Turner Sports Cars   Articles

Road & Track magazine
April, 1961, pages 41 - 43

Courtesy of Juddy Doi

[The article was re-created by re-typing to make down loading time quicker.]

  MOST SPORTS CARS are apparently designed with the primary thought of providing transportation for their owner in day-to-day use on the road and, secondly (by adding suitable options, or by removing such requirements as a windshield and mufflers), to insure that they could be moderately successful in competition.

The Turner 950 Sports, a limited production special built by Turner Sports Cars at Wolverhampton, England, is a result of the opposite line of thinking.  It was designed primarily for the sport who wants to go sports car racing and, if he desires, can then drive his class-H production car on the street.

The design is a straightforward combination of large-diameter tubing welded into a ladder-type frame, utilizing the Austin A-35 (BMC A unit) engine, transmission, front suspension and steering, driveshaft and back axle.  All but the back axle are used almost stock as seen on the A-35 and the back axle is different only in its attachment and springing.  The axle assembly is positioned by a lower trailing link on each side.  Each link is connected to a laminated, transverse torsion bar, and above each lower link is a radius rod, the combination controlling all fore and aft and vertical movement.  Lateral movement is limited by a Panhard rod.  There is nothing unusual about the car's suspension or chassis, but each does its job well.

All this is surrounded by a fiberglass, two-seat roadster body.  The general appearance is of a simple, functional configuration, neither very new nor very exciting, and not too well finished.  But then, the car was designed primarily for competition where finish isn't of utmost importance.

However, while the Turner probably won't win a concours, neither is it a design that needs apology.  The body is reasonably attractive and certainly functional.  Good accessibility to engine, batter, spare tire and luggage space are provided by generous-sized openings which are locked by a special key.  A compartment in each door carries most items usually required while on tour: maps, cigarettes, flashlight, gloves, etc.

The top is not designed to fold down but, as the cloth is not attached to the bows, all of it is easily removed and stored in the rear compartment, a function which requires dismantling the top; the whole operation takes a matter of some two minutes.  Erecting the top probably takes five minutes.

As could be expected, the general feel and handling are very similar to the Sprite.  If anything, the Turner is stiffer, due in part to its lighter weight of 1290 lb (curb weight) as compared with the Sprite's 1460.

Performance is not quite up to the Sprite's (at least in acceleration) until the end of the quarter mile reached.  At this point the two cars should arrive at the same time, with the Turner then forging on ahead.  The Sprite's 5 bhp advantage apparently makes up for its weight handicap.  Our test car seemed to be running well, although we did have a little choke trouble now and then.

Several degrees of performance can be obtained through a list of optional accessories as long as your arm.  The most important of these is the Alexander cross-flow cylinder head for the BMC engine, disc brakes (front) and center lock wire wheels of 13 or 15-in. rim diameter.  For those who really want to go, the 1097-cc Coventry Climax sohc engine is available from the factory.

Our test car had 13-in wire wheels, heater and oil cooler.  No fan was installed, but the engine temperature stayed within the normal operating range at all times and approached the danger point only during a bout with the Los Angeles freeway interchange.

Although the ride is too stiff to be really comfortable, the car's main forte is its good roadholding, the result of quick, positive steering and good suspension, all of which encourages fast motoring.  We would like to have seen the car designed with a more exotic body configuration, to make it look less like the Sprite, and a little better finished, but then we can't have everything. 

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