What is a Rochdale Olympic?

Moretonhampstead Motor Museum has over 140 classic cars and motor bikes and motor paraphernalia from all over.

I went to see Frank Loft who owns the museum, looking for the odd motoring story. Frank pointed to a sky blue little sports car in front of us.

The car was a Rochdale Olympic; no, I have never heard of it either. The Rochdale company was founded in 1948 by Frank Butterworth and Harry Smith in an old mill building in Rochdale to carry out general motoring repairs, but in 1955 the pair made their first production car – the Rochdale ST.

The car before me was a Rochdale Olympic which had been found in a Buxton Derbyshire breakers yard and lovingly restored.

The Rochdale Olympic started production in 1960 and was influenced by the Porsche design and ended in 1973 with only 400 built using a Riley 1500 engine.

A few were exported to the USA and Australia; the Rochdale Olympic appeared at the Geneva Motor Show. You can pick up this piece of motoring history from about £2,500 if you can find one.

Stuart Clarke

Author: Stuart Clarke

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