The early motor racing activities of Jack Turner

Jack Turner.

Welsh production engineer and motoring enthusiast Jack Turner was born in Abergavenny on the 1st April, 1916. On leaving school at the age of 16 he served an apprenticeship at the local garage, Abergavenny Motor Company Limited.

By 1939 he had changed his job, moving to the Gloster Aircraft Company as a Toolmaker. Serving throughout the Second World War he worked his way up to the post of Tool Room Supervisor.

In 1946 with the war having come to an end he moved to take up the position of Tool Room Manager at Whatton & Sons Limited, Merridale Street, Wolverhampton.

While working at Whattons, Jack decided that he had acquired sufficient skills and knowledge to follow his fondness for sports cars and motor sport, and had ambitions to set up in business on his own. With this in mind he started scouring the local countryside for suitable premises.

In 1947 he discovered an old blacksmith's shop in Seisdon, South Staffordshire, just to the west of Wolverhampton, with space for both workshop and accommodation.

Although very dilapidated, he decided that it would fit the bill. So, for the price of £60 and a lot of hard work, Jack and Molly set about making their home for the foreseeable future.

Whilst continuing his employment at Whattons in Wolverhampton, Jack developed a workshop complete with basic engineering facilities at the 'Old Smithy', during the evenings and at weekends.

In 1948, keen to participate in the post war resurgence of motor sport, Jack built himself a single-seat hill-climb/sprint special based on an MG L-Type Magnette sourced from a local breaker's yard.

The Turner MG Special was campaigned throughout 1948 -1949 at Shelsley Walsh and Prescott hill-climbs and at Brighton and Weston-super-Mare Speed Trials.

The 'Old Smithy', Seisdon.

The Turner MG Supercharged 1087cc Single-seat Special

In April 1949, just a few days after his 33rd birthday Jack left his job at Whatton & Sons Limited to become fully self-employed, in business on his own account.

Having converted the stable block and smithy into a suitable workshop and fitted it out with the appropriate tools, machinery and equipment, Jack set about advertising his work as a Sports Car Specialist.

During 1949 Jack Turner also undertook the preparation of race cars on behalf of his clients.

An advert from MotorSport magazine, August 1949.

Some of Jack Turner's clients and their cars:

G.W.P. Nixon's ALTA

Turner provided preparation and race support to the ex-Leo Davenport 1.5 ltr. ALTA of owner driver George Nixon, garage owner of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

John Webb's MG K3 single-seat race car

In 1949 the midlands based enthusiastic amateur race driver John Webb, Chairman and Managing Director of Webb Corbett Limited, the well known Stourbridge glassware company acquired the ex-Reg Parnell MG K3 single-seat race car and Jack Turner was assigned to provide race preparation and support.

The book 'MG K3 Dossier' by Mike Hawke identifies the car as being chassis number K3009 produced in 1933 and having a slab-tank 2-seat body.

In 1934 an offset single-seat body was fitted by the second owner.

1935 Sold to R. Parnell.

1937 Central-seat single seat body fitted and original cylinder head replaced by a twin overhead camshaft cylinder head.

1938 Front axle replaced. Lancia ifs. axle fitted. Sold to A. F. Cuddon-Fletcher.

1939 Sold to I. H. Nicholls.

1949 Car acquired by John Webb and race prepared by Jack Turner. There is a possibility that a new single seat body was fitted at that time.

Notable entries and results:

1949 August Prescott Hill Climb.

1949 3rd September Brighton Speed Trials.

1950 24th June V.S.C.C. Seaman Trophy 3rd place.

1950 Sept. B.A.R.C. Goodwood 3rd place.

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Turner Sports Cars
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Part Two