Jackson French, 1991

This is the first car Jackson talks about, now well on the way to being finished by David Tobin, who is making a great job of it.

My first Heron arrived on a trailer looking like it should be going to the tip!! It was a pile of fibreglass mouldings ready to be glued together, the purchase of which I had arranged from Ross Baker. The idea was to build this pile into a road going vehicle, so after a few weeks of looking at it in wonder, it was delivered to Rotorua Fibreglass and the task of joining everything together commenced. A few weeks later the basic body shell was intact and transported back to my workshop. Everything was progressing according to plan so far. I had collected together most of the components to complete assembly but decided to wait a while before continuing. Unfortunately time to work on the Heron became a rare commodity and when I was approached by a prospective buyer I decided to sell my collection to David Tobin. I assisted David in the assembly to warrant of fitness standard, including the engine and five speed gear-box. This took several months with David doing most of the work himself

The engine is a 1600 cc Fiat built to 125T specifications. The car is still painted in primer and untrimmed but when David returns from Australia later this year I'm sure these remaining areas will be completed.

Having sold this vehicle I never dreamed I would own another Heron. However one was delivered to my workshop from Hamilton. "Can you rebuild the engine and gearbox for me" asked the owner? No problems I said. After removing the engine and transmission these were stripped and an inspection carried out. Most components were in pretty bad shape. Several phone calls were exchanged and the owner instructed me to proceed.

Recondition the engine and build a five speed gearbox please. As work progressed the owner was kept informed as to cost. On completion, the owner was notified and on hearing the final price, asked if I could look after the car for a couple of months while he saved the balance of the money. I agreed to this but after three months with no contact, I decided to get in touch. I found that he had decided that there was too much owing on the car and with the repair bill as well, he had decided to just walk away from it. When the "REPO" man appeared I knew he was serious so I hid the car for about 12 months and I negotiated between the dealer and finance company.

That was how I came to buy my second Heron.

It is red with black leather interior but has been poorly treated through out its 60,000 kilometre life. I am thinking about restoring it to its former glory but would probably sell it "as is" if someone was interested.

It has been a part of my workshop for about a year now and still attracts attention almost every day from people wanting to know "what is it".

Jackson French

Footnote: This car is now in Australia, owned by Jason Storey, see here.