The Turnham Sports takes shape at Turnbull's Bodyworks. It's got a seat and a steering wheel — time to start practice laps...
Always attracting lots of attention in the pits at race meetings this car was a consistent place getter in division two sports racing class.
This photo was towards the end of it's development with the addition of a spoiler on the back body mould.
The car was based on a VW 1500 that had been wrecked on the West Coast with only 3,500 miles on the clock and the mechanicals were as new.
The VW floor pan was cut and shut by 18" and a tubular chassis was constructed. The motor and gearbox were reversed to place the gearbox to the rear.
Wheels where reduced to 13" and widened by Andy Morris at Cooee. Dunlop racing rubber was then fitted.
A fibre glass mould from the John Goss "Tornado Special" was purchased from Jack Koerbin in Hobart and modified to fit.
Front suspension was standard VW 1500 lowered slightly - rear used a torsion "Z" bar with standard dampers.
The car handled well although it was prone to extremes of understeer and oversteer. Under power on tighter corners it was understeer, lift the throttle and bags of oversteer. But it responded well to throttle input. It was not uncommon to pass surprised competitors on the outside of a corner.
This car performed well with what was a fairly standard VW motor. Paul England Engineering in Melbourne did basic modification to the motor. That included balancing and port and polished heads. The camshaft remained standard. Twin side draft Weber carburetors were fitted with one throat blocked (strange - but it worked). A 1200 cooling fan was fitted and eventually a one-to-one top gear finished the mechanicals.
Tony in the pits at Baskerville.
Note this was in the era of "flower power".
On the grid with Peter (66) at Baskerville.
Grid for scratch race at Baskerville.
Kerry Cox, Tony Hamilton, Peter Turnbull and a gaggle of Formula V's and other home built specials behind .
Grid for handicap race at Baskerville. Peter just leaving and Kerry Cox in the "Purple People Eater" behind.
There is a story here...
I brought this car—a Cooper Climax rolling chassis from Bob (Woody) Curran for $250. The plan was to take the light weight uprights, alloy rack and pinion, the brakes and other components and make an open wheeler from this and the Turnham Sports. A red hot VW motor was in the pipeline. We actually built the tub for the proposed car, but I decided to go and work and live in Darwin. The Turnham was sold as components. The chassis went to Smithton, the body to Bob Wright, the motor to someone for a beach buggy.
A young Tony with the Cooper Climax that was once raced by Jack Brabham
I sold the Cooper to Peter when I went north. He kept it for a long time and acquired a 2.5 litre Climax motor and a gearbox. He sold the "bits" to John Blanden for around $1,250. Blanden spent a considerable amount having it rebuilt at Elfin Cars in Adelaide. He eventually sold it in the mid 80's to a buyer in the UK for a reputed huge sum.
(We are tracking down some more history on this car) This car was apparently driven in Europe by Jack Brabham in 1959. It was one of three he used that year and was pranged at the Rheims Formula1 circuit. It came to Australia and other owners include Bib Stillwell, Lex Sternberg and Bob Wright.