1957 Rochdale GT Coupé

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1957
  • Chassis number 
    C947951
  • Lot number 
    243
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

1957 Rochdale GT Coupé
Registration no. VWO 742
Chassis no. C947951

Rochdale Motor Panels & Engineering Ltd started in 1948 as panel beaters before turning to the manufacture of aluminium bodies for competition cars and then glassfibre bodyshells for the specials-building industry. By 1954 Rochdale was offering its MkIV glassfibre body, intended for the pre-war Austin Seven chassis. With the latter's availability declining, Rochdale offered the more extensive 'ST' kit for the Ford Ten/Popular chassis. The 'ST' was an open design lacking torsional stiffness, and after a few had been made it was superseded by the beautifully proportioned Rochdale 'GT', which according to its maker was 'not a shell to adapt to your Ford but a complete body designed specifically to fit'. Intended for the Ford 8/10hp chassis, the 'GT' became available from 1960 with Rochdale's own frame. One of the most elegant small sports cars of its day, the 'GT' would go on to be Rochdale's best-selling model, with an estimated 1,350-or-so made, of which it is believed fewer than 80 survive. Rochdale abandoned the kit-car side of its business in the early 1970s.

This rare Rochdale GT was in very poor condition when purchased from its previous owner in 2007. A five-year full restoration to period-correct specification was then embarked upon, requiring considerable expertise and painstaking attention to detail to bring the car back to its former glory. No expense has been spared to prepare the GT for long-distance racing, and we are advised that it is ready to participate in all the great classic endurance races.

Featuring a lightened semi-spaceframe chassis, built in period using Ford Popular side members, the car is powered by a full-race specification 1½-litre Coventry-Climax FWB engine producing 140bhp. Other specification highlights include an integral roll cage; straight-cut close-ratio gearbox; double-wishbone front suspension; Lotus 11 front discs and magnesium callipers; Austin Metropolitan rear axle with limited-slip differential and five-link location; competition brake linings at the rear; 15" wire wheels shod with Dunlop racing tyres; long-range 'Le Mans' fuel tank; Speedwell gauges; Halda Speedpilot; and Heuer Monte Carlo stopwatch.

Immaculately restored, this Rochdale is eligible for Goodwood and other prestigious historic meetings, and in 2013 raced at the Goodwood Revival. Competing in the Fordwater Trophy - its first race - the Rochdale qualified at 79.27mph and started from 19th in a field of 29. Within eight laps it had moved up to 12th place, only to be sidelined by a puncture. Today, this is one of the prettiest cars participating in classic road rallying across Europe, often beating faster and more exotic rivals. Ready for classic circuit racing, this supremely versatile car could just as easily be adapted for rallying or fast-road use, and would be equally perfect for a Sunday drive in the countryside. Fully serviced, MoT'd and cleaned, it comes complete with a comprehensive photographic restoration record and is presented in immaculate condition.