|Turner Sports Cars||Articles|
|ALTHOUGH England has been the happy hunting ground of specialised sports cars, few have crossed the Equator to find their way out here.
There are, however, sings that all this is changing. Lotus cars, especially the Super Sevens, have created quite a lot of interest, but their appeal is somewhat limited as a road car. There are also plans to market TVRs locally. But the least heralded, and most immediate, of these newcomers if the Turner.
Alec Mildren, one-time champion Australian racing driver and former Canberra businessman, is importing Turners in kit-form for sales right here in Australia.
Little heard of locally, the Turner is the product of a small English firm which has enjoyed comfortable success both commercially and on the race circuit.
Although available in England with a number of wheel, brake and engine alternatives, the Turners Mildren is importing will be disc braked (at the front), wire wheeled and powered by a warm, five bearing 1498 cc Ford engine.
And for £1350 as a kit, it represents about the best performance bargain in road sports car in Australia.
The kit is in a highly assembled state so that the purchaser is confronted with the relatively simple task of bolting on some of the mechanical components, installing the engine and then attaching the trimmed and painted body to the chassis.
In common with most limited production sports cars, the body is fiberglass. The chassis itself is constructed of heavy tube and is particularly rigid, which contributes a lot to the Turner's well-earned reputation for road-holding.
Front suspension is by coil springs and wishbones of Triumph Herald origin. The rack and pinion steering comes from the same source, thus ensuring that spares will be readily available in most parts of the world.
The live rear axle is suspended on short, thickly laminated torsion bars. There are also location arms to hold the axle in place.
Careful moulding has given the fibreglass body a neat and reasonably ripple-free appearance. The floor of the cockpit is steel, bonded to the fibreglass. Various sections of the body are reinforced with steel which helps to keep it tight. The doors -- unusually large for a sports car -- hang very well and close with a reassuring clunk.
Access to the luggage compartment is through a lockable lid in the stern. It is not a huge boot but reasonable enough for this class of vehicle.
The cockpit is strictly a two-seater. There is no additional space behind the seats, which are placed far enough away from the wheel in their most aft position to satisfy even the longest driver. The seats themselves are very nicely shaped to hold their occupants firmly.
Weather equipment is on par with the Austin Healey Sprite. The hood detaches completely and is stowed in the boot, as are the sliding panel Perspex sidescreens.
There is complete instrumentation and the cockpit is fully carpeted. No glovebox is fitted, but the big pockets in the doors will accept all the things a glovebox normally carries.
At 1344 lb the Turner is lighter than a Sprite, but the secret of its success is in the mechanical components.
The five bearing Ford engine has cylinder head modifications, including higher compression, twin SU carburettors, porting, polishing, etc, which boost the power to 90 bhp gross. The gearbox is the Ford all-synchromesh four-speeder.
It goes without saying that the Turner has a great deal of performance.
Overseas reports indicate that the top speed is over 100 mph and that the acceleration is in the order of zero to 50 mph in 6 secs; 60 mph in 9 secs; 70 mph in 12.5 secs and 80 mph in 17 secs. This is real performance -- performance not available in other cars this side of £2000.
As we said before, the Turner is about the best bargain in performance you can buy in a genuinely tractable road machine.