite side of the 2.38 mile circuit, we were able to watch no fewer than 30 E types trying hard. In fact one over-steered into the tyre wall. We saw near standard cars, semi-lightweight and lightweight cars as well as three examples of the Low Drag racer that was based on the Lindner/Knocker car designed by Malcolm Sayer, the Jaguar aerodynamicist. Notable drivers were the Minshaws, the Scraggs, Jackie Oliver, Derek Bell, Gerhard Berger, and Martin Stretton. After a lunch snack in blazing sunshine we watched the amazing speed and driver control of the 60's Formula Junior cars particularly when one realises that they were powered by a mere 1100 cc engine. The Freddie March Trophy practice was for cars that specialised in the longer races of the '52-'55 period and these cars, Lotus 23s, Elva BMWs and Brabham BT8s for example were very fast indeed.
The celebration of Fangios birth in 1911 involved a grand parade of all the cars he drove in his lifetime even including the cut-down Chevrolet saloon in which he competed in a 1939 Carretera cross Argentina stage and won. Alfa, Lago-Talbots, Gordini, BRM V16, Maserati, Ferrari, Lancia, Jaguar, and many Mercedes were all there to form a wonderful display and make one realise that whatever Fangio was driving he was a natural and a winner.
Chris and I continued our stroll to St Marys to see old F1 racing cars competing in the Richmond
Trophy. A replica of the Lancia-Ferrari D50 owned By JC Bamford was being driven by Classic & Sportscar contributor Alan de Cadenet. Several Maserati 250Fs took part and it was fun to see the fast but strange sight of the Connaught 'C' type whose bodywork and nickname resembles a tube of toothpaste. BRM type 25s were well represented and going strongly while other F1 cars seen were Cooper-Bristol, Aston DBR4, HWM, Lotus16, Ferrari 246 Dino and the Ferguson Project 99 car. A short break for a lap of the circuit introduced spectators to a multitude of ex scramble riders, the sport now known as motocross. Seven ex world champions led the field out.
After part 2 of the St Marys trophy for saloon cars, it was time for a favourite race of mine, the RAC TT celebration. The earlier practice for the E types precluded their entry into this exciting event but the field of 250GTO Ferraris, including the 'Breadvan' version, several Aston Martins, a Lister Jaguar, a Maserati type 151 and many Cobras would ensure a fierce battle between makes. The two Shelby Cobra Daytona coupes driven by Desiree Wilson and particularly Tom Kristensen were continually on the limit.
Time for an ice-cream and sit down at the Madgwick corner, it was still very hot and, as I write this on the following day, I realise how lucky we were with the weather. Between 1961 and 1965, Grand Prix cars were limited to 1.5 litres and Lotus, Brabham, and Cooper were the main contenders, most of which used the Climax engine. An exception was the beautiful Ferrari 'sharknosed'156.
By now, Chris wished to see the infield attractions and we walked through the tunnel to arrive at the reproduced Earls Court fronted building that contained many delicious cars such as Zagatobodied Astons, Ferrari Daytona, Jaguar 220 and, somewhat out of period, the latest Ford Focus. Outside another ice-cream was called for to be served by two young ladies with a stop-me-andbuy-one three-wheel bike. Free access to the pits area showed us just how much attention, by white overalled mechanics, was given to the cars after their races. Wandering on, we arrived at the area known as the Spirit of Aviation adjacent to the main runway. I was intrigued by a Spanish version of the Messerschmtt 109 fighter, the larger than imagined Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber, a B17 Flying Fortress, smaller than imagined, a US Harvard trainer, a super smooth Spitfire photo reconnaissance plane, a Puss Moth, as used by many long distance record breakers in the 30's and best of all, the winner of the 1931 Schneider Trophy, the Supermarine S6.
The Sussex Trophy brings forth a super collection of racing cars. A strong field of D type Jaguars and other Jaguar-engined cars were competing against several Maseratis, Astons and Ferraris not to mention a 6.6 litre Chevy powered special, 'Ol' Yeller which is invited to the Revival year after year. For Jaguar fans it was nice to see the E2A model driven by ex-Motor journalist and full time professional driver Tony Dron.
We did not stay for the final motorcycle event since Chris was due to return to Derby that evening. As we left the meeting we remembered we had a date with the programme girl but now, past 6.30, we found the marquee closed.
It took a little time to exit the site but once on the main road the traffic moved steadily. It became dark as we drove home and, after we had had a small meal, Chris was soon able to start his return journey to Derby; he had a trip to Manchester the following morning, Saturday, and a Three Peaks cycle race on the Sunday. Meanwhile, I was happy to relax after all that walking.
Interest in adding kerosene to petrol for use in historic cars arose in the early 1990s after the disappearance of two star leaded petrol.
Some believed that higher octane four-star petrol could not be safely used in older low compression engines. This line of argument has been overturned, and in fact it is now generally accepted that while excessive octane quality might be a waste of money, it is not harmful in low compression engines. The alternative view, that the greatly increased volatility of modern petrol is to blame for operating problems in older engines, is increasingly accepted. This aspect of modern fuels has been brought into focus again recently over the issue of addition of ethanol to petrol under the EU renewable fuels directive. Ethanol addition increases volatility, so any problems associated with high fuel volatility are not likely to be reduced with fuels containing ethanol.
With this in mind, there has been a renewal of interest in the addition of kerosene to petrol. Kerosene has a boiling range from about 160oC to about 250oC, whereas petrol boils over the approximate range 35oC to 195oC. Problems experienced in older engines, such as overheating, power loss, poor hot starting etc. have been attributed to the increased proportion of low boiling material added to petrol in more recent decades. This is believed to result in vapour formation in the wrong places, thereby upsetting fuel-air ratios, and in the main, causing enleanment of fuel-air mixtures reaching the combustion chamber.
Addition of a high boiling material such as kerosene does not affect the front end of the fuel in the sense of preventing low boiling-point hydrocarbons in the fuel from vaporising (low boiling point hydrocarbons in the fuel will boil off and form vapour long before the kerosene starts to boil), but if kerosene is added at 5% or 10% by volume for example, the proportion of the front end components will be reduced by a corresponding amount, and this may be just enough in some engines to alleviate the negative effects of potentially excessive vapour formation. Some owners of historic vehicles report significant benefits from the use of kerosene in this way.
However, the main point about kerosene, which is its higher boiling range, should not be overlooked. The high back end boiling temperatures associated with kerosene may result in incomplete combustion, since a fuel which has not completely evaporated will not burn. Any unburned material will find its way into the sump where it will dilute the lubricating oil. A significant amount of diluent derived from kerosene addition in the lubricating oil would run the risk of lubrication problems, with consequent increased wear of bearing surfaces.
There has been some confusion over the use of kerosene blends in historic agricultural tractors, particularly as some of these used car-derived engines. However, in order for these machines to burn kerosene-blend fuels efficiently, a special vaporising inlet manifold was used on the tractor version, to ensure that complete combustion occurred, without the risk of oil dilution. The same engine in a passenger car, if operated on kerosene-blend fuels, will not be so well suited to these blends.
Kerosene addition is likely also to increase the risk of deposits in the fuel system, and may also increase the formation of sooty particulates in the exhaust gas. Overall, while it acknowledges that some historic vehicle owners have suffered from poor engine operation with modern petrol, the FBHVC does not feel able to recommend the use of kerosene in petrol in older vehicles. Instead, the Federation endorses the recommendations contained in a booklet published by the Vintage Sports Car Club, entitled Fuel Problems Use of Modern Petrol in Older Engines some years ago. These recommendations are felt to address the causes rather than the symptoms of the problem, and are still relevant today. The following suggestions are made in the report:
Adoption of local solutions to reduce heat input to the fuel system, principally from hot exhaust components
Use of insulating gaskets or other thermal breaks between fuel pump and engine and/or between carburettor(s) and inlet manifold
Use of heat shields to prevent heat being radiated from the exhaust system to the carburettor(s) and other fuel system components
Careful routing of fuel feed lines away from sources of heat en route from the tank to the carburettor(s)
These suggestions will be of most value in engines where the inlet manifold and the exhaust manifold lie on the same side of the engine. Engines where carburettors and exhaust are on opposite sides of the cylinder head tend to be much less affected by volatility related problems.
In addition, the condition of the radiator in water-cooled engines should not be overlooked. Old radiators can become really quite inefficient over time with accumulation of scale, debris and sludge on heat transfer surfaces, but the process can be slow and may not be noticed. Chemical flushing can improve cooling efficiency, but in some cases a replacement radiator core may be the best way to restore efficient operation.
The identity of a vehicle starts with the chassis, or monocoque.
The V765/3 Scheme Guidance Notes indicates that: you must be satisfied that the vehicle is genuine, and: you must be satisfied that the evidence linking the vehicle with the number is genuine. Should the criteria contained in INF26 (Guidelines on how you can register kitcars and rebuilt or radically altered vehicles) Section 2, called Vehicles that have been rebuilt using a mixture of new/used parts also be applied?
The reply from DVLA was:
The INF 26 procedures are in place purely to assess the identity of vehicles which are currently registered on DVLAs system.
The V765 scheme is intended to ensure that the vehicle being registered for the first time on
DVLAs computerised system is reunited with its original identity. If, prior to applying via the V765 scheme, a historic or classic vehicle is rebuilt (rather than repaired) from parts taken from a number of donor vehicles, or where the donor vehicle may not be known, the correct course for registration would be the Reconstructed Classic route providing the criteria are met. However, DVLA relies on the integrity and expertise of the owners club to ensure that the vehicle being registered is what it purports to be. Whether the clubs apply the INF26 principles as a guide is a matter for them.
In practical terms, I would suggest that using the principles in Section 2 of INF26 does have a lot of merit. In particular for a chassis-based vehicle, the body does not come into the jigsaw.
There was concern expressed at the clubs meeting held in March at DVLAs Theale office about owners who change the body type prior to a claim for that particular number. Provided that the chassis and mechanical components come from the same vehicle that used to display the registration number, the new type of body should not adversely affect your judgement on that claim.
In an ideal world the pre-1982 documentary evidence which links the vehicle to the registration number would also contain the model and chassis number. Where no chassis number is shown is it reasonably likely that these documents could relate to the physical vehicle? DVLA will take into account your decisive recommendation when deciding whether to allocate the number to the vehicle on a non-transferable basis.
This is a question relating to vehicles used exclusively for historic track racing events.
It is not unusual to have an historic racing vehicle paired with a second donor vehicle used for spares. It is accepted that the main vehicle needs to be SORNed. As the donor vehicle is used up, when does it technically no longer exist and so does not need to be SORNed?
DVLA have indicated the following:
If you still have the key remnants of the vehicle, e.g. the chassis or bodyshell, and two other major components e.g. front and back suspension, both axles, transmission, steering assembly, or engine, you will need to keep declaring SORN.
A vehicle keeper must notify DVLA immediately if they rebuild or modify their vehicle. In cases where a registered vehicle is rebuilt or modified from its original specification it will be assessed under the INF26 guidelines and a physical inspection of the vehicle by a DVLA local office will be required.
If a vehicle is rebuilt using a second hand chassis or monocoque bodyshell from a donor vehicle or from an unknown source, the identity will change irrespective of how many components are retained from the original vehicle and it is advisable for anyone intending to carry out such a build to familiarise themselves with the INF26 before work begins.
In the scenario described, where a car is used for off road race or speed events, and is repaired/rebuilt from parts of another registered and SORNed vehicle, SORN must be declared on both vehicles and must continue to be until the vehicles are destroyed. Such vehicles should not be relicensed for use on the public road until DVLA has been notified of the rebuild/modifications.
Vehicles that have been driven by a well known personality, or have won a number of races are typically recognised by their registration numbers and/or chassis numbers.
The value of these vehicles can be on the high side. However, some of these vehicles that were written off in severe crashes subsequent to their moments of fame are occasionally found again in a remarkably intact condition. I would expect that the majority of specialist clubs will be wary of these found, formally written off vehicles, and would treat any claim for that number in the appropriate manner. Possibly an age-related number application could be more appropriate.
If specialist clubs come across cases like this, it would be helpful if they could send in the V765 form to DVLA, with the rejection box ticked, together with an explanation on how this conclusion was deduced. This could prevent DVLA accepting a later recommendation for this number from a non-specialist club, who may not be quite so knowledgeable.
The Federation is keen to maintain the reputation of the V765 scheme. If a club is aware of any such vehicles they may wish to pass this information on to the Federation, together with some background information. The Federation will then pass this information onto the appropriate section at DVLA.
Response from DVLA to an enquiry from FBHVC
I have received a copy of your consultation response to the Red Tape Challenge regarding End of Life Vehicles and thought I may be able to provide you with some advice. You may recall that the removal of the scrap box from the V5C was discussed at the last FBHVC/DVLA Meeting in October 2010 and the following written reply provided by DVLA in December 2010:
The End of Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 implemented the requirement of the EU End of Life Vehicles Directive (2000/53).
The law states that all End of Life Vehicles must be taken to an Authorised Treatment Facility
(ATF) to be destroyed and de-polluted in an environmentally friendly way. The ATF will notify DVLA that the vehicle has been destroyed and issue the person presenting the vehicle for scrapping will be issued with a Certificate of Destruction (CoD) which closes down the vehicle record at DVLA and ends the registered keepers' responsibility for the vehicle.
Because of this, vehicle keepers cannot "scrap" a vehicle themselves and so DVLA no longer accepts notifications of scrapping made on the V5C. The removal of the scrap box on the new V5C was in accordance to the End of Life Vehicle Directive requirement, in that all vehicles must be taken to an ATF to be destroyed and issued with a CoD.
Over recent years the salvage industry has campaigned for the removal of the scrap box on the V5C. DVLA realised that the scrap box should be removed at the earliest convenience, and was therefore removed during the wider review of other changes needed to the certificate and was incorporated with the re-design of the V5C.
With regards to the points made in your consultation response regarding the difficulty historic vehicle enthusiasts find in notifying DVLA, I hope you find the following helpful.
For vehicles outside the scope of the ELV requirement, such as historic vehicles, the V5C can still be used. If parts are delivered to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) then the V5C/3 selling or transferring your vehicle to a motor trader, insurer or dismantler part of the V5C should be filled in with the ATFs details and sent to DVLA. Alternatively, if the ATF is reluctant to fill in the V5C/3 or a keeper is self scrapping, then the whole V5C can be sent to DVLA with a covering explanation letter, dated and signed . Within 4 weeks DVLA should confirm receipt that the person is no longer the keeper of the vehicle, and this discharges the requirement to tax or SORN each year.
Hot off the press
I understand that our treasurer Stuart McCaslin is now a Rochdale owner, having obtained a phase 2 Olympic registered VWT 144F. This is an Olympic with an interesting history. It was bought as a shell from RMP in 1968 by a Martin Spencer, who was a development engineer with Holset. Martin built up the car to more or less standard phase 2 specification and the car featured in the June 1969 edition of Hot Car magazine.
This is what Martin wrote in what I think was their in house magazine.
The note in the brochure Designed and developed for enthusiasts with individual tastes caught my eye and having struggled with and been bored by standard family saloons I decided to take the plunge and build my own fibre glass body GT car. The Rochdale Olympic was an ideal choice, not too expensive, of pleasing design and with sufficient space in the rear for eventual additions to the family.
My first move was to visit the factory in Rochdale to discuss my requirements and to find out more about the car. I discovered the body to be of monocoque construction with no chassis, the components being merely bolted to the fibreglass. The exception to this was the front suspension and steering which is fitted to a tubular sub-frame, which in turn is bonded into the body. I must hasten to add that the roof is stiffened by a tubular frame and the fibreglass itself is thick around the engine and rear suspension mountings.
Impressed with what I saw, I ordered a body, front spring damper units, headlining trim panels and seats. The body was to be finished with a dark blue gel coat approximately 1/32" thick instead of the more usual cellulose spray.
My next task was to obtain the necessary component parts and all of these, apart from the radiator and back axle were bought new. I bought a Ford 1600cc GT engine complete with gearbox. The back axle was removed from a car involved in a front end crash and was sent to Rochdale for modification. I ordered front suspension and complete steering from Triumph. The wheels are Vauxhall Victor, the horns Maserati air type, the radiator Renault Dauphine, the headlights VW and the rear lights MG Magnette, quite a mixture.
Whilst instrumentation may be obtained from Rochdale, I chose to fit an MGB speedometer and tachometer with Smiths matching auxiliary gauges for water temperature, oil pressure, fuel together with an ammeter.
Finally the day arrived for the body to be collected and using a borrowed car and trailer I carried it back across the Pennines and manhandled it into my 14 feet x 8 feet garage where it was supported on four orange boxes. My first job was to fit the back axle and locating links. This was accomplished by lying on my back supporting the weight of the axle with my feet whilst drilling fixing holes with a hand drill.
The front suspension needed slight modification to suit the sub-frame and special rubber bushes were fitted. A transverse anti-roll bar was fitted between the two lower A brackets and the rack and pinion steering fitted directly above the anti-roll bar.
The radiator, front spring damper units and the steering column were soon fitted and before adding any extra weight to the body, the engine/gearbox had to be positioned. Lack of lifting gear meant that this had to be done manually, lifting the front of the body about three feet, supporting it on axle stands and pushing the engine/gearbox underneath whilst still on its delivery cradle. The mountings were fixed to the engine and the body lowered into place.
All brake pipes (except flexibles) were made from 3/16" soft copper tube cut to appropriate lengths and the ends formed by the use of a punch. The master cylinder was fitted and the braking system completed.
Fitting the wiring and electrical components was the next main task. The loom came from Rochdale with all the ends labelled, but unfortunately about half of these were wrong, since the wiring system was designed for the Phase 1 model and in any case I was not using Rochdale components. The wiring was eventually completed after three nights work at the expense of two Tilley lamp mantles (my main source of lighting in the garage). After fitting the battery the engine was turned over to pump the petrol from the tanks, after which the engine fired and ran. It was obvious that the next job to be tackled was the exhaust system and this was measured up and the entire system fabricated in stainless steel.
Finally the interior was fitted out with its carpets and panels which I had bought from Rochdale and I was ready for the trial run. The necessary insurance cover had to be obtained and since the Rochdale is rated in Group 6 this was rather expensive.
I have been running the car for a few months now and can honestly say that despite high insurance ratings and ever increasing speed restrictions, the pleasure of owning this unusual and lively GT car is very great, heightened by the fact that it was built by myself with absolutely no special equipment of facilities.
The build had taken Martin three months, working three nights a week. The total cost was a little under £800. I do not know how long he retained it, but by the 1980's it was with a John Macaulay of Hitchin, Herts. In 2003 I received a call from John, saying that due to health problems and an imminent move the car needed to be moved as a matter of urgency or be scrapped. Malcolm McKay responded to my plea and rescued the car. In 2009 when Malcolm decided to thin out his collection it went to a Mr Taylor, who I believe also bought Malcolms phase 1 UFF 354.
A year later and the car appeared for sale again, this time at the Beaulieu auction where it was acquired by Cliff Proctor whom I had met on my first trip to the Le Mans Classic. Unfortunately, due to work pressures Cliff could not see when he would find time to restore it and hence decided to sell it to Stuart, who had been looking for a Rochdale since taking on the Treasurers mantle.
It must be nearly 30 years since this Olympic was last on the road, so let's hope that Stuart can bring another one back into the land of the living.
Ben Bettell (a friend of Stuart) is making progress with his phase 1 Olympic (the Inverness car).
Previous owner Roger Cook had removed the original Morris Minor engine as he intended to fit a Ford unit. Ben however has decided to return to the original idea and has obtained a Midget 1275cc engine and gearbox. Thanks to John Blanckley kindly donating the instrument binnacle moulds to the Club, Ben now has the correct item to replace the monstrosity that the original builder had in mind.
I was reminded recently how back in the late 1960's early 1970's Olympics went through a spell when they were just cheap unusual kit cars to be used and abused. The following is an email received from Eric Brookes, previous owner of a phase 1 and sets the tone for what befell so many of our cars.
I owned 4591 LG from May/June 1968 to 7 June 1970. If you have access to old Motorsport magazines you would see my ad flogging it in the May or June 1970 issue. I think I got £240 for it. At that time I was living in Waterloo near Liverpool. I bought the car from a gentleman called Ian James Rogers who I worked with for a bit. He lived in Goostrey in Cheshire and had owned the car I think from early 1967. I can't recollect the name of the chap I flogged it to but he lived Manchester way. (If my records are correct this was Malcolm Lomax who is still the current owner?).
The car itself was crude but fast (weighing 12cwt with 78 bhp from a1498cc Ford Cortina GT engine if my memory is correct) and looking back should have been a death trap. The big ends rattled when cold, the brake pipes were corroded, the handbrake didn't work, the steering linkage (a multi layer fabric disc off I believe a Vauxhall) (Renault Dauphine actually) was sadly frayed, the bonnet was loose with a tendency to flip up when you were hurtling along at 80 mph which did nothing for vision, the drivers door hinges had dropped and didn't shut properly and the windscreen wiper motor didn't have enough power to move both blades against a crosswind.
For most of the time I owned the car it did not have a valid MOT but fortunately the Police never caught me. My only concern however was how fast it went and I terrified everyone who went in it with me. Eventually however the brakes failed on me (1969) and in avoiding a baby in a pram I put the car broadside into a brick wall. It demolished the wall but the only damage to the car was a small penny size chip in the LH rear bodywork/ a few cracks to the GRP underbody and a bent rear suspension radius arm (onto the Riley 1.5 back axle) which I straightened with a mallet and then welded on a piece of small steel angle to beef it up. It cost me £1 to repair the car and £8 to repair the wall.
Times have certainly changed. After this I decided to get the car street legal and in late 1969 I put it into a local garage to get it sorted and MOT'd. However, the mechanic was a madman
and took the car out and like me put it into a wall which messed up the front suspension/the bodywork and the VW headlights. He wasn't worth suing and the garage promptly shut down and lacking cash I ended up repairing the car myself in the first half of 1970 and then flogged it. The car was a good design but like many kit cars lacked finishing and sophistication. When I bought the car I thought with its bright red good looks that it would be a bird puller, but my previous successes in an Austin A35 were sadly not repeated in the Rochdale and after 2 years living like a monk I was relieved to see the back of it.
The above perhaps explains why so many of our cars have been off the road for a number of years!
642 JAC is a well known phase 2 Olympic and when in the ownership of Mick Cullen appeared at a number of Club events. After some 12 years of ownership and use, in 2004 the car moved south-west to Devon under the custodianship of Fred Blackmore. Here the car was treated to a retrim and paint job and won a highly commended rosette when on display at the Clubs stand at the Bristol Classic Car Show. In 2010 the car was part exchanged at Sussex Sports Cars for, I believe a Brabham Viva.
Having sat on Sussex Sports Cars forecourt for about a year (and had its original number sold! It is now registered XYJ 204A) it was acquired by Mike Youles, with the specific intention of turning it into a circuit racer. Mike is a professional race car preparer and driver of some repute and thought that it would make an interesting addition to the new HRDC Grand Touring Greats series.
Mike only lives some ten minutes from me so I had to go and have a look. I understand that the cars have to run a BMC A series engine, so the original 1300cc Ford engine has given way to a 1380cc full race BMC version. Power is transmitted through a Quaife dog engagement Sprite gearbox to an A series back axle. (fitted of course with a TranX limited slip differential). Wheels are Minilite replicas, also I understand, obligatory for the Series.
Suspension seems pretty much like the standard phase 2 arrangement, but well set up, which probably means it is symmetrical, unlike most Olympics!!
The car is very well finished, as anyone who had a close look whilst it was on the stand at the NEC a couple of weeks ago will have noticed.
First race was at Snetterton a few weeks ago, and despite a few teething problems I understand that Mike was impressed with the car and qualified fourth on the grid. Unfortunately due to problems Mike was unable to start in the actual race.
A full season is planned for next year, so it will be nice to see a Rochdale back on track for the first time in over 40 years and obviously if it gets some good results it will raise the profile of the marque.
Watch this space.