Edward Turner - The Man Behind The Motorcycles


Edward Turner - The man behind the motorcycles
By Jeff Clew

The official biography of Edward Turner. Previously unpublished photos from the subject's personal collection. Deeply researched biography of one of Britain's most outstanding motorcycle designers. Record of every motorcycle designed by Edward Turner.

The deeply researched biography of the man who was probably the most important individual in the history of the British motorcycle industry.

In the words of Triumph's famous sales slogan, Edward Turner designed "The Best Motorcycle in the World". Records details of all the world famous motorcycles designed by Edward Turner.

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 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 Ariel 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.


This is the first official biography of Edward Turner, one of Britain's most talented and respected motorcycle designers of yore. In fact it is one of remarkably few books dedicated to the individuals within the industry rather than to the bikes themselves. When you consider the tremendous influence that characters such as Edward Turner have had on the development of the motorcycle, it is remarkable that such a book has not been written before now.

This book is not a book based on opinions and hearsay, but a well researched comprehensive biography based on information supplied by people who knew and worked with him. It is full of intriguing detail of his work and his life, and makes for a very interesting and enjoyable read.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, especially the pictures - many of which seem to be previously unpublished. It leaves me (as a relatively young man….!) quite astonished that a single individual can leave such a heritage; The Speed Twin, Bonneville, Square Four, Thunderbird, Tiger 100, Terrier etc etc etc. He certainly, perhaps above all, had the ability to perceive what the buying public would accept and matched that with some of the most elegant designs.

There is a super colour gallery in the book (a feature often either not available or simply omitted from many similar books) including some great pictures from the family album.

The author, Jeff Clew, was the editorial director of the Haynes Publishing Group and is a regular contributor to many of the UK's classic biking magazines.

And what a cover picture including no less than Rita Hayworth!

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Edward Turner - The man behind the motorcycles

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