Rochdale Olympic (1960 – 1962) Review

Rochdale Olympic (1960 – 1962) At A Glance


+Great handling, lightweight sports car favoured by circuit racers and hillclimbers

-Cramped and not exactly pretty

The Rochdale Olympic may have been called after one of the least likely place names in history (it’s a former mill town near Manchester, England), but what it lacked in glamour, it made up for on the road. The small independent sportscar producer did well through the 1960s and survived longer than many of its contemporaries on the back of its interesting and pretty two-seater coupe. Running gear came from a variety of BMC sources, with A-Series, B-Series or Triumph-based engines, although some examples used Ford Cortina or even the aged side-valve Anglia units.

The complex glassfibre monocoque construction body meant that body rigidity was surprisingly good – and the earliest two-door versions even made do without a boot opening. In 1963, the sporting car became a proper hatchback, and its appeal was widened considerably. Later cars were the best, with significantly improved build quality and Triumph Spitfire front suspension. A Rochdale could take any engine that fitted – and the glass-reinforced-plastic body could handle it, too. Handling was neat, although it was twitchy at the rear end and suffered from a bumpy ride. It was fun to drive and a genuinely sporting car.