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Rochdale

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Rochdale Motor Panels & Engineering, founded in 1948 by Frank Butterworth and Harry Smith in Rochdale, England, began its journey in the automotive world originally crafting aircraft components. The company swiftly transitioned into the car business, leveraging fiberglass technology—a pioneering move that set them apart early on. Their first notable model, the Rochdale GT, emerged in 1957. It was a fiberglass-bodied kit car based on Austin 7 mechanics, exemplifying innovation and a DIY ethic that appealed to car enthusiasts seeking personalized vehicles.

Over the decades, Rochdale evolved, with their most famous model, the Olympic, introduced in the early 1960s. The Olympic was notable for its monocoque construction, a rarity in the kit car sphere, which significantly enhanced structural integrity and performance. It stood as a testament to Rochdale’s commitment to engineering excellence and forward-thinking design.

Today, while Rochdale no longer manufactures cars, their legacy in the kit car industry remains influential. They are celebrated for their pioneering use of materials and techniques that have since become mainstream in sports car manufacturing. The brand’s historical models continue to be cherished by collectors and motorsport enthusiasts, symbolizing a remarkable chapter in British automotive history.

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