Mike van Bokhoven's Heron MJ1

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This is the second Heron MJ1 body built, made directly after the first prototype. However, the body ended up with some problems, so it was shelved and another body built to replace it. Eventually, it was disassembled and reassembled correctly, and painted a metallic blue.

The body was displayed at the Motor Show in Auckland (date unknown, perhaps 1983?), suspended above a set of mechanical gear to show how things were arranged. After that, it was repainted in yellow, and offered as a prize in a Cascade lottery. It was won by an elderly lady, who decided to sell it on. It was sold by Torino Motors in Newmarket, Auckland. From that point to the time it was bought by Terence Austin (who I bought it off), its history is unknown.

I bought the car in late 2003. As you can see in the pictures below, it wasn't in good order when it arrived. I'd bought it essentially blind; all I could see was the rear, rear wheels and back, as it was stuck in a lock-up garage with other gear closely stacked around it. Given the price though, I decided to go ahead. The first task was to strip off the 3 coats of paint. The original metallic blue had gone off badly, it was bubbly and generally sick. The yellow coat seemed to have lasted reasonably well, apart from large areas of cracking and peeling. Lastly, a powdery matte black coat had been applied. It took some time to strip all of this off, as you might imagine, but in general I found solid fibreglass underneath. The fibreglass was mostly a lot better than I'd anticipated. There were huge fibreglass patches all over the car, but on removing these, perfect fibreglass was found underneath of all but one. Most of them seemed to have been applied in the belief that the big cracks in the yellow coat of paint were in fact in the fibreglass, which wasn't the case. However, serious damage was found at the bottom of both A (front windscreen) pillars, and at the top of the B (behind the doors) pillars. This was probably due to lack of torsional strength, caused by the gutting of the entire rear end from the rear bulkhead back. A massive steel frame had been fitted in its place, but due to its weight and the lack of proper anchoring, this would have made the body flex problem even worse.


Gallery #0 - Once, it looked like this...

Gallery #1 - As it was when I bought it.

Gallery #2 - Paint stripped, surfaces refinished (nearly), the mechanicals stripped out.

Gallery #3 - With the wheels it might end up with.

Gallery #4 - The donor car that the new engine, brakes etc are coming from.

Gallery #5 - Paul repairing the damaged panels.

Gallery #6 - The Heron arriving back home, Rotorua Fibreglass Industries, to be remanufactured.

Gallery #7 - Heron #2 upside down... aagh, don't drop it!

Gallery #8 - Heron #2's engine being fitted up by Paul in Rotorua.

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