How Bad Do You Want One? 1959 Turner

After 35 years of sitting in an Atlanta back yard–which should be some sort of crime–this Turner is now in search of a foolhardy fanatical enthusiast to try to bring it back to life. Thanks to reader Peter R. for alerting us to this rare find! I hope someone is ambitious enough to make this a project! It’s now located on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and is listed for sale here on eBay, where the opening bid is $2,750 without a reserve and you can buy it now for $3,500 if you can’t wait to get your hands on it.

As it turns out, this car has features that predate the 950S model that the seller thinks it is. Bearing serial number 30/097, based on this very informative website, this car may actually be a Turner A30, but only 9 serial numbers before the start of 950S production. The non-finned body shell is another clue that this is an earlier car. Unfortunately, the rust you see at the bottom of the doors is only the beginning of the corrosion. The club has a record of this actual car here with more pictures showing just how open to the environment it was, with much of the chassis deterioration due to the car sitting on the ground.

To their credit, the seller describes the project as “a major project not suited for an amateur.” You can see a lot of the metal frame is just missing. How do you like those roll bar mounts!

This shot shows how bad things really are. However, before you completely give up on this car, take a look at the picture below. Creating a frame from scratch would not be that difficult.

There should be enough of the original frame left to take measurements from, and if you need help with a certain item I’m sure the club would be happy to oblige. There is a 2017 Turner USA event planned in Ohio at the end of August, so if you buy it now you’ll have it ready–okay, maybe not, but you’ll at least have some questions ready to ask!

So why all the fuss about a little-known British special with an A-series engine? Well, as it turns out (did you see my turn of a phrase there?) Turners have been extremely successful racing cars since their debut. With the lightweight fiberglass body, good looks and propensity for winning races, they are actually in quite some demand. Even poor condition Turners regularly go for more than $10,000. So if you are in the market for something completely different, perhaps this project is for you? Be sure to let us know if you take it on!




  1. Blyndgesser

    How badly do I want it? Um, not this badly.

  2. JACKinNWPA Jack NW PA Member

    What I would do to save that sexy body (while building the correct chassis) is fit it to an MGA frame and GO!

  3. JW

    Not that bad !!!

  4. Dolphin Member

    These little Brits punched above their weight when I attended races at the old Thompson and Lime Rock, CT tracks back in the ’60s. They were almost always at or near the front because they handled well and were very light, with a low-drag ‘Glas body and tuneable engine.

    I always thought they looked a lot classier than the early Sprites—and I owned an early Sprite at the time!

    I was surprised to find no valuation for these in the SCM Guide, maybe because they are so scarce. But since this one is in Hilton Head, home of one of the premier big-$$$ concours in No America, maybe it will find a buyer who can see his way to throwing a few bucks at a proper restoration to bring this little gem back to life. I hope so, anyway.

  5. Curtis

    This is not a 950S. The 950S has fins in back. The frame is made of huge round tubes and likely just fine. All the rust is in the sheet metal pans and such that attach to it. Always thought it interesting that these fiberglass bodied cars have steel or aluminum doors, but they do. Unfortunately the coolest part of the body, the gorgeous sand cast unobtanium grille, appears to be missing on this one.`

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Curtis, if you look at the link to the owner’s club opinion on the car, they are the ones that think it’s an early S model. Also, take a look at the pictures, the tubes are rotted completely through in several areas. Finally, the picture of the car taken by the owner’s club, albeit an older picture, clearly shows the grille with the car at that point. I hope it still is!

  6. Curtis

    Yuck on the tubes. You are right Of course

  7. Bob Hess

    Frames on these cars are simple enough that a good welder could reproduce one. Door rust is common on almost any restoration. Considering most of the body is fiberglass this car is a good candidate for restoration, especially considering the rarity of the car and the simplicity of the design. Things like seats and instruments were all BMC sourced and are readily available.

  8. junkman Member

    This can be a tough time of year to pry $3500 out of peoples pockets for a project that is going to cost more to fix correctly than it will be worth in the end.
    Are those ads on the ad free page????

    • Dave Wright

      These cars have always been expensive……particularly around the race track. In the old days, they were more expensive than a 356. I think a good craftsman would come out fine. I paid 1000.00 for my first Lotus 11 including a trailer and 2 Coventry climax engines. In the worst case……all it would take is a little time.

  9. Clay Byant

    This car is a labor of love. If someone wanted to do a full scale restoration on it there’s a lot of sweat equity in it. If you’ve ever paid for bodywork lately be thankful that it’s fiberglass. Door skins are not crumbled. Wire wheels there along with a lot of other things. Simplicity. Won’t see yourself coming down the road. The grill you could reproduce if it’s not there. Someone did one at one time, how about you now……..? If I wasn’t in my 70s, I’d tackle it for the dollar potential…………

  10. Martin Horrocks

    Very early car, worth someone´s effort and skills. If it was an Etceterini, it´d get done.

  11. Tre Deuce

    This Turner will no doubt be headed back to England. The restorers there are neither foolhardy or suffer from cognitive dissonance, but are very talented craftsmen with a can do, will do attitude. It will get restored and it will look ‘as new’.

  12. Anthony

    Would love to jump at it – but unfortunately, I can’t.
    Good luck and happy restoring…

  13. Bob

    Sharp looking car ! Looks like my 1960 MGA ( shape only :))

  14. Mike C

    Nearly bought a Turner sports in @ 1966 – toss up between that and a ’63 GT Cortina. Went for the 4 door Cortina – a great motor for its time. Price was same for each £275.

  15. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    ….foolhardy ?? , Jamie……… not a fool, just hardy… It’s heading to Alabama

    @Dolphin I didn’t know you were a NewEnglander….At Thompson, did you race, work, or spectate ???

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Congratulations, Dave! Keep us informed 🙂

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