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The Oil Can Cafe
Colin Sidaway, Features Writer
Connaught L2: This was the first Connaught car produced in 1948 using a Lea Francis engine and chassis. The L1 car was never produced but three L2 were built for competition and three production models made by Rodney Clarke and Mike Oliver and raced until 1951 by Kenneth McAlpine. In 1951 it was driven into 6th place at a Goodwood International meeting by Mike Hawthorn. The car was sold and ended up in the car museum in Perth Australia before it was returned to the UK. Currently, the engine has a cracked block and is in the Carding Shed Garage waiting a replacement component
Sunday 15th October saw me driving along the A616 from Huddersfield to the small village of Hepworth to meet up with fellow members of the Mercedes Benz Club from Cheshire. This invasion by the North West Group of the club was to have a conducted tour of the Carding Shed car servicing and restoration workshops followed by and afternoon tea in the Oil Can Café.

The day was bright and sunny and the mill was already busy with the Mazda MX3 club and a host of Harley Davison motorcycle riders. The Mercedes contingent from across the Pennines arrived in good time to go on the workshop tour. The mill is a wonderful experience of going round the workshops where old and almost forgotten cars are put back into perfect order as if they had just been delivered from the factory up to 100 years ago.

The Morgan in the workshops is in rather a poor condition and is waiting on a new chassis after which the car would be turned out in pristine condition. The surprise was that in had a Lancia engine.
The mill was taken over some 30 years ago with a café for up to 30 people a day, now it is more like 130 visitors a day. They also put on events such as vintage clothes show, rock and roll evenings and brass band concerts. The men in the group were interested in the workshops while the wives took to the emporium.

We had a conducted tour of the workshops with cars of all sizes and shapes in various states of restoration. It gave the members a look into what can and does go wrong under the well polished exterior.

The radiator tell me that the car is an Armstrong but it is a hybrid made up from other cars that had been scrapped with the good bits here. It was built for the track and not public roads but it would certainly puzzle the know-alls if it were as it was driven around the Pennine villages
The amount of restoration and associated costs were frightening. It could take years while the right part was located. There was painstakingly restoration undertaken on what looked like total wrecks. Amazing!

Also by Colin Sidaway...
The Blackburn Beverley
Buenos Aires Comes To Yorkshire
Railway In War Time
The Hidden Tunnel Under Harrogate
The Café is attached to the workshops of what used to be a carding and weaving shed. The visit was rounded of with a lovely cream tea in the café, which doubled as a museum with a variety of classic cars and bicycles hung from the roof trusses. Definitely a one off.

The Oil Can Café is open daily 10 am to 4 pm and will be another pit stop for a future visit.

The Oil Can Cafe, 18th October 2017, 16:24 PM