Heron XR1

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.

A short piece on the Heron XR1, by its current owner, Steven Chappell.

This car was designed by Ross Baker of Rotorua in 1985 as a concept car for a proposed new class of sports car racing offering a competitive car for modest outlay of money. The engines were relatively standard and the chassis components were sourced from production cars of the time.

This car has an aluminium monoque chassis, Triumph Herald front suspension, fabricated rear uprights and A arms, Rover V8 engine driving through a Skoda transaxle which has been modified to a five speed. The body is a Heron XJ1 with the top cut off.

The car was finished around 1990 and for raced for a couple of seasons then put into storage. It was purchased by the present owner in October 2000.

Some work was required to meet present day racing regulations namely a new roll bar and mounts, and also repositioning of the battery. The brakes and clutch were also seized due to the storage, and as work commenced it was decided to completely restore the car.

The new roll bar mounts were fabricated and welded/riveted to the existing ones and an approved roll bar was made. The seats were altered to accommodate the taller driver and on the passenger side the battery was relocated for ease of access and covered.

All the Triumph Herald front suspension was overhauled, crack tested, bushes replaced and painted, at the rear the Heron fabricated uprights were crack tested and coated. The Herald brakes were overhauled and coated, as were the wheels. The rear trailing arms were replaced with rose jointed ones and the gearbox and engine stripped overhauled and rebuilt.

The aluminium monoque chassis was inspected, cleaned and polished, the rear subframe and any other steel component was repainted during the rebuild.

When finished at the end of 2002 the car was run at Pukekohe where some small teething problems occurred, the most annoying of which was that the starter was unreliable. A new ring gear and starter have since been made and fitted and the clutch relined, at the moment the car has not been tested again due to work commitments and weather, however hopefully it should run again soon.

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