Turner Imp
Jack Turner's 1965 design of an Imp-engined two-seater with a Kamm tail

The Imp Site

Turner Imp

The blog of Bob Blackman, 'Engine Punk', has what he calls the 'Turner Imp' as the subject on Saturday, 9 February 2008. Mr. Blackman found mention of this special Imp in Peter Tuthill's book called 'Turner Sports Cars'.

Jack Turner (designer and businessman, who had moved his business to Merridale Road, Wolverhampton) made sports racing cars with the traditional set-up of front engine/ rear wheel drive. The most famous one being the 'Tatty' Turner.

From 1960 on, Turner cars were available with, amongst others, Coventry Climax engines, like the 1098 cc Coventry Climax FWA or the 1216 cc FWE. Walter Hassan, the Coventry Climax development engineer and Jack Turner were friends.

Alexander Engineering, a tuning firm and Turner dealer, built a one-off Turner GT in 1961. Wing Commander and established Turner race car driver Ken Mackenzie designed the GT body for it with help from Tim Fry and Mike Parkes. It had a successful career in competition.

At the 1962 Racing Car Show, Turner announced a new 2+2 GT. This had a fibreglass body and monococque with bonded steel floorpan bracing (as an experimental Sport Mk 1 had previously). Suspension and layout were as usual, except that trailing arms were used for the rear torsion bars, in conjunction with coil springs and Girling dampers.

Turner Sports car, two-seater with Imp engine    

Turner Imp moulds

April 1966 an end came to the company that had been active since 1949. Just before he closed his business, Jack Turner had been working on an innovative design. An open two-seater with a glassfibre monocoque, its lines alike the GT, but using a rear-mounted Imp engine. This would have been the first glass fibre monocoque open sports car. Moulds were made, but things did not get further than that. These were sold when Turner Cars went into liquidation to the Watsonian sidecar company.

Thoroughbred and Classic Cars wrote (May 1977):

The last Turner model was a two seater, Hillman Imp powered research and development car. Constructed in conjunction with a then already poverty stricken Rootes, this car was almost ready to have its engine fitted when Turners themselves went into liquidation in April 1966.

AutoWeek wrote (March 21, 1983):

Turner had tried to do too much, producing a GT model introduced in 1962, and of which only nine were made between then and 1964. Another fixed-head model with a rear-mounted Hillman Imp engine reached prototype stage in 1965.

Sport & GT Market wrote (March, 1987):

However, even in the company's last days, new Turner models were in the wings. There was, for example, a rear-engined coupé that was to have used the engine from the Hillman Imp.

Sport & GT Market wrote (May/June, 1995):

However, even in its last days, Turner had a new model on the drawing board. This was a rear-engined coupé that was to have used the engine from the Hillman Imp.

By the way 1: Adrian's father, Eric Oliver gained world championship 4 times with a Norton Watsonian Sidecar outfit, first in 1949.
By the way 2: Imp engines were used in sidecar racing and became the power unit in many successful outfits.

By 1965 Watsonian devoted only 20% of production to sidecars, which had been 90% in 1958. This was due to the advent of cheap small cars. Watsonian turned their majority of work to glass fibre bodywork for the automotive industry. Maybe they considered producing an Imp based sports car alongside its sidecars. The moulds were apparantly never used.



    Turner Imp moulds - bad 1980s photos
  Turner Imp moulds - bad 1980s photos
  Turner Imp moulds - bad 1980s photos
  Turner Imp moulds - bad 1980s photos

From: Jonathon Watts
Date: 18 June 2012

like to give you some more info on turner imp car as traced the moulds - pictures attached. These are original photos taken in 1980s. Hopefully get you some more info. I am in process of buying them, so hopefully i can build one or two of this car as memory for Jack Turner. I keep you informed as things move forward




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