Former BMC and Ford competition manager, Stuart Turner, enthralled a large crowd of motoring enthusiasts when he spoke at a well-attended function in Melbourne last week.

Recognised world-wide as one of the greatest after-dinner speakers, the sprightly 77–year-old kept his audience spellbound with tales of the great days of racing and rallying, interspersing his 90 minute talk with much humour and funny anecdotes.

He was in Melbourne as the guest of the Austin Healey Owners Club as part of an around-Australia speaking tour which included Western Australia, Victoria and NSW.

Turner, now retired, has spent most of his life either competing in, organising, managing or writing about motorsport from club to international level. He was a former British Champion rally navigator, a motorsport writer, the BMC (British Motor Corporation) Competitions Manager and held a similar position at Ford, masterminding such events as Ford’s victorious London to Mexico World Cup Rally.

He was appointed Ford Public Affairs Manager in 1975. He has overseen the racing and rally development of a wide variety of successful cars including the Austin Healey 3000, Mini Cooper ‘S’ and MGB, as well as the Ford RS200, Escort RS Cosworth and Sierra RS Cosworth.

It was appropriate that two beautifully presented rally cars were on display during the evening, the famous Ford Australia Rally Team’s Mk.2 Escort BDA, IYK 000, and Graeme Urch’s ex-Abingdon-prepared Morris Cooper ‘S’, highlighting the differences in rally technology during Turner’s reign.

Photos: Peter Whitten

John Haddon's ex-Greg Carr Ford Escort RS1800.
The ex-Rauno Aaltonen Mini Cooper S, owned by Graeme Urch.

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