AJ Williams's Heron MJ1

AJ Williams picked his Heron up from the previous owner in Auckland on June 27, 2004. See all AJ's galleries here.

This car, on delivery.

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Anthony J Williams - HERON LX6410

In February 2004 a good friend of mine (Andre) was at the Auckland Car show, and noticed a Yellow Heron in the car park. Andre and I have been interested in Heron’s for many years, and he knew I was still wanting to buy one at some stage. This Yellow Heron ( TOLOW) had a For Sale sign on it so Andre took the rego down and promptly rang me the same day.

From here, I did a Reg check on the car and got John Evans’ details, I rang John and had a good talk to him about his Heron, what he had done to it and what sort of figure he was looking at.

I realized that John’s car was a bit out of my price range; John said that he knew where there was a Heron that had been sitting for 10 years and that it might be for sale. Thanks to John he had Colin and Gloria Morman's details and so I rang Colin and we talked about his Heron.

Colin had ordered his Heron in 1983, and it was delivered in 1985, (although Registered in 1984)

This is a Summit Engineering built car, Number 14, 2000cc Fiat Twin cam, 5 Speed, painted Silver with light grey leather look upholstery and burgundy coloured inserts in the seats, the door panels and the roof lining.

Based on the conversations that I had with Colin, (a few of them) I decided to fly up to Auckland to look at the car. Previously Andre had visited Colin, looked over the car, taken a few photo’s and sent them to me. I liked what I saw and so I was really looking forward to visiting Colin and seeing the Heron.

When we finally got to Auckland it was straight to Colin’s and lets see the Heron, it would be fair to say that I really liked the Heron straight off, however the closer I looked the more concerned I became. The car had been sitting for 10 years in the same place the WOF long expired and the Registration has run out in 1984, it smelt damp, the rear wheels were locked solid the brake pedal went straight to the floor and the clutch pedal was locked solid also.

We left Colin’s house and I had cold feet, there was just too much work to do on the vehicle to get it on the road so all weekend in Auckland I was trying to convince myself that it would be OK, In the end I decided no, so we had a great weekend but no Heron.

Over the next 2 months I asked everyone I knew how much would it cost to do this? and that? On the Heron as I still wanted to own it. I rang the LTSA again to confirm what was needed to get it one the road, they again assured me, it only needs to be brought up to WOF standards and put it through the Testing Station as it needed to have a real thorough test, the first one in 10 years, as the Rego and WOF had long lapsed, because it was New Zealand new and previously Registered this was all I had to do……………(Yeah Right)

I priced all the possible ways to get the Heron to Christchurch and decided to ring Colin again and after about a month we decided on a price and I arranged to drive to Auckland and trailer the Heron back to Christchurch.

The first photo’s are of the Heron the day we picked it up in Auckland, we got it on the trailer quite easy really, dish wash liquid on the ramps and a good winch to get it up onto the trailer, tie it down and we’re off. One proud Heron owner.

We drove to Wellington via Rotorua to say hello and meet Paul at Rotorua Fiberglass, then on down to Christchurch.

First stop was my brothers’ garage in Rangiora to drop off the Heron and to start work on it.

We took the plugs out and filled the bores up with MD4 to help when we turned the motor over, Colin had told me he had filled the bores up with Reddex so I was hopeful of getting it fired up reasonably quickly. Well the best laid plans….the motor was locked solid and we tried for days to free it. We kept filling the bores up with MD4 and even diesel, in the end we decided to pull the motor out. While this was happening I managed to get both rear brake hubs off, these had suffered from Rust, lots of it, as the photo’s show. These were sent away with both the brake and clutch master cylinders to be reconditioned. When they came back I put them in and we bled the brakes, however the rear brake lines were all corroded and we had to replace both sides. At least the motor was out and it was easy to get into the engine bay to replace the lines.

At this time I went off to the US for 3 weeks and a well earned rest.

When we returned from our Holiday, my brother had the motor back in and running. He had managed to free it up and I was one happy Heron owner.

So, we had the motor running, the master cylinders and rear brakes totally reconditioned, new brake lines and The interior all cleaned up, and I’m taking it for a drive!!

Now, where do I go…….especially as I had no Reg or WOF.

Down the back roads and out of everyone’s sight was the best option. The car drove OK, however, the brakes were rubbish and the steering was hard and notchy, not a comfortable drive at all. I drove the car for about ½ an hour up and down the back roads and even though it was hard on the steering and the brakes were non-existent I still had a big smile, this was the first time LX6410 had been driven since 1994.

Where to from here, back to Paul’s garage (my brother) and off with the rear drums, to check the seals, as I hadn’t replaced these, they needed doing and the pistons had to be honed. Then I looked at the front brakes, oh boy!! The calipers were not working at all, both sides were seized, I tried to get new seals and pistons but this was not an option as I would have to wait for some to be ordered and shipped to NZ. I managed to get two more complete calipers and fit these.

Now both the front and rear brakes were totally new.

While this was all happening, I took the Radiator out as it had a small leak and I took the Steering rack out to try and free it up. The Radiator came back repaired, I gave it a paint and it was ready to go in. The Steering rack, I pulled apart and totally flushed it out and cleaned it inside and out, filled it up with grease and it went back in nicely.

Now I needed a test-drive to see if the Radiator held, if the Steering was free and turned smoothly and if the brakes worked to a WOF standard. I went out for a drive, the Radiator was fine, the steering was great and the brakes were OK.

Now I had to check the minor details to get it ready for a WOF and VIN. Once we thought it was close I booked it into Vehicle Testing and, as I had a course on the day they could do it, my brother took it through. Now the fun begins…Vehicle Testing said you need to have this car go through a Low Volume Vehicle Certification, something we didn’t think we had to do as I had rung LTSA on 4 different occasions to check what I needed to do to get this particular car on the road. On every call I was told that all that was needed was a Vin, a thorough WOF all performed by Vehicle Testing.

We went through the WOF and it needed 1 x wheel bearing, Tyres, they were perishing on the walls even though the tread was brand new. The motor was 90mm from the ground and it should be 100mm, the headlights needed adjusting and they needed to Vin it and etch the rear window.

I rang LTSA again to find out about the LVVC, again I was told by 2 different people I only needed a WOF and Vin, however they suggested I ring one more person in Wellington to confirm this. I telephoned LTSA and was told that I definitely had to have the Heron Low Volume Certified, not what I wanted to hear, but at least I had an answer, and from someone who knew quite a lot about Herons.

I booked the car in for it’s Low Volume Certification, and once again I was at a meeting on the day so Paul took it in for me. 20 min work and $550.00 later and the tester was not happy with a number of things, Brakes…. surprise, surprise. The battery didn’t have a bracket to secure it down, the fuel filter wasn’t secured, a number of things he wasn’t happy with. We fixed all the issues as well as the WOF failure issues and had the Certifier re-test and drive the car. This time he said yes, everything is OK it has passed the Low Volume Vehicle Certification.

Boy was I happy, now what happens next?

We wait…(approx 1 month)………… for the Certification plaque so it can be attached to the car and then I can take it back through Vehicle Testing for its WOF and Registration.

Well it’s 6 weeks and still no certificate, I rang the certifier and he says, “ It takes a long time for the process to happen, especially with ground up custom built vehicles” so I wait………….

In the meantime I have taken the wheels off, split the rims and taken them into Elite wheels to have them polished and painted. The new tyres are here and I have just received the new front disk pads, we decided to buy some good quality pads to help reduce some of the spongy feel the brakes have,

I am also going to buy a remote power booster and hook this up to the Engine and further enhance the brakes.

What are my plans now?

1) Get the Low Volume Cert

2) Get WOF and Reg

3) Run the Heron and put some Km’s on it so I can be confident of its reliability.

4) Replace the upholstery inserts in the seats, door panels and the Roof lining to a more modern colour tone.

5) Re paint the whole car…..more than likely keep it silver, but a real nice shade and gloss.

6) Enjoy driving and owning a car that I have wanted for many years.

To be continued…………………………………

7 Dec 2004

Well, today we finally got the Low Volume Vehicle Certification plate on the Heron (took seven weeks), and took it through

Vehicle Testing to have it re-checked and get the WOF

Success!!!! We now have the Heron Registered and WOF’d and we are mobile.

So the list gets smaller, from here I will drive the car and get some Km’s on it, as I still find it’s a nack to start it, and after sitting

for 10 years the engine will need a few runs to see how it is.

Its great to have it finally on the road, we collected the Heron from Colin and Gloria on the 27th June 2004 and I’ve put

Things on the drawing board…

1. Look at the Upholstery

2. Repaint the car

3. Twin exhaust pipes..(As it is does not do the car justice)

The following pictures were taken just before it left Auckland.

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Click on the image to view it at full size.
Click on the image to view it at full size.
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The car had locked-up rear brakes. After disassembly, a large amount of rust was found - hardly surprising after the car has been standing for such a long time.

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Click on the image to view it at full size.

The engine was also in a sad state - seized solid due to rust in the bores.

It looks OK from this angle...
And this...
But up close, thing start to look a little scarier.

After quite a bit of attention, things are looking up!

Original wheels, tidied up
All road legal!

And the finished product, a fresh coat of paint - a superb restoration!

Click on the image to view it at full size.
Click on the image to view it at full size.
Click on the image to view it at full size.
Click on the image to view it at full size.
Click on the image to view it at full size.
Click on the image to view it at full size.
Click on the image to view it at full size.
Click on the image to view it at full size.

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