Browse Publications Technical Papers 2015-01-0416
2015-04-14

Rochdale: Sportscar Pioneers - The Cars of Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering, 1950 to 1973 2015-01-0416

This paper summarises the history of Rochdale Motor Panels and Engineering Ltd. (RMP), established in England after the Second World War, from its origins as a small car-repair business though to the manufacture of sports coupés utilising an innovative glass-fibre monocoque construction.The political climate which caused RMP and similar undertakings to develop and flourish in the 1950s and 60s is explained together with details of the three men who had the defining influence on the cars that were created.Products, including aluminium-bodied cars, produced primarily for racing, are described, leading into the introduction of glass-fibre construction which enabled a profitable transition into higher volume body and chassis manufacture, and ultimately completely assembled cars.Particular attention is paid to the ‘GT’ and ‘Olympic’ models, the former being the highest volume variant produced, and the latter a revolutionary sports car which received critical acclaim when compared with products from contemporary high-volume and specialist OEMs.The circumstances leading to the eventual decline of car manufacture and the legacy of the marque on the town of Rochdale, bring the story to a close.

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