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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Did you ever heard the 1980s wedge-shaped sports car of the Kiwi land named Heron MJ-1?

~Wedge Shaped~ Now we will look at a classic car that comes from a country in the southernmost hemisphere, namely New Zealand. Indeed, the car industries of the Kiwi-land are rarely heard if compared to its neighbor Australia. So it's not surprising that some of you may have never known the following unique sports cars made by the automaker from New Zealand.
The Heron MJ-1 is a two-seater sports coupe with a fiberglass body that was produced in limited quantities from 1981 to 1998 by Heron Cars. (Picture from: Issuu.com)
The mentioned car is the Heron MJ-1, a two-seater sports coupe with a fiberglass body that was produced in limited quantities from 1981 to 1998 by Heron Cars, a New Zealland automotive craftsmen founded by Ross Baker. This car began to be designed in 1980, and made its debut at the 1981 Auckland Motor Show,

It's style was derived from the Lotus Esprit, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design in 1972. It featured very similar proportions and angular shapes or what is commonly called the wedge shape which was widely used in mid-engined cars of the era.
The Heron MJ-1's style was derived from the Lotus Esprit, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design in 1972. (Picture from: Issuu.com)
The first production version was built in 1984 with engine options ranging from a Fiat 125 4-cylinder engine to V8. It was built on a fiberglass monocoque chassis, to which tubular steel front and rear subframes mounted, with parts from various donors, and fiberglass body panels.
The first production version was built in 1984 with engine options ranging from a Fiat 125 4-cylinder engine to V8. (Picture from: Issuu.com)
Then the Summit Engineering became involved into the company to provide the necessary finance in return for a two-thirds share. The original concept was a very simple car using reconditioned parts supplied by the customer, after that Heron assembling them into a complete roadworthy car.
The original concept was a very simple car using reconditioned parts supplied by the customer, after that Heron assembling them into a complete roadworthy car. (Picture from: Issuu.com)
Instead Summit wants the cars to be built entirely in-house using new parts. This caused serious problems in production, as the cost of production increased drastically. After an acrimonious split, Heron's founder Ross Baker bought them out and carried on until 1998.
The Heron MJ-1 was built on a fiberglass monocoque chassis, to which tubular steel front and rear subframes mounted, with parts from various donors, and fiberglass body panels. (Picture from: Auto5p.eu)
It is believed that 6 prototypes and 19 production MJ-1's were ultimately built. Because of the costs of importing vehicles to New Zealand, Heron Cars was among a number of homegrown sports cars sold in that market which also included the Almac Sabre, Buckler, and Scorpion (a Sterling/Nova clone).
Eventually, the Japanese cheaper competitors were came and killed a number of these local makes. However, a small specialty car industry such Heron Cars still survives in NZ at least until 2018. But now they are no longer visible in the global automotive world. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | HERON CARS | RARECOMPONENTCARS | ISSUU.COM ]
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