1957 Turner 803 Ex-Betty Haig

Lot Number: 647

1957 Turner 803 Ex-Betty Haig

Charismatic little 948cc-engined Turner 803 purchased new and raced by the legendary Betty Haig, Britain's most successful female competition driver ever.

  • Sold for: £18,000

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 12th November, 2022 at 10.00am GMT at NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT

  • Body Colour

    BODY COLOUR
    Green

  • Drive

    DRIVE
    RHD

  • Registration Number

    REG NUMBER
    TSV 483

  • Odometer Reading

    ODOMETER READING
    5451 Miles

SUMMARY

Charismatic little 948cc-engined Turner 803 purchased new and raced by the legendary Betty Haig, Britain's most successful female competition driver ever.

DESCRIPTION

A member of the Haig Whisky family and a grand-niece of Field Marshal Douglas Haig, Commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), Elizabeth (Betty) Haig (1905 -1987) was a lifelong enthusiast for all things motoring. She did well in rallies, winning an Olympic Medal in her first pre-war rally, in Germany, with a 1500cc, six-cylinder Singer, a car also used for a WASA trial and Brooklands driving. She then won the Paris-St Raphael Feminin Rally outright in her PB MG, and after the war she won the Ladies’ Cup and her class in the fantastic 1948 Alpine Trial in an AC. She went on a Monte Carlo Rally in an experimental Morris Minor with Elsie Wisdom and Barbara Marshall, and won the 1½ litre class in the very tough 1949 Alpine Trial with a works TC MG.

She was equally competent on tarmac driving her HRG to a class-win in a Swiss hill-climb, changed to a Healey-Silverstone, raced a Cooper-JAP and a vee-twin Cooper 1000, drove the highest-placed foreign car, a Triumph TR2, in the 1952 San Remo Rally, raced her AC Ace at Goodwood and Brands Hatch, a Turner 803 in Italy and took Ladies’ Cups at Prescott and Shelsley Walsh with a Lotus Eleven. Then there was a TT MG Magnette raced at Goodwood and Silverstone, gaining a Coupe de Vitesse with an Austin-Healey 100 in a later Paris-St Raphael Rally, and breaking the Ladies’ Record at Prescott in a Lotus 23. A little later she shared a Ferrari with Yvonne Simons in the 1951 Le Mans 24 Hour race, finishing with an average of over 82mph to win the Coupe des Dames. She continued to race for years and loved Silverstone and particularly Goodwood where she competed on a regular basis, presumably using the little Turner in appropriate events. In 1966, Betty and photographer Guy Griffiths established the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC).

A letter in the large history file states that this car, #30/40, was bought new from Jack Turner through Swanden Motor Sales in Worthing by Betty Haig, and registered SUF 1 on 13th March 1957. It’s an 803 but according to a letter in the file, it was fitted with a 948cc A-Series and was, in fact, the prototype for the Turner 950 which commenced production a little later. It appears that at some point the engine was bored out to 997cc and we understand that £100 (a substantial sum then) was invested at Downton Engineering on further modifications. This ‘hot’ engine, although stripped and in need of repair, accompanies the car today which is currently powered by a 948cc unit, lightly modified for road use.

In 1960, she sold the car to Isobel Robinson who at that time was the Public Relations Officer for BRM. She had started to compete in Eric Broadley’s 1,172cc Ford engined special (the forerunner to the Lola) before moving to the then Downton-tuned Turner. She owned it for three years continuing to use it in competition – some lovely period shots having been unearthed at the archive at the Beaulieu Motor Museum. The car then moved to Sue Taylor, a friend of Isobel's, who according to a letter from her in 2006, 'raced it a bit'. As a trainee nurse she found it all a bit expensive and part-exchanged it for a Mini. By 1964 the car was seen advertised in Motorsport (copy in file), Sue having kept the number SUF 1 which she still had on her modern Clio when the letter was written. It was re-registered 872 DRV.

The story then goes quiet until 1979 when it was discovered, abandoned in Southampton. Recovered by Lee Barton and passed on to his father-in-law, Ken Edwards, its whereabouts was reported to the very active Turner Register. Issued with the age-related number TSV 483, photographs of it exist in a rather down-at-heel state in 1991 when owned by Dave Scott. Happier days lay ahead as the file also contains an invoice and photographs from 1994 of a body-off restoration by West Country Motorsports confirming that the work was completed to a high standard including race preparation. The car was then exported to the US in 1995 to begin the next stage of its life.

#30/40’s racing career then took off again, with a series of strong finishes in the VSCCA Historic Race Series before returning to the UK in 2004 where the owner’s brother looked after it until 2012 when it was offered for sale. At that point, on 28th November 2012, it was purchased by our vendor, who’s collection includes some fairly exotic machinery, and was duly registered to him but, as is often the way, it was very rarely used.

There is a lot of history with TSV including correspondence from the Turner Registrar, articles and features, old photographs, Turner/Fairthorpe magazines, a number of invoices, restoration details and photographs from 1994, lots of racing results from the US, import documentation, MOTs and V5s etc.

Frequently photographed in period, this stunning little Turner is eligible for a wide range of events. It has the potential to be right up there in the thick of it thanks to the ever increasing power outputs squeezed from the remarkable A-Series engine, the superb handling characteristics and the car's light weight. As mentioned earlier, the original engine will be supplied with the car (will need to be collected) and with Betty Haig’s regular appearances at Goodwood and with sufficient investment it may well be welcome at all sorts of glamorous events.

Not a concours contender but, with its active period competition history by a brace of well-known lady drivers, this venerable little Turner will no doubt attract a lot of attention wherever it goes.

 

SPECIFICATION

Lot Number
647
Make
TURNER
Model
803
Registration Number
TSV 483
Chassis Number
30/40
Engine Number
9M-U-H536670
Transmission
Manual
Body Colour
Green

CONSIGNOR

Consignor

CONTACT

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