The Rochdale Owners Club was formed in June 1981 by a group of owners keen to establish a club exclusively for the Rochdale marque.
A Brief History Of ROCHDALE MOTOR PANELS & ENGINEERING LTD
Rochdale Motor Panels was founded in 1948 by Frank Butterworth and Harry Smith in an old mill building at Hudson Street in Rochdale, Lancashire, in northern England. Initially busy with general motor repairs, the pair became active in the 750 Motor Club. Special bodies were made to order, initially for Austin Seven chassis and specialist racing cars.
When GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) came on the scene a range of bodyshells was produced to fit any chassis. The first was the Mark VI, followed by the type 'F' and type 'C', then the ST (Sports Tourer).
The GT body, developed by Richard Parker, was introduced in 1957, followed in 1959 by the Riviera. Both these and the ST were specially designed to fit the Ford Popular chassis.
Richard Parker returned to Rochdale to develop the revolutionary glassfibre monocoque Olympic. The Phase I commenced production in 1960. In 1961 a disastrous fire gutted the Hudson Street premises and the company moved a short distance to Littledale Mill. From here development of the Olympic continued and the Phase II was introduced in 1963. The Olympic was in full production up to 1966, by which time the company was finding the heating and ventilation business more profitable. The last Olympic body was made in 1973. The Olympic moulds still exist, owned by a group of enthusiasts, so the flame is not completely extinguished.
Owners Workshop Manual
For many years now the Rochdale Owners Club have been aware that there is no such thing as a workshop manual for any of the RMP models, this is due to the fact that most of their products were delivered to the customer as a simple body shell or as a kit of parts for them to assemble themselves. The Rochdale Olympic which was launched in 1960 is probably the best known of their products and the one which has the most standard specification, the phase 1 being based mainly on BMC components, and the phase 2 being based on Ford and Triumph components, although there are anomalies here too.
In an effort to help owners maintain their cars, or help with the restoration of the Olympic we have started to pull together information which will hopefully help in this endeavour in the form of an online workshop manual.
The pages in the links adjasent are a basic description of the components most commonly used, their source and a manual to help maintain/replace said components. Whilst this is an effort by the owners club to help owners maintain their cars it is recommended that anyone using this resource should ensure that they are happy to follow the instructions within as the owners club cannot accept any responsibility for issues arising from its use.
If you have a Rochdale car and are a member of the club, please send a small photograph and a brief description of the car to the webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org who will add it to the owners cars section of the site. We are interested in allcars, even if they are currently being restored or languishing in the back garden!
If you own a Rochdale car and are not a member of the club, please consider joining. An application form is available here and the benefits the club offers are detailed here. Even if you do not want to join the club we would be grateful if you would send details of the car to the Club Secretary.
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