No 144 WINTER 2015


My Retirement

Yet another reminder that we will need a new editor (or secretary) next year, so get volunteering!

Car Heater

With the coming of colder weather it has been possible to check the effectiveness of my whizzo heater mod. I am pleased to report it works as planned/hoped.

Tony Stanton has been collecting the data for his list of Olympics in competition (see p10) for some time. This is much more extensive than most of us thought. If you know of any others, or have pictures he would be delighted to hear from you.

FBHVC News gives a short obituary of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, a great stalwart of motoring and of classic, vintage and veteran cars in particular.

Bah Humbug! Join in the fun and send in your pet car hates (see p24).

Coming Events

Christmas! Usual date.



Given a number of inputs from members, the time may have come to remind those of you who are affected, of the requirements of the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) system.

To remind you, NOVA came into force on 15 April 2013. It is a joint HMRC/DVLA system which in all usual cases works automatically and without a problem.

If you are importing a vehicle from within the EU, whether you are a business or an individual and whether or not the vehicle is new, you must notify HMRC of the importation within 14 days. This would apply even if the vehicle was a restoration project. DVLA will automatically be aware of this process, whether or not the vehicle is immediately presented for registration.

There were transitional arrangements for vehicles imported just before introduction of NOVA but these should no longer be needed, except for the following:

The Federation identified from the inputs of members that there was an unforeseen problem and advised HMRC. There were (and no doubt still are) a number of vehicles imported as restoration projects prior to the inauguration of NOVA. If restoration took a number of years, it would be a while before they were ready to be registered with the DVLA. Particularly where the unrestored vehicle changed hands after import, details of the importation might be lost.

The Federation negotiated a transitional procedure, which may yet have several years to run before all projects become complete and registration is applied for to DVLA. This procedure is for these very exceptional cases only. We all need to be aware that this is an important concession we have received to benefit affected members. Thus it is not built into the normal automated system. This does mean that there might on occasions be confusion and some delay in the operation of the system and we would ask those dealing with it to understand this and be patient.

The process, which has in our experience generally worked well, is that where the formal documentation is lost, HMRC will accept a NOVA1 notification form from the current owner of the vehicle completed as far as possible.

It is important to use the paper version as the electronic form will not accept incomplete answers or, in some cases, answers which are correct for the purpose. The NOVA1 should be accompanied by a letter of explanation and any available information regarding the history of the vehicle. This procedure should be followed even if the owner has a VAT 415 form for the vehicle. The aim of HMRC is simply to ensure that HMRC are aware of the vehicle.

HMRC will input the information into NOVA. At the outset there was a 14 day service standard date on inputting NOVA1s and we have not been notified that this has changed. If further information is required the HMRC Officer will contact the owner and advise them of what is required. Once HMRC is satisfied the applicant will receive a confirmation letter. It is then the responsibility of the applicant to provide the HMRC letter to DVLA to be able to register the vehicle.

When the scheme started the address to send the form was the Personal Transport Unit at Dover, which the DVLA website suggests is still valid. We have been advised by some members that handling of these arrangements has moved to Salford but that ought not to affect its operation. We are checking this out.

Consequences of Discontinuance of the Tax Disc

Plain English disease seems to have struck the DVLA. With one exception (the contents list under refunds) everything refers to tax ending when you 'sell' or 'buy' a vehicle. It is really hard to find out that tax actually expires whenever you transfer registered keepership. Nowhere, except in that contents list, is the word 'transferred' used.

So innocent fathers, widows and partners of those unable to drive anymore, who simply send off the front page of the V5C duly completed to change the registered keeper don't know that they are cancelling the tax immediately DVLA receives the form. Nor indeed do they know when DVLA receives it, as in some of the cases listed above, the transfer takes an unacceptable time to complete. Suggesting that enforcement action will not occur until they have been reminded is not good enough, as it remains illegal to drive an untaxed vehicle. The Federation will, on behalf of all vehicle users, continue to campaign to have all the relevant DVLA publicity corrected.


Whichever way you look at it, the Rochdale GT was always going to be something of a compromise - how could it be otherwise? Any attempt to make a low-slung sports car out of Fords tall and narrow 103E Popular was always going to fall foul of more than its fair share of constraints, so the transformation Richard Parker and the Rochdale team managed with the GT has to count as one of the minor masterpieces of industrial design. The source of the design was never officially acknowledged, but it was Keith Pratt who first pointed out that - in certain areas - the lines of the earlier F-Type were virtually identical to those of the GT. They took an earlier F-Type shell and built it up into a GT said Keith. Apart from the roof line, the cars are pretty much the same.

Do you believe it? Well, I was sceptical, I admit, but close examination shows that, yes, that car probably was the origin of much of the GT's sexy curves - it must have been really something in 1957. Though not everyone's cup of tea in later times, it seems. Building a hardtop over the Ford chassis meant it was always going to result in a car taller at the back than you might like - throw in the shell of an open sports car, the chassis of a pre-war Ford, the door frames of a Morris and things would begin to move from the 'difficult' category firmly towards the 'impossible'. Are you serious, Mr Smith? you can almost imagine Richards response to Harry Smiths call for a family car, but as we know, he succeeded in pulling all the various elements together - and the rest is history.

Whether it was the cars piecemeal beginnings, I don't know, but if ever a car was crying out for two-tone paintwork, the GT was it. Looking through period pictures, from the 1950s, it is clear that many followed this route, and painting the roof of my own car effectively separated the parts with F-Type origin (red) from the added-on GT parts (black). Red is a bright colour which tends to stand out while black tends to make things look smaller and less noticeable, hence the two-tone paintwork has the effect of making the cars pronounced rear bulge much less prominent, and many have expressed amazement that it is the same car at the end of the day.

The eagle-eyed among you will spot this picture as that used for 'Miss July' for the 2016 Club Calendar. Strip has been painted, polished, and screwed in place

I always like to see shiny metal trims to finish off bare edges, and as well as using the stainless doorframes, I added aluminium parts along the top of the door line, over the door for guttering, and in the rear side window seals. But it was our new chairman, Howard Evans, who pointed out a little problem with this arrangement:

'It doesn't quite line up', he said 'The rear windows don't align with those on the door - it's all right at the top, but at the bottom it's a good inch or so out'. Howard was almost apologetic, but it was true - and I can see why. The rear (side) window had to be fitted into an almost vertical panel, while the door panels had to fit in with the lines given by the original F-Type, so no doubt this was one of those compromises mentioned at the start.

Looking around other cars with similar arrangements (E-Types in particular) led me to think - was it possible to raise the doorline to match that towards the rear, while still retaining the red/black divisions as before? Starting from scratch, with a new glassfibre door - yes, it would have been possible, but I didn't fancy going to all that trouble. Instead, I sketched out some aluminium strips to be folded up from 18swg aluminium sheet, and asked my local sheet metal workers to fold two strips up (different each side, if you fancy doing the same on your GT). The answer was yes, but I wasn't quite ready for the bill waiting for me when I came back - £60! Maybe I'm tight - well, no - I know I'm tight, but even so

The item is offered up to the door to see how it lines up. After spending £60, I had to go ahead!

The pieces were made over-long to allow for cutting to length, but something I hadn't accounted for - the fold didn't want to be a full 90degrees, about 80degrees or so would have been better, to match the curve of the door panel. Not a lot, but enough to make the trim stick out awkwardly when balanced along the top of the door. I eventually put on good nature and took it along with me to Simon Isles' coachbuilding works for unfolding a little, which did the trick. The new piece was fastened down with stainless self-tapping screws as the earlier trim had been, and painted with a small artist's brush.

Is it final result worth the trouble? Well, while scarcely earth-shattering, I do think it pulls various lines of the body together and I'll leave it to you as to whether it is an improvement or not. But you can't win 'em all!' While the shiny part lines up with that of the rear window - what happens with the front quarter light? There are TWO stainless items to align with, there, and after much deliberation, I ended up going in between the pair of them. Well, I DID say at the start that the GT was all about compromises


The second print of the book has been available for some time now, and again is available on eBay in the Christmas period. So if you haven't got your copy yet (why not?) this has to be a good opportunity to leave the magazine open and start dropping a few hints.

One of the problems with the first print was with the matt coating of the cover, and this unfortunately had the effect of taking what had been quite a bright and lively image on my computer screen and turning it into what one magazine thought 'uninspiring'. You can't win. The point of the cover was that the car was set against the rather wonderful Rochdale Town Hall

- I don't know of any other quite so inspiring, and even Adolf Hitler was said to have much of its contents destined for the Reich if he ever got the chance, which mercifully of course, he didn't.

But I ended up with Polestar Wheatons running me about eight prints of various shades of cover in order to get the effect I was looking for, and I think you will find the new one much brighter. I did toy with alternative pictures to get around the inherent darkness of the Town Hall background, but ended up sticking with the original for continuity, just using a brighter version of it this time. I have been very pleased with the response to the way I wrote the book, I think far too many car books are over-concerned with the minutiae of machine specifications, chassis numbers and dates etc - they weren't available, so the book had to be written differently anyway! Feedback has confirmed my belief that it is the roles of the people concerned in producing the cars and the stories this brings up that makes for a much more interesting read.

At the time of writing, I am down to eighty-some copies of the latest edition, so get in there if you want one for your shelves. Purchase may be through the e-Bay advertisement, or direct from myself at

Payment here should be £35 (£30+£5 p/p) made out to Kirkdale Press for a cheque or to for payment by PayPal.

The book is also on sale at Kelsalls Bookshop, Littleborough, Touchstones Centre, Rochdale (Link4Life) and also through SAE International, Michigan, all of which are on their second batches.

Happy reading!

Ugly Duckling Part 9

There has been a little progress with the ST but not a lot. My excuse being that I have had to sort out the fuel tank problem on my Olympic and also getting my GT barn find to the Manchester Classic Car Show. Also the sailing on Windermere has been as good as ever.

My Olympic has survived up to now with the original wing tanks but the fuel finally started to leech though the fibreglass. So I first of all stripped the paint off the rear wings to let the fibreglass breath for a couple of months (well that was a good excuse not to do anything for a while). I then took the car to Keiths workshop to have stainless steel tanks fitted the Guru for all Rochdale knowledge and renovation. Since then I have repainted the rear of the car with the paint I had kept on the shelf for just such an emergency. The internal panels and spare wheel drop down box need to be refitted.

The Manchester Classic Car Show was a great event yet again with a lot of interest in our Club stand. As the photos show we had three excellent show cars on display provided by one of our new members Wilbur McKee, Keith Hamer and last but not least Les Brown who did a great job of organising our attendance at the show. Their rather smart cars were undermined by my rather scruffy GT barn find. I was surprised at the amount of interest my GT created including three people that wanted to buy it on the spot (they must have been mad). It was featured in the weekly Classic Car Buyer and will appear in a forthcoming edition of the monthly Classic and Sports Car.

In the meantime as the other photos show the ST has now has its burr walnut dashboard side panels and the interior is now trimmed in dark blue leather. I think it's about time I had some glass made for the windscreen.

Well winter is coming and its getting cold in the garage so maybe I should look for something to do indoors like writing my Rochdale Ramblings Part 3.

Roger Coupe

Roger Coupe

Rogers 'scruffy' barn find GT

Wilburs immaculate Phase 2


One of the delights after the publishing of the Rochdale book has been the amount of information that has been brought forward, often with photographs to match. Interest is all the more intense when these are centred around areas that you knew yourself, years ago, but sometimes the information raises as many questions as it answers.

The story begins with Anna Fitton, a long-time resident of the Rochdale area, contacting Malcom McKay with information about a Rochdale ST apparently built in the town itself and used by RMP for one of their catalogues, which I had happened to illustrate in the book.

Anna wrote:

I bought the book for my husband for Christmas. I noticed on page 108 the ST reg no. DXJ 618. My dad had a friend, Jack Morris who owned that car. I have attached a photograph taken about 1958 or 1959. My brother is on the photo at about 2 or 3 years old and he was born in 1956.

I'm not sure why the car has a hard top in the photo but not in the book. No doubt someone will know the answer to that.

I'm sure you have had lots of photos recently.


Anna Fitton

Malcolm replied:

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write, and to send the photo! We're always thrilled to see more original photos of Rochdales and to hear their stories. I am copying this email to Les Brown, who wrote the book, as I know he too will be very interested to see your photo - I will send it on to him as well.

- -

As far as I know, the photo in the book was taken at Rochdale in about 1957, so I suppose Jack fitted the hardtop later. The change in colour half-way up the windscreen pillar makes it look as if he may have made the hardtop removable - we're not sure if these hardtops were always sold as a complete unit including the windscreen, to be bolted or bonded onto the rest of the bodyshell, or if they could be bought separately to clip over the windscreen... I hope you don't mind me asking some more questions!

Do you know if Jack Morris built the car himself, or if he bought it already built? Do you know how long he owned it?

Is that Grove Street in Rochdale?

Anna replied:

Thrilled to hear from you so soon. Unfortunately I don't know the answer to any of your questions except yes it was the lower end of Grove St in Rochdale, which is where Freehold flats are now. I was born in 1954 so I would have been 4 or 5 when this photo was taken. My dad would have taken the photo as he was a keen amateur photographer. I remember Jack well but that's all and my dad is no longer with us to ask.

At this stage, Malcolm forwarded the messages to me, and I was able to add some local details:

What a delight it is when these old pictures of Rochdale cars turn up. I knew the Grove Street area a little at that time, and had a friend who lived on the corner of King St South and Freehold Street - Dave Dempsey. Like me, he was at the Technical School, and heavily into motor bikes which he probably terrorised the neighbourhood with (early 60s). Also, my uncle was in partnership with a Mr Bielby around King Street East, with son Brian also at the "Tech". It's all a bit different these days...

I did try to include as many local pictures in the book as I could, and the one on p108 looks like another Falinge Park shot (as on p107). However, on closer inspection, they don't seem to be the same gates, so it may not be the case here. The fitting of the hardtop is indeed interesting, and on the ST they would seem to have been intended as a semi-permanent fitting, not really intended to be detached. However, the overlap of this one down the windscreen pillar does suggest it might indeed have been a later fitment, perhaps even removable in this case. As in so many cases, it would be nice to talk to Mr Morris about it! The picture looks like there may be a fair bit of extra detail in it. If you are prepared to send it to me, I will scan it on a professional scanner and get it back by return along with your postage.

Anna wrote

I was very pleased to receive your e-mail this afternoon. I am happy to send you the photograph and I know you will take care of it. It must have taken a lot of research to write the book and I am interested in knowing if you have received many more photographs since it was published. There must be lots tucked away in family photograph boxes. Many from the time may not have been such good quality as this one but as I said in my earlier letter, my father was a very talented amateur and I remember very well him turning our bathroom into a dark room and us not being able to use the loo until he had fixed his prints!

When my husband, who is very interested in cars, first saw this print many years ago, he mentioned that the car was a Rochdale. That was why when I saw the book I thought he would find it interesting and bought it for him at Christmas.

Most of the shots used by RMP for their catalogues tended to be around the entrance to Falinge Park - just a short walk up to the top of Hudson Street, but a very different area, which is probably why it was used so much. The recent (2012) photograph was taken in the teeming rain but is recognisable as the backdrop to so many of the pictures in the book, but does it apply to this one? I suspect it does, though perhaps a few yards up the road in this case. Annas photograph showing owner Jack Morris is clearly the same car, with a number of (later?) additions made, much the most interesting of which is the hardtop.

These really added something to the ST and showed a smooth style which was much more appealing than the albeit more practical hardtops offered for the Riviera. But how was it fitted? We don't have definite information on these issues, but the top would appear to have usually been bonded to the lower body, and not intended to be detached; Jacks however, would seem to have been fitted at a later date, and fitted on the existing ST windscreen. This was presumably be of identical shape to the hardtop version, which would enable a cut-down version of the top to be moulded which could be fitted over the original screen. There do appear to be small screws around the top edge of the windscreen to support this view. Can anyone shed further light on this issue? Does one of these tops (or indeed, its Riviera equivalent) survive anywhere? I did include a 'years later' shed picture of an ST so fitted, on p 101 of the book, but it would be great to have these details. So thanks again, Anna, for another most interesting glimpse of 1950s Rochdale.


Extract from an RMP advertisement


Some thoughts for the Festive Season by Ebenezer Brown

We all love classic cars, of course, or you wouldn't be reading this magazine in the first place. But how many of us use something rather more modern as our primary means of transport? Quite a lot, I suspect. Cars have reached undreamed of levels of reliability, performance, safety and ease of driving in recent years - and it is now possible to pick up really nice cars for a fraction of the price of a typical classic car - yes, even an Olympic.

Nine years ago I paid around £4,000 for a Mazda 'Gleneagles' (MX5 Special Edition - Ed) and have had to spend virtually nothing beyond routine servicing in that time. Owners are keeping their cars for much longer these days, and manufacturers have had to resort to all kinds of gimmicks to encourage them to change. And this really annoys me as some of the new features introduced make the cars less pleasant to drive, uglier, and in some cases downright dangerous - ridiculous in what is now a safety-obsessed industry.

So here, for what it is worth, are ten things that irritate every time I get behind the wheel of a modern car - I'm sure the industry moguls will be quaking in their boots if they ever got to see them! I'm starting with the mild irritations, up to I'd-never-have-one-again!

1.                  BIG CARS - Fifty-odd years ago, the designs of Alec Issigonis showed us the terrific room it was possible to have inside even quite tiny cars. These lessons seem to have been lost, with cramped interiors in bodies that just get bigger all the time. The space in standard parking bays gets tighter all the time - it can't be just my parking surely?

2.                  HIGH WAISTLINES - Time was, the all-round view from a car was a prized feature, and how nice it was to look out from cars from the 60s, 70s etc. Now you are lucky if your head clears the dashboard, and it's even worse in the back seats, where the doorline sweeps up almost to roof level in some cars. Tinted windows don't help - people can't see in, you can't see out. I'm surprised they're legal.

3.                  TINY BACK DOORS - We always run estates, and our Sierra would swallow an 8ft x 4ft sheet with ease. Does any conventional estate do that these days? The 2015 'Estate Car of the Year' (Mini) has doors so small I'm sure you'd struggle with a big suitcase. What's the use of space inside if you can't get in through the door?

4.                  PLASTIC BUMPERS Our Mondeo was an excellent car, but one nudge with the bumper and Kerack! Not an easy thing to repair, either, I think it was sold with a non-matching green bumper on the front, if I remember. All the more irritating after some very robust rubber items on earlier cars

5.                  ELECTRONIC KEYS - Ever had to replace one of these? When my granddaughter hid my set, I was quoted £150, but took a non-remote option at just £70. But it meant that the originals didn't work when they finally did re-appear. But that's cheap! You can easily hit £500 for some cars, and I saw a £1000+ quote for certain Honda Blackbirds

6.                  FLASHER/INDICATOR STALKS - Oh, come on, what can go wrong here? Well, time was, you nudged the indicators, or signalled incorrectly (I remember doing it on my test after six BSM lessons, 1966!) you just cancelled it and that was that. Now, you have to have three (incorrect) flashes before the thing will shut up - why? Where is the safety in that? Also my 1996 Mazda has its headlamp 'dip' set in the middle position. Pull UP for a quick flash, DOWN to go full beam. No possibility of error. But all the recent cars I have driven toggle DIP/MAIN with successive upward pulls of the stalk. So if you only want to flash, it has to be a gentle upward pull on the stalk anything more vigorous and you will be switching to full beam, and warning others to back off - the exact opposite of your intention. Grrr

7.                  TURBO DIESELS - The range-topping Ford I have just sold had quite the worst power delivery of any car I have ever driven. Virtually nothing at all at the very bottom of the rev range, and when it stalled, there was always a crash like hitting a brick wall. Instant cut-out, too, when you tried to let it rev but in-between was truly awesome (and unusable) mid-range torque that needed six speeds to get you anywhere. I won't be having another.

8.                  NO SPARE WHEEL/CAR JACK - Whose idea was that? It's one thing if you are driving a supercar with no-where to store giant size wheels, but the space where the spare wheels should be is now full of foam rubber and a silly little aerosol can. I'd like to see THAT cope with some of the damage I have seen, and if you're on the back roads with no telephone cover

9.                  GIANT 'A' PILLARS - These reach out almost to the front of the car, and nicely block your view of cyclists, pedestrians, and cars coming from the side. For aerodynamics? You're joking. Some of these have more rake than an F-16, and they don't even reach Mach 1!

10.             ELECTRIC HANDBRAKES - 'You'll soon get used to it' said the salesman. Don't believe them - you won't. The sheer clunkiness of the system, slow to come on, slow to release (if they do at all!) can make them a nightmare. Looking at a new Passat, my son communicated these doubts to the salesman, who puffed himself up and breathed through gritted teeth 'THIS'. is a VOKSWAGEN! As if that made a difference. It certainly didn't when it refused to drive the father-of-the-bride to the church without turning everything off, removing the keys and starting again from scratch. Three times. Or applying itself in the middle of the traffic lights and absolutely refusing to release - at all. 'I answer calls for these in my sleep' said the AA man. My wife gave up using the thing altogether on our C-Max. Although it worked OK(ish) for me it just wouldn't release on a hill start for her at all. No one could explain it, but that's what it did! What's wrong with a cable?

After thirty-odd years of driving Fords, I decided that their reliable and well-made cars were being compromised by what I see as styling excesses. Fins and chrome in the fifties didn't bother me at all, but ink-splot rear lights, jet fighter screens and headlights more suitable for signalling low flying helicopters have all got to be too much. I did think of getting a van - my daughter's Transit Connect is much more driveable - but I bit the bullet, forgot all about 'Kinetic Design' and bought a Berlingo. More likely to amuse rather than impress the neighbours, the sheer practicality of this 1998 design continues to please. After cutting down several small trees, trips to the tip saw the car accommodate two wheelie bins and three very large builders sacks of cut-down branches. Fuel is a good 10mpg up on the Ford, in spite of both engines having much in common, I believe. And people come up all the time raving about their own experiences with one.

Style? It's sometimes a vastly over-rated commodity


Olympic Phase II Rear Suspension Upgrade

The Olympic Phase II rear suspension seems to come in for more discussion than any other technical feature of the car, certainly based upon perusal of the ROC Forum.

From my perspective, the concept, whilst being quite advanced for the early 1960s, has certain flaws in its implementation. These include: a high un-sprung mass relative to that of the car, being too stiff in roll owing to the rigid bracing of the axle/trailing arms/body mounts, and having minimal compliance in the bushing (OK for a car designed to run on crossplys), making it extremely unrefined as noise is fed into the heelboard just a foot behind the driver's ears.

I also have a fundamental concern about the lower damper bushes and washers taking the entire suspension load rather than just the damping forces for which I would expect they were designed. My own car has had the benefit of a detailed optimisation of the geometry and brackets, courtesy of Les Brown, but still had the common problem of the springs rubbing on the damper bodies, creating graunching and twanging sounds whenever traversing rough terrain, see the witness mark on the photograph below.

The dampers are Club AVO adjustables (set at 'minimum') and the original springs had an internal diameter about a quarter of an inch greater than that of the damper the root cause of the interference as the spring moves in an arc around the straight damper as the trailing arm articulates.

I now have a solution based upon the occurrence of two chance events. The first was when I was reading some early proofs of Les book and I had time to study the famous photograph of the Phase II kit of parts. It was clear that the springs employed then were of a greater diameter than those on my car. When I inspected the installation, this was confirmed by the fact that spring pans on the body had been designed to accommodate something larger than those that were fitted currently, the diameter of which had been dictated by the shoulder on the collar that forms the lower mount on the damper body.

The second was when a representative of Rossendale Road Springs visited the Classic Car event in Heywood a couple of years back and in discussion I asked whether they could provide 'custom' springs to my specification. The answer was in the affirmative!

The characteristics of these parts are shown at the end of this article, but essentially I asked for springs that had the upper coils at the maximum which could be accommodated by the pans, with the lower to fit the damper body. A pair was subsequently manufactured and I fitted them recently.

Fitting is a doddle as spring compressors aren't required. After removing the nuts on the damper mounts, a jack is placed under the rear of the trailing arm, the arm to axle bolt is removed and the arm then lowered to retrieve the spring and damper.

Fitting the new springs required the damper collars to be inverted as the lower coil internal diameter was now locating directly around the damper body rather than on the shoulder. Otherwise it was simply a reversal of the dismantling process.

The result- a significant running clearance between springs and dampers, and the elimination of the noises noted previously. Success!

The pictures below show the 'old' and 'new' springs and the latter as installed.

For anyone wishing to repeat the exercise, the specification is (apologies for the mix of metric and imperial measurements):-

Free length 12"

Rate 130lb/inch

Nominal wire diameter 1cm

OD at top 9cm

ID at bottom 5 cm

Top and bottom coils are machined to form single plane surfaces mating with the spring pans and collar - parallel to each other and orthogonal to the spring centre line 12 complete coils plus material necessary for the previous point

Transition from min diameter to max to take place over the shortest possible distance ie maximise the max diameter length

The contact at Rossendale Road Springs was John Hoyle -

Howard Evans

RETROFESTIVAL DE CAEN circuit de la Prairie

If you haven't heard about the above Festival, let me give you some details. I recently saw a two page article in Classic Car Buyer by Grant Ford, a contributor to the newspaper magazine who went to this year's event. Motor racing began in Caen way back in 1908 when a course of 22 miles gave way to some exciting racing by the professionals of the day. Nowadays the current event has been running for eight years and from what the article describes, this is an event I want to attend. It runs from Saturday where there is a Concours d'elegance , parades, stands and sales of classic cars to the Sunday which is full of racing (known as demonstration runs). Cars are divided into groups of ten or so and competitors will have up to four sessions on the circuit each of ten minutes during the day.

Held at the end of June, all manner of vehicles take part and besides cars of every vintage there are motor bikes and those with sidecars accompanied by three wheelers. Vehicles must be pre 1985 . For safety reasons a certain amount of scrutineering must take place before going on to the circuit and crash hats, though not compulsory are naturally recommended for open cars.

To enter, there is a signing on fee of 20 euros which ensures a parking place within the Hippodrome and details of your car in the programme plus entry to all the events inside. A car or motorcycle taking to the circuit will be charged just 15 euros and a passenger accompanying a driver an extra 10. Spectators watch for free.

It couldn't be easier for Brits to visit Caen. An ideal solution is to take the Brittany ferry from Portsmouth to Caen or take a cabin for an overnight trip costing £150.

Hotel accommodation is plentiful and prices vary from £25 to well over £100 per night (for two).

Last year I went to a not dissimilar event that was held at Bressuire in the Poiteau- Charente district and known as the GP de Bressuire. As with Caen, professional racing used to take place in that area many years ago and we enjoyed an outstanding weekend there only disappointed that we couldn't get a entry for nephew Chris to race in the E Special as it wasn't original enough for their liking.

I am hoping that the Classic Mini I have rebuilt will be able to have Chris showing his skills at the wheel next year. I have written to find out the dates. Whether you drive a TR, an MGB, a Kitcar, a Jag 120, a Mini, a Lotus 7, a Buckler, an Elan, GT6 or whatever, you could have a very enjoyable weekend in France. For further info visit

Derek Argyle

Olympic Registrar

I am pleased to report that work on my Olympic has now restarted, so, hopefully by the next Magazine I will have further news to report. I was part way through the rewiring process when work stopped and as part of this, while no physical work has been undertaken there has been plenty of planning going on. One item that has recently had quite a bit of thought concerns lighting. I remember from when I was regularly using the car (and this is also relevant to the Turner currently being used) is that at night instrument lighting is so poor that reading the dials is almost impossible.

LEDs seem to be the latest thing being promoted for Classic Cars, as, not only do they give a vast increase in light output but current consumption is a fraction of that of a conventional bulb. This can be most useful if you are still using a dynamo to recharge the battery. I was recently directed to the website of 'Better Car Lighting' who produce a vast range of LEDs that have been specifically produced to be a direct replacement for conventional bulbs as fitted to Classic Cars.

I shall be trying these in my instruments and will let you know the results in due course.

In addition, it is quite noticeable that rear lights on Classic Cars seem quite small and dim compared to modern cars and the following note from their website seems worthy of consideration.

If you have ever hankered after brake lights so bright they keep the nosey-parker 3 feet behind you a bit further away, here is the answer. These bulbs are nearly twice as bright as a filament bulb but only use 7.5 watts instead of 21 watts. They use the latest SMD LED technology to fit an unfeasibly large number of LED light emitting chips into each area. This produces an incredible amount of light. As they respond literally at the speed of light, they give the curious driver behind you a bit more time to reach his brake pedal.

I may well try these in the Rochdale as well as LED instrument lamps!

BKL 240C was supplied in September 1962 to a H Hinson of Sidcup, Kent as an Olympic Phase 1body/chassis unit to take Riley running gear. The fact that it was not supplied as a complete kit possibly goes some way to explaining why it took nearly two and a half years before it was registered for the road in January 1965.

It is unknown how long Mr. Hinson kept the car, but in 1970 it was acquired by Roy HowellsJones of Rhiwbina, South Wales. Roy was a journalist with The Western Mail, "The National Newspaper of Wales ". Roy was also a prolific contributor to the FSCC Newsletter in the 1970s and to the ROC Magazine in the 1980s.

Roy obviously had a long term interest in the Rochdale marque, particularly the Olympic, and had collected adverts of Olympics for sale that appeared in both Exchange & Mart and Motor Sport magazine from 1961. This collection of adverts has proved to be extremely useful in tracing the history of a number of surviving Olympics.

During Roys ownership the original Riley engine was replaced with a 1098cc 'A' Series engine and gearbox. The original registration was also replaced by NTX 199, which it is understood was originally fitted to his BSA motorbike. One other unusual feature of the car was its rear window (see photo).

29 -

The unique rear window of NTX 199

Instrument Binnacle of NTX 199 (Note speedo only reads to 70mph!)

When Roy passed away in 1995 the car disappeared from view. A telephone call, earlier this year from a family friend indicated that the car had remained in the family garage since 1995 and with the passing of Roys wife was then to be sold as part of the Estate.

The car was then bought from the Estate by Frank Scriven, who lives in the Gloucestershire area.

Unfortunately, Franks circumstances then changed, so the car was up for sale again. The car has now been bought by 'Tom', but no further details at the moment, so I hope we do not lose track of the car for another 20 years! I understand the car runs, although some recommissioning will obviously be required after so many years of storage. Perhaps by next Summer another Olympic will be on the road?

A few months ago David Copper bought a phase 1 from Peter Swanborough, who had owned the car for a number of years. The car had been retrieved from a scrap yard some years ago and its history was unknown to the Register. David has at last been able to track down the original registration details, SVL 99, through Lincolnshire Archives and other means. So, yet more information for the Registrars archives.

It would seem that this is one of a number of Olympics sold through George Dixon who traded as both Kirks Motors and The Lincoln Racing Team. David is carrying out more research to see if he can uncover more information on this organization, which will hopefully produce an article for a future issue of the Magazine.

From recent telephone conversations it seems that Richard Hancock is making good progress with the restoration of his phase 2 Olympic AAW 840A. I understand that most of the mechanical work has been completed and the car has been resprayed by Richards brother. One problem still to be sorted out is the engine. Richard has already sourced another block, but still requires pistons, ideally plus 20 thou. Can anyone help at a reasonable price?

It has been in Richards ownership since 2012 and will hopefully be back on the road next summer. Possibly for display on the Club stand at the Bristol Show?

In the last issue I mentioned Gill Rollason, who has owned a phase 1 Olympic, OWC 397 for a number of years. My spies tell me that moves are afoot to get the car restored and back on the road again, which is great news.

Ben Bettells Phase 1,the Inverness car, is now roadworthy and successfully completed a trip to and from the local MoT station. Even better news is that the DVLA have issued an 'Age Related' number, 475 UYH, so the car is now fully road legal, probably for the first time since it left RMPs Littledale Street works in 1962.

Anna and I went to inspect the car and can confirm that Ben has made a superb job of the restoration. Whilst the car had done no road mileage, apart perhaps a few on trade plates, the original owner had made such a poor job of the original assembly that a complete rebuild ensued. So, yet another Olympic that we hope to see out and about next Summer.

'The Inverness car' finally on the road after 53 years!

Here is something to tax the brain over Christmas lunch. Several years ago, probably 15 or could be 20, a Rochdale owning friend was watching the TV, which was an interview with, I think, a musician. Behind the interviewee was a window that overlooked the street and what should drive by but an Olympic! Fortunately said friend had recorded the programme, so freeze framed it and took a picture, hence the poor quality. The headlamps are vertical rather than the normal Olympic Beetle ones, so that should narrow it down. Any ideas?

Pre-Olympic News

David Whitehouse has made great progress with the recreation of the 'Bristol Barb' the Rochdale 'F' type bodied, Cooper chassis, Bristol engined car raced by Alex McMillan in the mid 1950s. Not only did Rochdale Motor Panels fit the 'F' type body to the car during this period, but also carried out much of the mechanical work. There are a considerable number of entries in the early Factory Ledger relating to this and I really need to spend time deciphering these when I have nothing else to do!

David brought the car along to the Specials Day in August and it was on the HSCC stand at the recent NEC Show. The car nicely compliments the similar bodied Elva that David restored a few years ago.

The 'Bristol Barb' photographed at the Specials Day in August

I was recently talking to Geoff Roe, who has been for some years, and still is, heavily involved with pre-war Austin Seven Specials.

Back in about 1958 Geoff decided to build himself a Ford Special and bought a GT body from Rochdale Motor Panels. A new Ford chassis was also purchased and 'boxed' by gas welding plates along the open channel section of the chassis. These plates were supplied roughly pre-cut by Monkspath Garage of Shirley and the work was carried out in the garage at which Geoff worked. He already owned a Buckler and the mechanical components were taken from this to incorporate in the Rochdale GT.

Geoff remembers that quite a bit of work was needed to finish the body, particularly where the two parts of the mould joined behind the side window. It would appear that RMP had not been too careful in joining the two parts of the mould together at this point and this resulted in a noticeable step in the bodywork here which required quite a bit of filler! I understand that the moulds were later remade so that the mould join was down the centreline of the car. Anyone noticed a ridge down the centre of their GT? Geoff also mentioned that one door never seem to fit as well as the other and was prone to fly open when driven over rough ground!

The car was registered 750 AAL and was kept for a couple of years. The subsequent owner reported that the Buckler steering arm broke, fortunately without serious damage to car or driver.

Unfortunately it appears to be one of the many GTs that have not survived.

Geoff Roes Rochdale GT (note the mould lines clearly visible)

Derek Bentley