Motor Sport Maestro

The remarkable automotive artwork of Michael Turner

As with his biggest influences Frank Wootton and Terence Cuneo, Michael Turner has become famous for his automotive and aviation artwork. Such is the breadth and length of his career that it’s unlikely any reader is not familiar with his work.

Encouraged by his father, a talented amateur artist, Harrow-born Michael started submitting his motor sport sketches to The Motor magazine in the late 1940s. After school, one year at art college and two years doing National Service with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Michael was employed at a commercial art studio in London.

During the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Michael became the go-to artist for motor sport event and Grand Prix posters. He produced artwork for the German, Spanish, Dutch and US GPs, and maybe most importantly, from 1965, five for the Monaco GP, following in the footsteps of two of the all-time greatest French illustrators Geo Ham and Michel Beligond.

“I’d been working with track passes for the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) since 1958, so it knew me from that. It talked to me about doing its posters in 1964, which is why the featured cars on the ’65 poster were based on the previous year’s models,” says Michael.