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Homepage. This page: A rare two-seater Rochdale fitted with all the period tuning goodies.

Case No.11
Make: Rochdale
Model: GT
Year: 1960

Sold on: eBay
Category: Classic Cars
Red Rochdale GT on eBay
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Project description.

Thanks to its fibreglass body, this candidate for Crumbling Classics isn't as crumbly as many. Beneath its appealing late-1950s lines lurks a Ford Popular 103E chassis, made of steel obviously, and happily a design that doesn't have a reputation for falling apart due to corrosion. The GT is probably my favourite-looking of all the different Rochdales, and buyers in the late 1950s and 1960s tended to agree, as it was their best-seller, resulting in over 1,300 examples leaving the factory's moulds. How many were completed isn't known, but today they aren't a common sight and I'd be amazed if this one doesn't get snapped up. The last time I saw one, it was sat in a garden not far from where we previously lived.
The car was first registered in April 1960, and a quick check of the RAC site confirms that the car (as a Ford) is still on their system with this number, so the car will look just right when the restoration is completed. Back in the day, the Rochdale GT was rightly considered as one of the better Ford-based specials on the market, and this one has all the desirable tuning parts that builders in the 1960s dreamt of - LMB independent front suspension, Buckler close ratio gears, Aquaplane cylinder head, manifolds, timing chain cover and the tacho drive are all here, as is a twin SU carb setup, currently residing on a BMC (mowog) inlet manifold.
In addition to being on a current registration, the Rochdale also benefits from a wealth of original papers, including - amazingly - the original bill of sale.
The photographs do a good job of describing the car's condition, which is a full-on restoration project, bar a few new items and re-trimmed seats that come with it. The engine is out. The car is apparently complete, although it'd be worth establishing whether the rear screen - not visible in the pictures - is present or not. Someone has made a start on rubbing down the body, and while Rochdales tended to have good quality shells I'd expect some fibreglass repair work to be required here and there. The engine parts are on a bench, establishing if they're all there and their condition isn't going to be straightforward, but at least Ford 10hp (1172cc) engine parts are relatively common, so finding any parts that have disappeared is unlikely to be a major worry. It would have been nice to hear the engine run, as reconditioning the bottom end is a specialist job, but again 103E parts are not too tricky to source.
The interior panels are for the most part ready to use, although those with the questionable modern speakers in might want re-doing. Not a difficult job.
The GT's Ford chassis has been re-painted, and there is evidence of new parts being fitted (for example engine mounts) so hopefully no major attention will be required there.
Clearly the bulk of the work will be in fettling up the body, fortunately it's quite compact and most of what's there can live again, once restored. The wooden dash has a full complement of dials (plus a non-period Blaupunkt radio). If it were mine I'd look at replacing the wood dash panel with something more in-keeping for a late-50s special. The matched speedo and tacho are particularly neat.
There is plenty to do to get this Rochdale GT back on the road, but the end result would be a great sporty little car, one guaranteed to draw attention at whichever events it goes to. The photographs are well worth a look, if only to ogle the tuning accessories that come with this project.
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