Merged image of a V8 engine, Sherman Tank,  Clementine the Cat, and my MGA in the Alpes

Other cars


Skoda and Sherman tank

Land Rover chassis swap

How to sink a VW Bus

Rochdale Olympic

Robert's Rochdale Olympic

Background and the bump

A new floor with rear diffuser

Building the subframe

Fitting the roof and front end

Finishing the body

Rochdale on wheels

Prep for painting

Final assembly

First drive

MOT And More

Fuel Tanks


Fire Threatens VORD Garage

Mobile Saw Mill at the Farm

Robert's Rochdale Olympic Repairs

It's not uncommon for people to spend years restoring a wreck of a car into something immaculate. Robert is unconventional in this respect - he started with an immaculate Rochdale Olympic and crunched it.

This is the story of the second rebuild.

Robert is a good friend who shares my barn. I like to think I'm being helpful by documenting his rebuild on the internet.

Rochdale Olympic after the crash

2002: The bump

To be fair Robert had just spent 4 years restoring this Olympic from a wreck. It must have been pretty devastating to break it again. Also he banged his head - a significant factor perhaps in his decision to rebuild the car once more.

2002 in detail: Background and the bump

Rear Diffuser

2003: A rear diffuser

The floor was practically the only part of the car that wasn't damaged.

So it made sense to start off the repairs by completely replacing the floor with a new one which incorporates a rear diffuser.

2003 in detail: A new floor with rear diffuser

Glassfibre Front  subframe

2004: A fiberglass front subframe

Rochdale Olympics originally had a steel tubular front subframe. It was a horrific design and only loosely bonded into the car.

Robert decided there would be none of this nasty steel in this latest incarnation of his car, so spent 2004 making a glassfibre subframe.

2004 in detail: Building the subframe and some panels arrive

New body panels

2005: The roof and front end

Supply of new panels had been a bit of an issue, but they arrived at the end of last year.

I think we might see a reasonably complete Rochdale Olympic appear by the end of this year.

2005 in detail: Fitting the roof and front end

Rochdale in 2006

2006: Completing the bodyshell?

It seemed about there already. If if were me or you we'd throw some paint on, fit an engine and drive around a bit. But it turns out things are much more complicated.

We probably wouldn't consider the need for a bonded in windscreen, and some slackers might not have bothered putting in half a year of work to save a couple of kilograms from the doors.

2006 in detail: Finishing the body

2007 progress

2007: Rochdale on Wheels

In a surprise start to 2007 Robert learned to weld, and quickly went on to fabricate some new upper wishbones and put some wheels on.

Perhaps we'll see a bit of paint in the summer of 2007. Who knows. Check the detail page to see what happens.

See Rochdale on wheels

Rochdale 2008 progress

2008: Preparation for Paint

So far in 2008 we've had a new bonnet, seats and door latches. Exciting stuff already, but we might even see some paint going on this year.

See 2008 - Prep for paint

Final assembly

2009: Final Assembly

Paint mostly went on in freezing conditions at the end of 2008. Now a push to finish the car before a new job takes Robert to Barcelona.

See 2009: Final assembly

The First Drive

2010: The First Drive

Work on the Rochdale is only possible when Robert is on holiday. 80 hours crammed into a week were enough to get the car running and take it out for it's first drive in 8 years.

See 2010: The First Drive

2011:  MOT and More

2011: MOT and More

We're into the development phase now. The Rochdale sailed through it's MOT, the rear suspension was redesigned, it went on a road trip, and it had a ride on a breakdown truck.

See 2011: MOT and More


2012: Fuel Tanks

They have started putting ethanol in petrol and it turns out that corrodes fibreglass fuel tanks. We made some new fuel tanks from aluminium.

See 2012: Fuel Tanks

Crikey! There are people out there just as daft as Robert - see a similar Rochdale restoration at

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