Project Racer: 1959 Turner 950S

1959-turner-950s-overhead

When Jack Turner founded his sports car manufacturing company in 1950, he had one goal in mind and that was to build race cars. This 1959 Turner 950S is one of only 670 cars built before the company closed its doors. The seller has pieces of its provenance, some of which dates back to when it was new. Someone started restoring it, but never finished it. The current owner has accumulated many parts for it, but has decided to part ways with it. Find it here on eBay.

1959-turner-950s-period-racer

This Turner was raced from day one and the seller even has photos of the original owner racing it at the Scottish Car Sprint at the Stobbs Camp Race Track. Jump ahead ten years, when it exchanged hands, it went through its first restoration. It was stripped and rebuilt with a newer engine with a Judson Supercharger. The owner from that period of time documented all they did to the car, their life during that period of time, and all the events the car attended, which is included with the car. Sometime in the late ’70s it was sold yet again, but this time it was exported to the United States.

1959-turner-950s-overhead-interior

In the mid ’80s it was then setup for vintage racing and raced off and on. The seller even has one of the logbook from 1986, when it ran in several events at Lime Rock. Shortly after this chapter of its life, another restoration was started, but never finished. The car includes boxes of parts, two Austin 950 engines, transmission, two carburetors, exhaust system, and drive shaft. Thankfully the car also retains all the hard to find pieces, including the factory windshield, front bumper, door handles, top frame, wiring harness, and many other components.

1959-turner-950s-rear-corner-overhead

It appears that the fiberglass body is about ready for paint, but will need some work. The underside has some rust and will need new floor pans installed. These cars were very simple and it shouldn’t be too difficult to put it back together. Finding any missing parts on the other hand could be a challenge. Once it’s all put back together it should make for a fun vintage racer and with a little more research might be eligible for some major historic events.

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Comments

  1. Joey K.

    That looks like an awesome project for the beginning wrench or a seasoned racing enthusiast. Cheap to get into – relatively easy to work on. Talk about how times have changed – these days I can’t even look underneath the hood of my new cars without feeling like I need to grab my networking tools and a laptop to find out what the parts are!

  2. rob g

    is it going to be cheap? Whats it worth in the condition with the boxes of parts?

  3. Josh Mortensen Staff

    Hi Rob, bidding is still low, but the seller has set a reserve. These can vary in value from $14,500 for a grade 4 and up to $33,600 for a grade 1 car. This one isn’t anywhere close to a grade 4, but if everything is there it shouldn’t be too hard to get it there.

  4. paul

    You can get into an MGB all day long for cheap $’s, how far off is this from that, even if you got a later B with the ugly bumpers, just rip them off to save weight put on a set of lower springs to lower the ride height back down desmog it, throw on some webbers toss the computors if their are any put the old style ignition system.

  5. Dolphin Member

    This is a good example of the work of the small-time British sportscar manufacturers of the ’50s. The ‘glass body made it possible to do small runs of cars without requiring a big investment in tooling for metal bodies, and the British car industry was turning out inexpensive engines and running gear that could be used off the shelf or lightly modified for more power.

    It looks like this car could be finished without a lot of work and expense, and the presentation in the ebay listing inspires confidence that it would be a good project. The seller sounds like the kind of person you would want to buy a car like his from.

    I just can’t warm up to the tail fins and slightly plain overall design, especially when there are other cars from the same era with much more attractive body designs and great history. But I remember seeing a couple of these cars run in SSCA races many years ago, which makes me think that running a Turner in vintage racing could be a lot of fun for not too much cash.

  6. scottski

    The first time I ever attended the SVRA Vintage Races, I saw my first Turner MKIIs. Head-on.
    I thought, “Dang, a baby Cobra/Ferrari.”
    Until I saw them depart. There must’ve been two designers: one for the front, the other for the rear. Not so pretty in the back, but I still recall what sound those little screamers made.

    Love ’em.
    With a Cortina motor in it.

  7. Hotrodelectric

    A reasonably nice little rig. Looks like a miniature cross between an AC Aceca and a Daimler Dart. This should be reasonably easy to put back together, and there isn’t months of metal work in front of you doing it. The completeness of the pile-o’-parts makes this an even better bet for the first-timer who wants to dip his toes in the water without the fear of a shark sneaking up and taking them off up to about his neck.

    By the way guys, a wiring harness on something like this is a snap- trust me. Nothing I haven’t seen before.

  8. Slim Chance

    A 1959 Turner Mk I Climax sold for $18,700 at the Gooding Auction on Amelia Island on March 8th. Nice car. Good history. It was the works Climax demonstrator. 1098 SOHC Coventry Climax aluminum engine and FIA Historic Vehicle registration papers.

    Somebody stole it as the pre-auction estimate was $35-$45,000.

  9. KEEB

    Too bad its not wearing the distinctive original wheels

  10. Tom S.

    @ scottski – Yeah, styled by committee. Or perhaps the designers thought it would make the car look more modern or more appealing to American buyers. Look past the fins and it has a nice, rounded shape. But you can sure see how it’s derived from cars 5-10 years older. I see Ferrari, Alfa and MGA in this styling mutt. Sorta like when you recognize shapes in the clouds floating by…

  11. Curtis

    Good catch Keeb. Could be wrong but the wheels look like 13″ sprite. The original Turner 15″ steel wheels while not stylish make the cars look much better and are impossible to find. My 1959 Turner 950S (same body) has 15″ wire wheels.

    If you just want a fun easy project and are not building a pebble beach concourse original these cars are a ton of fun IMHO. Fiberglass body, simple round tube frame, all Bugeye and Morris mechanicals, gauges etc. Easy. Lighter than a Spridget with superior rear suspension. I think the “finned” cars like this very attractive, will get lots of attention, you can go to a ton of British car shows and meetings, and never see another one, and in any condition the going rate is in the range of Bugeye +$3000 so not expensive.

    I bought a 59 950 S vintage racer that had been most stripped and abandoned years ago. Just run it on the street with twin Brooklands, put it together with front disc brakes, 1275 engine and a ton of other parts from a wrecked 1973 Midget that all just bolted on, and then just kept upgrading it mechanically. Is now a very quick, if noisy little back road bomber.

    We will see where the bidding goes. Believe it or not the going price for a 950S project like this one is only about $4000.

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