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Full speed ahead for new 'Rochdale' book launch
- 12 November 2014
Author Les Brown was at Touchstones Rochdale to sign copies of the book which tells for the first time the complete story of Rochdale Motor Panels and the 'Rochdale' car. Pride of place on the day went to the 1963 Rochdale 'Olympic', one of a number of cars that last visited the town as part of the London 2012 Torch Relay celebrations.
A valuable record of an important part of Rochdale's industrial heritage, the 240 page, full-colour hardback has been described as "enthralling" and "a fascinating story, well told" by 'Octane' magazine and "highly enjoyable" by 'Classic and Sports Car' as it comprehensively covers this innovative glass fibre specialist.
For Les Brown, who is the Secretary of the Rochdale Owners Club, and an owner himself of a number of various Rochdale models, this has been a labour of love, many years in the writing. "There is still considerable interest in the cars and their history and Rochdale Motor Panels went from a small car repair business after the war to become a leader in the manufacture of advanced sports cars. It is as much a story about the town and its people as is it about the car."
Family members of the founders of Rochdale Motor Panels Frank Butterworth and Harry Smith were at the launch event along with Ron Batley, the company's first apprentice who joined the company straight from school in 1948. Ron, now in his 80s, drove up to Rochdale from Torquay. He said, "It was a pleasure to meet the family of my first employers when I was only 15 and to sit in one of the famous Olympic models. My story features in the book and I'm proud to be part of the history of this remarkable car."
The Rochdale was an aluminium and later fibre glass sports car made and developed between 1948 and 1973 in a mill on Hudson Street. They are best known for producing the Olympic Coupe between 1959 and 1973. Compared favourably against Blackpool's TVR and even the Porsche, the Rochdale forged a reputation for quality products and breathtaking design. By 1985, all Formula 1 cars were built around composite monocoque shells – the Rochdale led the way having had theirs in 1959. Designer and developer of the Olympic series, Richard Parker, went on to work for Lotus and to become the inventor of the Jet-Ski.
'Rochdale – Sports Car Pioneers' is available to buy from Touchstones Rochdale, priced £30. Copies can be reserved by phone by calling 01706 924928.
For more information about the book visit www.sportscarpioneers.yolasite.com