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Special fuel filler position Turner 950 Sports


The standard position for the fuel filler for the Turner 950 Sports Mk1 is inside the boot (trunk). The standard Austin A35 fuel tank has been slightly modified, changing the angle of filler pipe in the direction of the centre of the car to have better access to the filler cap with the boot lid open. The risk of spilling some petrol inside the boot  is of course present. But another disadvantage was more important for Turners used in racing especially when entering a long distance event (like a Six-hour race): it takes too much time to open the boot lid!

brands-hatch-october-16-1960-position-petrol-filler 208JJH at Brands Hatch in October 1960

My Alexander-Turner 950 Mk1 (60-307) therefore had the filler opening repositioned to the outside of the car, just to the right of the boot lid. This has (apparently) been done in the Alexander work shop as this car had the modification from the beginning (March 1960). The above photo taken at Brands Hatch (October 16, 1960) clearly shows that the petrol filler has been moved.

turner-rear-filler-opening                                                                                                Rear body of 60-307 with original position of external fuel filler still visible

During the restoration of 208JJH I noticed that there used to be a hole in this area that had been closed again with GRP and I thought this could have been a later modification that had been dropped again. On basis of the above photo it is clear that this was the original hole and I recently decided that the car should receive the (original) fuel filler position again.


The standard pipe connection and hose have a 2¼“ (57 mm) diameter.  For the modification we require either a very flexible 2¼“ fuel hose or some pieces of metal pipe of the same diameter bended 45⁰, and some pieces of 2¼“ rubber hose to connect these pipes. Because the standard filler pipe has 30⁰ angle in the opposite direction of where the new filler opening will be positioned, some sharp bends will have to be made in order to have the filler pipe and filler cap positioned in an angle perpendicular to the sloping body at the right side of the boot lid.

filler-pipe-routing-2016-09-22 New filler pipe construction

The photo shows the construction of the filler pipe as described, using the original 2¼“ filler cap construction. Found a grommet with an inner diameter of 2¼“ (57mm) suitable for a panel hole of  2¾”or  70mm (grommet for a  VW T25 bus used from May 1979 till July 1983). It fitted beautifully in the 70mm hole drilled in the GRP panel.

filler-cap-on-outside-2016-09-22 Final result; compare with original photo.

The end result is very pleasing and fully in line with the original photo from 1960.

Lucas “Sports” Coils

Lucas “Sports Coils”


Many Turners had a so-called Sports Coil installed as had many other British sports cars of the 50’s and 60’s as an aftermarket accessory, in an attempt to (further) improve the car’s performance. As far as I know, none of these cars ever had a Lucas Sports Coil as a factory standard item. Further investigating the subject of “Lucas sports coils” learned that there are in fact 4 different generations of these sports coils, whereby the so-called “Red Top” version is apparently the most attractive version.

Why a “Sports Coil”?

An ignition coil is in fact a transformer with about a 100 to 1 ratio between secondary windings (consisting of 6,000 to 20,000 turns) and primary windings (normally about 300 turns). The output voltage will therefore be e.g. 100 times greater than the input voltage.

When the contact points are closed the primary winding of the coil is connected to the battery and draws an electrical current of about 4 amps. The coil core is in fact an electromagnet with a magnetic field induced by the current flowing in the primary winding. When the points open to break the contact, the primary current must stop flowing and the magnetic field in the transformer will collapse. The collapsing magnetic field forces the current to continue flowing in the same direction and that current will charge the capacitor in the distributor. This raises the capacitor voltage momentarily to about 300 Volts, at which time this high voltage stops the current. The current then reverses direction, being driven backward by the high voltage at the capacitor. The initial 300 V spike in the primary winding will induce an output in the secondary winding of e.g. 30 kV (depending on the aforementioned winding ratio).

What type of ignition coil is required for a particular engine depends on the specific requirements of that engine: aspects like C.R. (compression ratio), the chosen sparkplug gaps, etc. have an impact on the required ignition voltage for the plugs to produce an optimum spark. In addition we should keep in mind that ignition coils are strongly affected by the contact breaker, particularly at high speeds, meaning that the contact breaker should be of the right quality if the coil has to deliver top performance. On a six cylinder engine running at e.g. 4000 revolutions per minute the contact breaker has to make and break some 12000 times per minute. At each make and break a starting current (commencing at 4 Amps or so and falling away to about 1.5 Amp as speed increases) has to pass across the points without appreciable voltage drop, if the coil is to build up a maximum spark voltage during the very brief time the contacts are closed.

Standard Lucas coils normally deliver an ignition voltage of 20 to 30 kV. A “High Performance” coil and more in particular a “Sports Coil” provides an increased voltage of about 40kV or higher, because of the different relation between the number of windings of the primary and secondary windings.

Two different manufacturing methods over the years

Regarding the manufacturing method of the coil housing or “can” we see a clear split-up in the earlier “assembled” housings made of (zinc plated) steel with soldered seams and bottom versus the later aluminium cans made via a process called “cold impact extrusion”, a method also used for the manufacturing of large capacitors. Lucas introduced this process around 1950 also for the SA type of Sports Coil. Notice the “expansion” groove at the lower part of the aluminium cans, which is made to prevent the can to burst in case of an excessive overheating of the coil. Later aluminium cans no longer have the expansion groove, because other thermal protections have been built-in.

1. Lucas HS type Sports Coil from 1940s

This first generation Sports Coils coded HS was developed by Lucas in the 1940s in a 6 Volt and 12 Volt version. It started most likely as a black coated version. It may have been not available for a number of years until 1950 when it became available in a grey painted housing. We refer for this to the Lucas advertisement of April 1950 introducing the new grey coloured Sports Coil in which Lucas states: “Motorists will welcome back the Lucas Sports Coil”. A survey:

1.1 The black HS6 and HS12 coil had a brass Lucas type plate, which was fixed to the clamp with 2 screws. All HS coils are marked SW (ignition SWitch) and CB (Contact Breaker points) for the 12 Volt circuit connection.

Part numbers are unclear, but might well be identical to the successor HS coil. See 1.2.

image image image

Early Lucas HS Sports Coil with brass type plate

1.2 Early 1950 saw the introduction of the grey (brown)painted HS coil, initially with a black metal plate fixed with 2 slotted CSK screws. The housing was painted in grey-brown; this might well be Lucas “poly-chromatic” grey, a colour they used for many products like the HF1748 horns.

This coil was available in both 6V and 12V.

  • Lucas HS6 Type L-0           Part # 406997
  • Lucas HS12 Type L-0         Part #  406996
image image Advertisement April 1950

1.3 Later (but still in the early 50s) this coil had the label glued to the coil clamp. The label was mainly aluminium coloured with a black band at the bottom. Code numbers remained unchanged.

image image

Lucas 6 Volt Sports Coil. Model HS6, Type L-O, coil, Lucas part number 406997 with printed label.

2. The SA series Sports Coil from early 50s

In the early 1950s a second generation with a larger diameter aluminium can and different Bakelite top was introduced which was commercially named SA. This coil was still manufactured until the end of the 1970s.

Lucas SA Sports Coils can be easily recognised by their particular colour of the top part (red-brawn: these coils are also called “Red-tops”) and the special moulded Nut 422792 for the screwed connection of the HT cable to the central contact of the distributor cap; this nut differs from the one used on all other Lucas coils with a similar connection type. The diameter of Sports Coils is with 61 mm about 3 mm larger than a standard (LA or HA) coil. The clamp (or “saddle” as Lucas calls it) is also special and has part number 423947.

image Advertisement November 1957

Two versions have been made:

  • Type number SA12 with part number 45058A to M for the 12 Volt version.
  • Type number SA6 with part number 45065A for the 6 Volt version.

2.1 SA12 Sports Coils

Three different 12V connections have been applied by Lucas:

2.1.1 The early 12 Volt versions (coded 45058A to E) have screw posts and two nuts (2BA) for the 12 Volt wires coded 166043. These coils are marked SW (ignition SWitch) and CB (Contact Breaker points).

image image image

2.1.2 Later 12V Coil versions starting from suffix F (about 1960) were supplied with one “LUCAR” single connector (54190096) and one double connector (54190108) that could be installed on the two (2BA) studs using the existing nuts (still leaving the possibility to use this coil on older cars with eyelets). This was done because many manufacturers had meanwhile switched over to the LUCAR kind of connector for their car production.

2.1.3 Final 12V versions with suffix K to M (commencing 1968 running till 1978) had double LUCAR connectors riveted on the top, which no longer allowed the use of eyelet connectors. At the same time the marks SW and CB were replaced by + and – also because most cars had meanwhile switched from positive ground to negative ground.

image image image

2.2 Lucas SA6 Sports Coils

Below some examples of the 6V version, in this case a later version with double (riveted) Lucar connectors.

image image

Side Note:  Lucas High Energy Coils

An additional version has to be mentioned here which was not called a Sports Coil, but offered identical advantages. The High Energy Coil was offered as a period accessory in the 1960s. This coil has a die casted Aluminium housing (heat sink) and a unique bracket with the Lucas logo in blue. Note the top that is identical to the SA Sports Coil with a screw-in type high tension connector and screw posts for the primary terminals.


3. PA series “High Power” Sports Coils from late 50s

Introduced in late 50’s or early 60’s, this type of sports coil used the standard housing of the HA type High Performance Coils and not the (larger) housing of the SA type of sports coils. In addition it no longer carried the HT lead connection by means of a “moulded nut and split washer” but changed over to a “screw-in” connection for the HT cable to the distributor cap. The PA series were part of the Lucas range, not replacing but in addition to the SA series over the period 1960 – 1980.

Lucas issued a leaflet “Instructions for fitting sports ignition coils models PA6 (6 volt) and PA12 (12 volt) export only, SA6 (6 volt) and SA12 (12 volt) home market” which might indicate the relation between the two product ranges. The reason for this might be that the non-UK (read “non-Lucas”) car industry used HT cables connected by means of a system whereby the (core of the) cable was screwed into a thin threaded stud. Due to the dominant position of Lucas in the UK it could continue the SA series with the “moulded nut and split washer” connection.

  • Sports Coil fluid cooled 12V PA12  45118
  • Sports Coil fluid cooled 6V PA6      45119
image SA6 Sports Coil Lucas 45119

4. The SP type Super Energy Sports Coil from late 70s

A fourth generation Sports coil (also known as the Gold Sports coil) was introduced around 1978 with the type code SP. The commercial code was:

  • DLB 105 for the standard Super Energy Sports Coil
  • DLB 110 for the “ballasted” version of the same coil (50% lower resistance of the primary windings)

There are (at least) three different versions of this coil.

4.1 The SP12 Super Energy Sports Coil with Silver label (late 70s to late 80s)

Early coils had a white top with double LUCAR connections riveted to the top. The SP12 coil had Lucas part number 45288A (at least initially) and had a silver label with “12V Super Energy Sports Coil” printed. Note that these early SP12 versions had an “expansion” rim at the lower end of the housing, in line with the housing of the SA series.

image Earlier SP12 45288A 1980

4.2 The SP12 Super Energy Sports Coil with Black label (late 1980s)

A later version of the 1980s (now also named DLB105-B) with part number 45341A had a white top, but now with a black label positioned on the clamp and no longer on the housing above the clamp. The abbreviation B.Y.S. (manufacturer code?) was added in the numbers stamped on the bottom of the coil. These coils went back to the screwed Lucas low volt terminals which allowed to use this coil also for the classic eyelet connections. These coils have most likely been manufactured from late 1980s till about 1996 when Lucas was sold to a US company.

image imageimage

B.Y.S SP12 45341A from 1987

4.3 The SP12 Super Energy Sports Coil with Green label (since September 2004)

Following the return of “Lucas Electrical” in the UK market the DLB105 / SP12 “Gold” sports coil was continued, however with  a green Lucas label on the coil clamp.


Probably the most recent version is made with a black top and with removable “Lucar” connectors, opening the possibility to have eyelet connections as well. Also note that the clamp has now “open” mounting holes.



Checking a Sports Coil

Start by checking the resistance of the primary winding. Whereas about 3.2 ohms is standard for an un-ballasted ignition system, about 1.5 Ω is standard for the ballasted ignition system, but the primary coil resistance of a Sports Coil should be 2.5 to 2.7 Ω which is somewhat lower than that of standard coils. The secondary coil windings have a much higher resistance.

Coil type

Primary resistance Ω

Secondary resistanceΩ

Standard Coil Q-12



Standard Coil LA-12



Sports Coil SA-12



Sports Coil SP-12



Wire wheels: worn hub and wheel splines

Wire wheels on Turners

Many Turners received wire wheels either as a standard factory option or as a later “aftermarket” change. This was (always?) combined with a Girling Type 10 disc brake conversion at the front and required the use of special splined hubs on both axles. See page 19 of the Turner Parts Catalogue below. Turners used both 13 and 15” wire wheels.


clip_image014 Special splined hubs for Girling Type 10

Wire wheel fixation

Detachable wire wheels have a different way of fixation compared to normal disc wheels, as they are mechanically “connected” to the axle hubs in two ways:

1. In a rotational direction by means of driving splines (serrations) on the (stub) axle hubs and driven splines on the inner wheel centre.

2. In an axial way by means of a (threaded) locking nut preventing the wheel to become disconnected from the threaded axle hub.

This article will not tackle the subject of which wire wheel types have been applied over the years; see the appropriate literature for that. We do want, however, to emphasise the potential danger of wire wheel fixation systems after many years of use (and abuse) to the point where they become even highly dangerous! In addition, some guidance is provided in checking whether a wire wheel can still be safely fixed to the car.


A – Locking thread on hub (left or right hand thread).

B – Driving splines on hub.

E – Driven splines of wheel centre.

Rudge-Whitworth fixation

The system of detachable and interchangeable wire wheels has been initially designed by John Pugh around 1910 but is better known under the (company) name of Rudge-Whitworth.

The resulting standardisation of detachable wire wheel fixations in Europe dates back to the 1920’s. The basis for this standard was the load to be carried per wheel and the required bearing diameter for that, resulting in a certain cross section for the hub. Note that the wheel type designation in the standard are basically structured around the (metrical!) dimensions of (then available) wheel bearings.

clip_image002[6]  Advertisement 1912

Wear on splines and thread

Over the years the thread of the locking nut and the hub itself may wear but (even more important) the splines on the hub and in the wire wheel centre may wear to the extent that the construction eventually becomes unsafe. Therefore it is wise to regularly check them and more in particular during any XK restoration as the condition and history of axle hubs and wheels are unknown.

Four dimensions are of importance here and have to be checked:

1. The maximum allowed inner diameter of the thread of the lock nut

2. The minimum allowed outer diameter of the thread on the wheel hub

3. The minimum allowed outer diameter of the splined hub

4. The maximum allowed inner diameter of the inner wheel centre splines

Please note that wear of splines and thread is accelerated if the wheel is not fitted tightly!


Cross-section of Rudge-Whitworth hubs

The principle wheel type designation according the Rudge-Whitworth standard refers to the maximum size of an outer wheel bearing (in millimetre) which can be used with that hub. The actual hub diameter is measured across the outside of the splines on the axle hubs (not the wheel splines).

Wheel Type

Actual hub diameter

Number of splines

Spline length Long Hub





































Two wire wheel types are normally used on British sports cars: type 42 and 52. Turner opted for the smaller  Type 42 wire wheels also due to the rather limited weight of their sports cars. The (course) thread of wire wheels has a top angle of 60° and a pitch of 8 TPI (or 3.2 mm) although some earlier versions may have used 12 TPI (or 2.1 mm).

clip_image002 Alexander-Turner with 15″ wire wheels

Dimensional requirements for Type 42 wire wheels: worn or still OK?

Further to the aforementioned important testing criteria, the survey below gives specific information regarding when a splined hub, wire wheel or locking nut should be replaced.

  1. The locking nut should be checked for wear on the (internal) thread. If a cylinder with an outside diameter of 2.211” or 56.2 mm should fit in the locking nut, wear has progressed to the extent that the locking nut has to be replaced.
  2. If a tube with an internal diameter of 2.291” or 58.2 mm fits over the thread of the axle hub, wear has progressed to the extent the complete hub has to be replaced.
  3. If a tube with an internal diameter of 2.424” or 61.6 mm fits over the splines of the axle hub, the complete hub has to be replaced.
  4. If a cylinder with an outer diameter of 2.374” or 60.3 mm fits in the internally splined wheel centre, the complete wire wheel has to be replaced.

Note that the above dimensional requirements are no more than minimum requirements! As an example: wire wheel constructions fulfilling the above requirements have a remaining overlapping contact height of the splines of no more than (61.6 – 60.3 =) 1.3 mm. Although the contact surface is of course larger due to the 60° V angle of the spline and the length of the spline (here 37 mm), in comparison a new type 42 spline has a contact height of 62.3 – 59.6 = 2.7 mm, meaning that the (safety?) margin has been more than halved.

So don’t use any hubs or wheels with spline dimensions below the above given minimum requirements!

Lucas Electrical Equipment Specification

Lucas Electrical Equipment Specification Turner Sports

The following tables give an overview of Lucas parts used on Turner cars from (roughly) 1959 up to 1965. A comparison was made thereby between the lists provided by Lucas and those from Turner. There are a number of inconsistencies or even contradictions between the two sources, which are also indicated in the tables. Nevertheless I hope that the information below will help Turner enthusiasts to find the correct (Lucas) part for their particular Turner.

Lucas Electrical Equipment Specification Turner 950 Sports

image Part 1

image Part 2

Lucas Electrical Equipment Specification Turner 950 Sports: versions with toggle switches on dashboard

Alternative version as used e.g. on 60 292 (500NKX); see also Turner 1500.

All other parts as per Turner 950 Sports


Lucas Electrical Equipment Specification Turner 1100 (Climax FWA)

All other parts as per Turner 950 Sports


Lucas Electrical Equipment Specification Turner 1500 (1963?)

image Part 1

imagePart 2

Lucas Electrical Equipment Specification Turner 1500 for 1964

image Part 1

imagePart 2

Smiths Equipment for Turner

Turner used Smiths instruments for their cars, apart from the Ammeter which was a Lucas item. It is quite remarkable that Turner as a small company was able to convince Smiths to manufacture special versions of their speedometer and tachometer for Turner. These two instruments are coded SN 4103/xx (120 mph max) and the mechanical RN2309/xx (8000 rpm max) and very rare.

Turner dashboard

The information below is taken from a Smiths “Equipment Schedule” for Turner Sports Cars dated June 1962. It comprises all Smiths parts for the various Turner cars from approx. 1959 onwards. Some items are not exactly clear like e.g. there is only one ratio used for the Speedometers, whereas cars had 13” wheels or 15” wheels.


Stub axle repair Turner 950

After more than 60 years of (intensive) use the stub axles of Turner 950’s may have suffered to the extend that e.g. bearings have too much play on the axle and replacement is required. Especially those having the special Girling Type 10 disc brakes mounted, may be a candidate for stub axle replacement.


New complete stub axle/kingpin forgings (BMC part number BTA 744 and 745) are difficult (impossible) to find and used replacements may have suffered even more than the old ones you are about to replace.

Installing a new stub axle may be the solution but requires certain skills and equipment but can be done. The attached drawing could offer some guidance for this replacement: any well equipped shop could make this axle. The old axle has to be machined from the upright and the diameter and length of the machined hole and new stub axle should be matched to secure a good press-fit.

New bearings SKF 7205 (Ø 25,0 x 52,0 x 15 mm) and SKF 7303 (Ø 17,0 x 47,0 x 14 mm) should be installed and the bearing spacer (88G321) between the 2 bearings checked for correct dimensions as the correct bearing play is determined by the length of this part in combination with the castle nut adjustment. Use new washers (2A 4003) and castle nuts (51K 328).



First season Alexander-Turner 208 JJH

First season Ken MacKenzies Alexander-Turner

The typical atmosphere of club racing in the 50’s and 60’s is regarded as pure nostalgia by many of us nowadays. The following article describes the scene, following  Wing Commander Ken Mackenzie through the 1960 season, participating with an Alexander-Turner 950 in the Autosport Series Production Sports Car Championship Class A.

MacKenzie May 7 1960 Mallory

It was the very early morning of Easter Monday 18 April 1960 when the transporter, so kindly provided by Alexander Engineering of Haddenham, left Northwood on its way for the 100 mile journey to Mallory Park. Quite an improvement over the “hotted-up“ Volkswagen Beetle, the driver’s daily transportation, that until then had to do the job. This was the day: the beginning of another season in the Autosport Series Production Sports Car Championship for Ken Mackenzie.

Wing Commander K.W. Mackenzie had quite a background in racing by now. Whilst in the RAF Reserve in 1939 he started building, modifying and rallying various cars. After the war he started racing in 1956 with various cars, including RWG and an Elva Climax. In 1958 he was fairly successful in a (works supported) MGA gaining first place in the 1600 cc Class in the Autosport Championship and doing even better with the (Alexander suported) Austin Healey Sprite (Registration Number 6 TMT) during the 1959 season (gaining 20 places during the season), teaming up with (Squadron Leader) Paddy Gaston and Chris Tooley and winning the Championship.

It was only a few weeks before that Mackenzie had taken delivery of the brand-new Turner 950 Sports, built and assembled by Turner of Wolverhampton on their premises at Pendeford Airport. Confronted with the convincing results of Turners in the 1959 season (Bob Gerard becoming overall winner, Austin Nurse and B. Gilbert gaining several successes) Ken Mackenzie decided to change over in 1960 to the successful creation from Turner Sports Cars. But Ken Mackenzie wanted more – he wanted a winner.

Late 1959 Turner announced the arrival of its redesigned 950 Sports model with a new full-width grille, curved windscreen and smoothened rear. At the same time, Michael Christie, MD of Alexander Engineering informed the press that they would become the new distributor of Turner Sports Cars for Southern England. Mackenzie decided that Alexander should tune the standard Turner, not only because they delivered the car, but also because of the longstanding relationship between Mackenzie and Fred Hillier, Alexander’s “Chief Mechanic”. Fred Hillier was a Senior NCO Instructor at the RAF Apprentice School at Halton and he had prepared and driven the “Schools” Tojero with Climax FWA engine for several years before joining Alexander Engineering after his retirement from the RAF.

Mackenzie made a deal with Michael Christie to race an Alexander-Turner for the 1960 season, the chassis and (BMC-A) engine of which would be prepared by Fred Hillier and the chaps from Alexander after delivery by Turner. The car, a Turner 950 Sports registered 208 JJH on 21 March 1960 in Hertford, had to fulfil the Appendix J regulations, which is why the famous Alexander light alloy cross-flow cylinder head could not be used, much to the disappointment of “businessman” Michael Christie.

The entry list for Class A (up to 1000cc) in 1960 showed sixteen names of which five drove an Austin-Healey Sprite, nine went this year for the fashionable Turner 950 Sports, with one Berkeley B 105 and one Fairthorpe Electron. Well-known names like J.H. (Paddy) Gaston in a special-bodied Sprite and F.R. (Bob) Gerard in a Turner 950 were mixed with drivers whose names only a few enthusiasts nowadays can remember. As can be seen from the entry list, the engine most commonly used was the BMC-A 948 cc in various forms of tuning. Most of them were bored out (+ 0.060″ or more) to increase the capacity to a value just within the 1000cc class. The exceptions were the air-cooled 2-cylinder 692 cc Royal Enfield in the Berkeley and the 948 Standard-Triumph engine (Alexander-tuned, by the way) in the Fairthorpe. Remarkably, there were no Ford engines used at all in this class, though in a few years’ time this would be the engine to beat. But this season, as in the previous years, it would be a “close racing” battle again between Sprites and Turners, having the same engine though a totally different chassis lay-out.

We have to note that there were actually two races on Easter Monday: next to the one in Mallory Park organised by the Nottingham Sports Car Club, there was the one organised by the British Racing and Sports Car Club at Brands Hatch. The latter had a “fatal attraction” at Paddy Gaston with his Sprite deciding to join this race instead of Mallory Park. Paddy (who had made a living out of racing, modifying engines and selling tuning parts from his premises at Richmond Road, Kingston-upon-Thames) was rather unhappy in his first outing, rolling his Sprite on the eighth lap, badly damaging the car but escaping himself with only some bruises. Paddy Gaston, the previous year’s team-mate of Ken Mackenzie, would become Ken’s biggest rival this year, in spite of his unhappy start and his missing the following race.


So different was the season’s start for Ken Mackenzie! On the 1.35-mile-long Mallory Park circuit, car and driver seemed to be unbeatable that Easter Monday. The preparation by Alexander was immaculate and Ken, in spite of the early rise, showed his skills in beating all the other Turners. It was pure delight: winning 208 JJH’s maiden race goes against all general belief that a car has to be developed over a couple of races before being able to compete effectively. It turned out to be a true Turner race, with Turners finishing in the first five places. Was this the way the season would turn for Ken Mackenzie and his Turner?

No, definitely not. The second race of the season was organised by the Maidstone and Mid-Kent Motor Club on Saturday 30 April at Silverstone. Again, at the beginning of the 20-lap race it looked as if nothing could beat Ken Mackenzie and his Alexander-Turner, leading the pack of Sprites and Turners. But then, on the fourth lap, he had to quit the race because of a broken weld in the throttle pedal! Delight and misfortune are so very close in racing, as Mackenzie experienced once more. The race was won instead by “good old” Bob Gerard, leading five other Turners. The Championship placing after two races were headed by Simon Scrimgeour, being the steadiest in finishing.

MacKenzie May 7 1960 Mallory May 8, 1960 Mallory Park

Mallory Park, the third race on 8 May saw the return of Paddy Gaston, only 3 weeks after his accident at Brands Hatch. The dominance of Turners had gone with Paddy Gaston in his Sprite leading the field from start to finish in spite of whatever Ken Mackenzie and Bob Gerard tried to do with Mackenzie ending 2nd in Class. It must have been an extremely well-prepared car and a skilled driver to beat the Turners, since all the other Sprites ended far back in the field.

The fourth round brought Mackenzie and friends to Snetterton, the 2.7-mile-long circuit in Norfolk. Again it was Paddy Gaston who dominated the race, with the Turners battling between themselves for second place. David Pritchard even applies the term “splendid duel” covering that part of the race for Autosport. Behind Gaston, it was Bob Gerard again taking second place. For Mackenzie life was hard; half-way through the race he had to give up with no clear cause mentioned. So far, two finishes and two mishaps for Mackenzie, losing points in the Championship on the others.

Martini 100 1960 21 May Martini 100 at May 21, 1960

Although not part of the Autosport Championship, Ken Mackenzie took part in the Martini 100 races on May 21st at Silverstone. And he did well, finishing second in Class right behind Jan van Niekerk in his GSM Delta.

Silverstone 6h 1960

On Whit Monday, 6 June, two races (both qualifying for the Championship) had been organised with the result that in both races only a few participants in the A Class showed up, not contributing to the overall excitement of the spectators. At Mallory Park only five Class A cars started in a race that was won by George Morgan in his Turner, in fact beating three other Turners. Ken Mackenzie decided to head for Goodwood (probably because Gaston went there and it was somewhat closer to his home in Northwood) where the B.A.R.C. had organised a 20-lap race on the 2.4-mile-long circuit. Because there were so few Championship participants, the organisers had allowed others to join the race as well, meaning that even a Jaguar Mk II saloon was regarded a Sports Car that day. It still turned out to be a crazy fight with the cars of Mackenzie and Marriot touching each other in Woodcote Corner. It did not help because Gaston finished first, well ahead of the others in Class A, with Mackenzie taking fourth place.

Next came Snetterton: on June 19th Mackenzie achieved 3rd place overall and 2nd in class with a fastest lap time of 2:04,0 and an average speed of almost 80 mph but beaten by Bill Moss in a Marcos GT (a.k.a. the ‘Ugly Duckling’) and Robin Bryant in another Turner.


As the next race would only be at the end of July, Mackenzie decided that there was plenty of time to take his Alexander-Turner “overseas”. Dunboyne, County Meath, Ireland, was the setting for an annual race weekend, this year sponsored by “Messrs. Martell & Co., Cognac”, a contest in which Mackenzie had taken part before with cars such as the MG A. The Leinster-Martell meeting of Saturday July 9 actually consisted of two events, the Holmpatrick Trophy Race and the Leinster Trophy Race, where the organising committee would decide in which race a car would participate, simply on basis of their opinion as to whether a particular car could lap the Dunboyne Circuit at 75 mph average speed! The Alexander-Turner therefore would take part in the Holmpatrick Trophy Race. Saturday 2.55 p.m. saw the start of this 15-lap, 60-mile race. Many competitors had used the opportunity to practise on the Thursday and Friday night before. Not so for Mackenzie who consequently had to fight his way through the entire field after the start. The field consisted of a mixed bag of all kind of different cars and engines capacities, like Austin Healey Sprite, MG TD, TR 3 and even a Fiat Special. It would become a very exiting race between W.D. Lacy in a TR 3 and Ken Mackenzie in the Alexander-Turner. One would think that this could hardly be called a fair competition, but amazingly the small Turner (998 cc) was a real threat for the bigger TR (1991 cc). Until on the 10th lap fate struck and Mackenzie had to withdraw with “mechanical trouble” and Bill Lacy could finish the race without any problem.

clip_image002[6] Mackenzie battling at Dunboyne, Ireland

Mackenzie himself reports twice on this event. In a letter to Autosport of August 1960 he writes: “The facts are that on the 10th lap, when leading Lacey, the eventual winner, and lapping at over 80, my radiator was holed and I lost all the water and retired with a resultant cracked cylinder head. In fairness to the car, which was the only other entrant in this race besides the eventual winner to lap at over 80, I would like this to be put across.

In another letter of October 1985 to Motorsport Mackenzie looks back: “This car was very successful in the Autosport Trophy, National and some International events, only not being placed in two out of 16 races and these due to minor mechanical problems. The worst being the Irish Holmpatrick Trophy, lost four laps from the end by a holed radiator, the Turner being timed at 108 down at the back straight, the second losing an Autosport trophy class win by a broken throttle linkage at Silverstone”

About the 8th race of the season we can be rather short as it was cancelled. On 31 July at Mallory Park there were too few entries from Classes A and C, even if they were combined in one race. Nevertheless we have to mention this race as it saw the first performance of another famous Turner, the Pat Fergusson-driven Turner-Climax, better known as “Tatty” Turner. This car, built by Allen Smith who also tuned the 1216 cc Coventry Climax FWE engine, was not yet homologated and just took part as a try-out in the Class B race. Fergusson would gain great successes in 1961 with this car as did Warwick Banks in 1962; both men won the Autosport Championship in their classes.

Ken Mackenzie still had every possibility to win the 1960 Championship himself with, after eight races, a second place in Class A with 23 points, just behind Paddy Gaston leading his class with 28 points. With (officially) one more qualifying race and the “grand finale” to go, it was becoming exciting in Class A. Managing Editor of Autosport, Gregor Grant, was of the opinion that participants of Class A and C should have an equal chance (as Class B) to win the overall Championship and therefore tried to arrange an extra race to replace the cancelled one of August 31.

Snetterton om August 6th was the venue of the ninth race and a very special race it was! Combined with the last qualifying race for the Autosport Series Production Sports Cars Championship, Saturday August 6th saw the final of the 1960 Autosport World Cup for GT cars between the teams of Holland and Great Britain. The Class B race took place together with heat 1 and Classes A and B with heat 2 of this GT final. David Pritchard was full of praise for what he saw that afternoon: “Superb Snetterton” was the ringing title of his first-class story in Autosport.

208 JJH Snetterton 6 aug 1960 pic 1 208 JJH Snetterton 6 aug 1960 pic 2                                 Left: Ken Mackenzie at Snetterten;. Right: Mackenzie leading Bob Gerard in his Turner JU 5

The second heat saw an interesting battle between such cars as the Porsche S90, the Lotus Elite and the MGA Twin Cam, remarkably closely followed by Paddy Gaston in his special-bodied Sprite. That Gaston finished fifth overall in this race indicated once more the excellent qualities of car and driver. Ken Mackenzie did quite well that afternoon, finishing third in class behind Gaston and Gerard, nevertheless losing 4 points on Paddy Gaston who now led the Championship ranking with a safe 9-point lead, with Ken Mackenzie and Bob Gerard in equal second place.

MacKenzie Aintree August 1960 Mackenzie ahead of the rest at Aintree August 7, 1960

Managing Editor of Autosport, Gregor Grant, managed indeed to organise an additional race for Class A to make up for the missed opportunity of earning Championship points on July 31. Just a day later, August 7, during the BARC meeting at Aintree, the 3-mile-long racing circuit near Liverpool, the rivals in Class A met again. The fact that Paddy Gaston could not participate due to mechanical troubles that came to light just before the race was a tremendous opportunity for Mackenzie (as well as for Gerard, of course) to get closer in points. During the first race of the day it was the usual “battle of the Turners” with George Morgan leading in front of a MGA Twin Cam and the other Turners, including Mackenzie who finished fourth in class and (worst of all) behind Bob Gerard who now took over second place in the Championship. One could say without exaggeration that there was a real “Turner” dominance that afternoon in Aintree; since Gaston did not start, the Turners had no problem in taking the first four places in Class A, only then followed by a Sprite and a Fairthorpe Electron.

clip_image002[8] The Three Hours of Snetterton preview

Since Mackenzie’s race was so early in the day, he found there was plenty of time for another race later in the day. In a Sports Car race for up to 1000 cc overhead valves and up to 1200 cc side valve engines (note the creativity of organising committees in forming competitive classes) Ken managed to finish third overall behind a DRW Ford and a Lotus 7 with Austin engine, outperforming a TR2 and 3, as well as a Twin Cam MGA.

The “Three Hours” of Snetterton formed for the fourth successive year the final of the Autosport Series Production Sports Car Championship. This unique racing event (part day and part night; the only one in the UK) holds a very special place in the heart of many a driver. The ambience is reminiscent of Le Mans: the excitement, the crowds, the headlamps peering through the darkness, the refuelling, even the start itself has that “nostalgic” atmosphere of racing at its best. And besides that, a wealth of points could be gained (double points during this final) meaning that everything is still open.

In the preceding weeks, Autosport had presented the list of final participants and contemplated the chances of the various rivals. A full-page picture gallery of the drivers still in the race for Championship gave an extra dimension to the upcoming event. Among the ones pictured was Ken Mackenzie, who regarded this as a tremendous reward for a beautiful season, no matter what the final “Three Hours” would bring. A reward for skill and perseverance of the driver and, most of all, for the quality of the Alexander-Turner and those that had prepared the car.

On many occasion, before and after, Ken Mackenzie expressed his admiration and respect for that “little” car; “in fairness to the car”, as he once said.

“Those of us who raced Turners, of whatever mark or power, enjoyed some classic sport, safe, reliable and competitive,” were his words when he looked back in Motorsport 15 years later.

What should have been the “culmination of the season” was in fact utterly disappointing for Mackenzie. The “Three Hours” of Snetterton started at 5.30 p.m. precisely and for almost 2 hours things looked so good for the Alexander-Turner. Then, at 7.15 p.m. Ken had to retire after 50 laps because of an “almost total absence of gears”. Mechanical failure meant that the end of the season had come, prematurely but inevitably.

clip_image002[10] Turner add referring to racing successes at end of 1960 season

The 1960 Championship Table shows Ken Mackenzie in tenth position, the overall Championship being won by Chris Summers in a Lotus Elite, competing in Class B. Since Paddy Gaston (AH Sprite) and George Morgan (Turner) qualified with their second and fourth place overall for a special Championship Award, Ken Mackenzie moved up in Class A to third place behind Bryant (Turner) and Gerard (Turner) to gain a Trophy to remember this fine season for ever.

Brands Hatch October 16 1960 Brands Hatch October 16 1960

To close-off the season Ken participated on October 16th in another race at the 1,24 mile long Brands Hatch circuit, in which he ended 1st in class with a fastest lap 1:07,4 or 67 mph: a worthy closure of his first season in the Alexander-Turner!


Turner-Alexander or Alexander-Turner?

Turner-Alexander or Alexander-Turner?

Alexander Turner add 1960

It had become a kind of tradition for Alexander Engineering of Haddenham (Buckinghamshire) to present their latest developments in the form of a special testday, giving the press ample opportunity to judge the qualities of the various cars that were put at their disposal. The company, headed by Michael Christie, had built up quite a reputation in making engine and suspension conversions for practically every available car in the late fifties and early sixties. In particular, their achievements in upgrading the BMC-A engine, found in so many cars in that period, established their name among the long list of tuning companies like Derringtons, Raymond Mays, Aquaplane, Arden, Speedwell and Downton, to name but a few.

It was a surprise for the motoring press when Michael Christie announced in November 1959, during their yearly autumn presentation, organised this time in the Weston Manor Hotel in Bicester, that Alexander had made an agreement with Turner of Wolverhampton and would distribute the new Turner 950 Sports (later to be known as the Mark 1). Delivery of the new car would commence after Christmas and many products from the vast Alexander range, including engine, suspension, brakes and interior, would be available for the Turner-Alexander right from the start.

Alexander cross flow head

It is interesting to note that Alexander went their own way with respect to component sourcing. Apart from the obvious choice of their light alloy cross-flow cylinder head, the long list of “Approved optional equipment” offered no less than 20 different items, amongst which a Lockheed servo in combination with the Girling disc-brake system, specially developed for the Healey factory (Sebring) Sprites and the Turner 950 Sports.

The cross-flow cylinder head (CR 9.4 to 1) delivered in combination with twin SU H2 carburettors about 60 bhp at 6000 rpm, compared to the 43 bhp at 5000 rpm (CR 8.3 to 1 and twin SU H1) of the Turner in standard form. The Autocar, reporting about the new Turner-Alexander on 4th December 1959, mentioned that a maximum output of 80 bhp was claimed if combined with high compression pistons and a road-racing camshaft. They also mentioned that a new company (Alexander Autos & Marine Limited) would market the car, using conversion parts supplied by Alexander Engineering.

In the January 1960 issue, Motor Sport complimented the car they tested during the November presentation in Bicester. Especially the body finish and weather protection impressed them. Funnily enough the engine of the Alexander-Turner (note the different order of the two brands as compared to the Autocar story) was less impressive, being described as “a rather tired hack engine which did not help to show the car up in a good light”. However, they promised to perform one of their “normal rigorous tests” on the car in the following months, a promise they did not keep.

Two road tests, however, were published as a result of the active marketing policy of Alexander. The first one was in Sports Car and Lotus Owner in March 1960, followed by another in The Motor of August 10 of the same year: quite some coverage for such a small company.

David Phipps (Sports Car and Lotus Owner) is full of compliments, referring to the Alexander-Turner (333 KPP) as “a 948 cc car with the performance of the 1½-litre MGA”. Performance and roadholding are described as “very good”. The Alexander-Turner, of course, had much in common with the Turner 950 Sports, but Alexander offered the double trailing arms to locate the rear axle as a standard, a construction that Turner recommended for the more powerful tuned versions and the Turner-Climax Sports with the Coventry Climax FWA engine. The standard 15 inch wheels were combined with a somewhat lower geared final drive (4.875 compared to 4.55 for the standard Turner). Acceleration figures were impressive for a 950 cc car: 0 – 60 mph in 13.6 seconds; and the recorded top speed was over 90 mph! David Phipps reported that Alexander had started experimenting with 13 inch wheels to further improve road handling.

Another interesting observation is that Alexander were apparently still experimenting with the inlet manifold, showing a large balance pipe between the four inlet tubes (yes four, no Siamese port on the cross-flow Alexander head!) in March 1960, that had been reduced to a thin balance pipe by mid-1960 in its final form..

The Alexander-Turner tested by The Motor (500 NKX) had received the thirteen inch wheels as already indicated in March. Other changes included twin SU H4 and the final drive back to 4.55. The acceleration from 0 to 60 mph remained unchanged at 13.6 sec, while maximum speed went up to over 95 mph! The Motor Road Test No. 28/60 is very accurate in this respect, even down to the 5% misreading of the speedometer. The Motor came to the conclusion that this car was perhaps too highly tuned for the majority of sports car buyers, but what remained was a feeling of “enjoyment of a comfortable, lively and exceptionally controllable little car”.

Although Turner’s are often referred to as “kit cars”, in fact only a part of the total factory output was supplied as a kit, especially for the home-market. A considerable part of the production went overseas and these were all completely assembled in Wolverhampton. Alexander delivered their “kit” on request, adding all the Alexander “goodies” the customer had asked for, but also undertook the conversion and tuning of factory-built Turners.

Alexander Turner add 2

In the Sporting Motorist of January 1961, proud owner Ashley Clarke describes in detail how he built an Alexander-Turner, supplied as a kit, in just a hundred hours. It offers an excellent insight into what building a Turner meant: trying to save Purchase Tax (which had been lowered in April 1959 from 60 to 50% of the basic price, still equalling between £250 and £350 in the case of the Turner 950 or Turner Climax) meant investing a lot of spare time.

Alexander remained official Turner distributor till the mid-sixties. Turner had a habit of changing agents rather frequently (or was it the other way round?). In the period from 1955 to the end of the decade, Bob Gerard, combining racing and selling Turner Sports Cars, was their East Midlands Distributor, while Field’s Garage in Chichester had taken responsibility for South East England. In the early sixties, apart from Alexander Autos and Marine Ltd. covering the South, Gordon Unsworth of Motorway Sales in Derby became Turner’s new agent, taking over from Bob Gerard.

Up to 1964, things looked rather bright for Turner, still with amazing racing success, Turner’s keeping lap records at every UK circuit and with exports across the Atlantic and to South Africa continuing to be their main source of income. But Jack Turner went into voluntary liquidation in early 1966 following Jack’s illness and a number of other mishaps.

Alexander Engineering Co. Ltd. still exists almost forty years later at the time of writing. Now headed by son Timothy Christie, they are an active as well as important supplier to the automotive industry, in particular in the area of accessories and lighting equipment. They still occupy their historic premises at Thame Road in Haddenham.

BK 1999

Original Lucas type fuses

Original Lucas type fuses

Lucas type fuses are used in 40’s, 50’s and 60’s British automobiles. The physical length of this type of fuse was originally 1¼ inch with conical ends and 1 inch for the later fuse types with straight ends. The change over from conical to straight ends took place towards the end of the 50’s. Lucas type fuses use a specific colour coding for the each rated current (see table below).

Lucas fuses have three ratings:

  • continuous current they are designed to carry
  • instantaneous current at which they will fuse
  • continuous current at which they will also fuse.

The figure found on Lucas fuses is the continuous fusing current which is twice the continuous ampere rating that the system should be using; this can be a source of confusion when replacing Lucas fuses with non Lucas fuses.

Color coding scheme 1958
Color Lucas code Type end Cont. Amp Instant. Amp Cont. Amp (50%)

Red on Yellow

188 206





Green on Black

188 211





Light Brown

188 220






188 216






188 218





Purple on Yellow

188 219





Yellow on Red

188 222






188 230






188 232





Nut Brown

188 234





Red on Green

188 235





Red on Brown

188 236






Early type Lucas 188.216 with conical ends; Length = 1¼ “


Later type Lucas with straight end and 1” length


Lucas original Green boxes for conical 1¼ “ fuses 188 216


Later Red boxes for 1” straight end 188 219 fuses of 50A


Later Lucas 188 219 fuses of 50A (about 1962)

Turner 950 Radiator by Brittoll

Turner 950 Radiator by Brittoll Wednesbury

Turner acquired most parts from the bigger automotive suppliers of the 50’s and early 60’s. The radiator of the Turner 950 is most certainly sourced from BMC, more specifically: Morris Minor 1000 series Part Nº ARA 97 (from 1952), ARA 101 (from 1960) and ARA 213 (from 1962). This is the so-called “small tank” version made in brass. But apparently the standard BMC version could not be used by Turner and modifications had to be made.

The modifications may relate to two main causes:

1. The pipe connection of the standard Minor radiator is bent sideways for the top hose and upwards for the bottom hose. Apart from some very early cars, Turner uses a straight pipe connection, because the engine is placed at a larger distance from the radiator and probably extra space was required for an oil cooler placed behind the radiator.

2. The use of both BMC-A and Coventry Climax engines from 1959 onwards, the latter requiring a top water hose connection at the LH side of the Morris radiator (that had the top water hose entry at the RH side). I found on my 1960 Turner a brass blanking plate soldered over the hole at the LH side, though this could be a later modification.


(Some of the) radiators on Turners had a brass plate stamped Brittoll Radiator (Services) Wednesbury and a serial number. This may well have been the company responsible for the modification of Turner radiators.

Brittoll Radiator (Services) Ltd were located at Dudley Street, Wednesbury, only 6 miles from the (early) Turner premises at Merrydale Street in Wolverhampton. Brittoll Radiator (Services) Ltd. apparently was not a big company although they did have some patents registered in 1954 (improving the process of making radiators). The workshop at Dudley Street was located in a former public house: The Greyhound pub. The company had expanded in the early 60’s with new extensions ready by June 1962. What happened with the company thereafter is unclear, but the buildings at Dudley Street were eventually demolished in the early 1970s. The company also had storage facilities at 6, Cromwell street in Coventry in 1961.