Edward Turner: The Man Behind the Motorcycles

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9781845840655: Edward Turner: The Man Behind the Motorcycles
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For the first time the life of Edward Turner, one of Britain’s most talented motorcycle designers, is revealed in full, so this is much more than just another book about Triumph motorcycles. Although seen by many as an irascible man who ran a very tight ship, it is an inescapable fact that his was a highly profitable company. His hugely successful sales campaign after World War 2 stunned America’s own manufacturers and had long lasting repercussions on their own home market. As Bert Hopwood once said to the author, Turner was an inventive genius who had the flair for pleasing shapes and an uncanny ability to perceive what the buying public would readily accept, to produce it at the right price. No one will deny the impact made at the annual Motor Cycle Show by his aerial Square Four in 1931, his superbly-styled single cylinder Tiger models in 1936, and his revolutionary Speed Twin that dominated the Show in 1937. Even more was to follow with his post-war Thunderbird and Bonneville twins.

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About the Author:

Jeff has been an active motorcyclist since 1946 in both road and competition events. He retired in 1991 from his role as Editorial Director of the Haynes Publishing Group. Jeff is a regular contributor to Old Bike Mart and on irregular occasions to most other motorcycling magazines.
A member of the Vintage MCC and founder of one of its sections, he is also a member of the LE Velo Club and a life member of the London Douglas MCC and the Kickstart Club or Torbay.

Review:

Beaded Wheels, February 2008

Review by Mark Holman
Magazine for the Vintage Car Club of
New Zealand
 
The official biography of the man who was probably the most important individual in the history of the British motorcycle industry. Whenever motorcycles are discussed amongst enthusiasts, the name of Edward Turner is invariably mentioned. While known worldwide for his landmark designs, e.g. the four-cylinder Ariel Square Four and the Triumph Speed Twin, etc, ET remained an enigma, described by those who worked close to him as both difficult and charming, impatient, autocratic and brilliant.

Born in 1901, Edward Turner was a truly gifted individual whose forceful character, design flair and business acument drove Triumph from near bankruptcy in the mid '30s to such heights of success that the company often struggled to reach the clamoring demand for its products worldwide. From the early post-war years ET saw the potential of the American market and traveled there regularly to establish and maintain a large dealer network, Triumph achieved many sporting successes stateside, including the unofficial world motorcycle land speed record ... all of which greatly enhanced their sales figures.

Embodying lightness with a powerful vertical twin engine, Turner's design of the 1937 Speed Twin was revolutionary, and so good that it remained in production for 29 years.

Long overdue, this deeply researched work by Jeff Clew gets past Turner's irascible exterior to reveal the man, his life and work, and the huge contribution to his country and the evolution of the motorcycle.

Featured are many images from the Turner family private photograph collection. This book is an excellent addition to any enthusiasts’ library.



Peckham Society News, Spring 2007 UK quarterly magazine

Edward Turner, who lived in Peckham, was probably the most important person in the history of the British motorcycle industry. He was born in 1901 and was a gifted individual who drove Triumph to such heights of success that the company often had difficulty in meeting the demand for its products from all around the world.  Edward Turner's design for the 1937 Speed Twin was revolutionary. It was so good that the model remained in production for almost thirty years. Among other machines he designed were engines used in Daimler and Jaguar cars.

The book is packed with photographs including Chepstow Motors in Peckham Road which was his first business venture. At that time he lived at 87 Rye Hill Park, SE15.

Edward Turner was born on 24 January 1901 in the sub-district of St Peter, Walworth. The Turner family moved to Peckham Rye in 1913 where his father, William Turner, bought a light engineering works.

Anyone who is interested in motorcycles will be fascinated to read this well-illustrated official biography of Edward Turner written by such an expert as Jeff Clew.



www.inter-bike.co.uk, 2007 - UK biker website

Whenever you talk about the British motorcycle industry, one man’s name keeps popping up, that of Edward Turner. Some historians feel that he was the most significant designer since the First World War and that he had the most impact on the British automotive industry of anybody and was something of a design genius. (He designed the V8 engine for the Jaguar and Daimler range of cars!)

Whilst the latter could be challenged, nobody would disagree that this larger than life character ran a tight ship and under him the Triumph motorcycle brand in particular was very innovative and prosperous.

He personally has been the subject of many a chapter in the various marque histories on Triumph, but now he gets a book to himself – 'Edward Turner – the man behind the motorcycles'.

Well-known author Jeff Clew devotes all 154 pages to Turner in this official biography of the man who made Triumph great. This soft-bound tome is as you might expect, liberally spread with photos and drawings, some from the family archive and makes fascinating reading.

Not only it is it Turner’s story it is also a look at the British motorcycle industry, and as such is a must read for all those who want to know about what went on behind the scenes. An excellent read and good value at $34.95.



 inter-bike.co.uk, 2008
UK biker website

Whenever you talk about the British motorcycle industry one man’s name keeps popping up, that of Edward Turner. Some historians feel that he was the most significant designer since the First World War and that he had the most impact on the British automotive industry of anybody and was something of a design genius (he designed the V8 engine for the Jaguar and Daimler range of cars!).  While the latter could be challenged nobody will disagree that this larger than life character ran a tight ship and under him the Triumph motorcycle brand in particular was very innovative and prosperous. He personally has been the subject of many a chapter in the various marque histories on Triumph, but now he gets a book to himself – 'Edward Turner – the man behind the motorcycles.'  Well-known author Jeff Clew devotes all 154 pages to Turner in this official biography of the man who made Triumph great. This soft-bound tome is as you might expect liberally spread with photos and drawings, some from the family archive, and makes fascinating reading.  Not only it is it Turner’s story it is also a look at the British motorcycle industry and as such is a must-read for all those who want know what went on behind the scenes. An excellent read and good value at $34.95.

Vintage Motorcycle Club Journal
Magazine for the Vintage Motorcycle Club, UK
 

The official biography of the man who was probably the most important individual in the history of the British motorcycle industry. Whenever motorcycles are discussed amongst enthusiasts, the name of Edward Turner is invariably mentioned. Whilst known worldwide for his landmark designs, e.g. the four-cylinder Ariel Square Four and the Triumph Speed Twin, etc., Turner remained an enigma, described by those who worked close to him as both difficult and charming, impatient, autocratic and brilliant.  Born in 1901, Edward Turner was a truly gifted individual whose forceful character, design flair and business acumen drove Triumph from near bankruptcy in the mid-'30s to such heights of success that the company often struggled to reach the clamoring demand for its products worldwide. From the early post-war years Turner saw the potential of the American market and traveled there regularly to establish and maintain a large dealer network. Triumph achieved many sporting successes stateside, including the unofficial world motorcycle land speed record ... all of which greatly enhanced their sales figures.Embodying lightness with a powerful vertical twin engine, Turner's design of the 1937 Speed Twin was revolutionary, and so good that it remained in production for 29 years.  Long overdue, this deeply researched work by Jeff Clew gets past Turner's irascible exterior to reveal the man, his life and work, and the huge contribution to his country and the evolution of the motorcycle.  Featured are many images from the Turner family private photograph collection. This book is an excellent addition to any enthusiast's library.

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