September 7, 2022
THE LOST CAR OF LUNESIDE
Earlier this year the remains of a piece of automobile history were uncovered in the corner of a Cumbrian scrap yard. What unfolded then was a story that might have put Lancaster on the map as a car manufacturing town in the years after the second world war.
The story starts with the attempt by British MP and entrepreneur Denis Kendall to develop a post war ‘Peoples Car’ that would be a small family car affordable for everyone. After an initial plan to set up a car factory in Grantham Lincolnshire failed, Kendall sold the idea and all the plans to the Hartnett motor company in Australia. It was at this point that Luneside Engineering Company in Halton nr Lancaster were contracted by the Australian firm to assemble the car in Britain. For reasons that still remain something of a mystery the Luneside contract fell through and while Hartnett went ahead and produced versions of the car themselves in Australia all trace of the car that was to have been produced in Lancaster seemed to have disappeared and faded from memory.
That was until earlier this year when Chris Coates site manager at Halton Mill received a call. “Out of the blue a worker at the Wicks recycling yard in Kendal rang and said they had found a rather strange car chassis in the corner of the scrapyard they had just taken over that they thought had been made in Halton.” The discovery of what turned out to be possibly the last remaining parts of a model Kendall “Peoples Car” has sparked something of a flurry of excitement among motoring history enthusiasts in both the UK and Australia.
Duane De Gruchy from the Aussie Independent Car Community, who had researched the history of the Hartnett company, commented “Wow, that is an amazing find... It's a very important piece of local industrial heritage. There wouldn't be many of these outside of Australia.”
Chassis of the Kendall/Hartnett car found earlier this year The Kendall/Hartnett car chassis will be on display at Halton Mill on Saturday 17th September 10am to 4pm as part of Heritage Open Day.