The first Clubman — as told by Peter

The Turnham Ford Sports started in life in 1968 as a copy of Lotus Super Seven imported from England by Nelson Latimer which had sustained some damage on the boat journey. I had just started my panel beating business and was eager to get my hands on it with the idea of running the tape over it, which I did a lot over the next few years on all sorts of cars to get an idea of chassis design and suspension geometry.

 

Those days there was little in the way of printed mater that allowed a lowly educated boy could understand. I made some changes with the idea of improving Colin Chapman’s design but if you don’t know the theory behind the design it is very easy to stuff it up which I did in a couple areas like putting the Morris Minor steering rack be hind the axle line and not realising what it would do to the bump steer.

 

WHAT’S BUMP STEER? Needless to say the car did not steer quite as good as the Lotus. After learning about bump steer the car then became quite good. The car started life with a Ford Cortina motor 'gearbox and diff with Cortina discs on the front. The car was raced at Symons Plain and Baskerville plus Penguin hillclimb starting in 1969 through to 1971. By 1971 low line clubman’s were the fashion.

It looks like a car to me

Half way there

Penguin Hillclimb
Penguin Hillclimb
Clubmans at Baskerville
Penguin Hill Climb

The first Turnham Ford seen above with Brian Sherriff (red car) at Baskerville. Brian's car was a genuine Lotus Super Seven imported by the previously mentioned Nelson Latimer, a New Zealander who had been working in the UK for some time. This car was the catalyst for the first Turnham Clubman and many subsequently cars.

 

Here Peter used his practice of running the measuring tape over the car and getting dimensions and suspension geometry for his own car. Peter was chased away from more than one car when he started measuring geometry of other more sophisticated cars around many race circuits. Peter and his tape measure was often a source of humor to his friends.

Fast grid
Symons Pains
On the front row of the grid with Mike Bruce (Elfin 350 left), Geoff McHugh (Renmax Climax right) and Bruce Gowans (Lotus 23B rear)
Peter exits Pit Corner at Symmons Plains
with Bob (Woody) Curran in the Triumph TR4
on outside of corner.
(Spectator Bruce Hamilton is leaning on a post
beside his Valiant)
Baskerville
No - not a large "Learner" plate, but
an "L" from a Shell sign