1967 Heron Europa
One of only 12 made and perhaps four surviving; Ford Cortina 1500GT engine; steel backbone chassis; GRP body; runs and drives but requires further TLC; interesting project
Now here’s something you don’t see every day – in fact we very much doubt that you have ever seen one at all given that only around a dozen were made in total and this is believed to be one of only four surviving. A most attractive looking car all round, the Heron Europa was the brainchild of George Bishop, owner of Heron Plastics in Greenwich, and made its debut at the 1962 Racing Car Show in London before being displayed at the Geneva Show later that year.
A lightweight sporting coupe with handsome GRP bodywork, the Europa was built on a steel backbone chassis with outriggers fore and aft to support the running gear. Rear suspension used a Triumph-based swing axle with wishbone and compensating link for longitudinal location, while front suspension was by unequal length wishbones with coil spring damper units. Stopping power was provided by 9" discs up front and 7" drums at the rear.
Two Ford pre-Crossflow Kent OHV engine options were available, a 39bhp 997cc unit as found in the Ford Anglia 105E, or a more powerful 78bhp 1,498cc unit as used in the Ford Cortina 1500GT, mated to a Ford 4-speed gearbox. With the larger engine, the Europa had an excellent power-to-weight ratio and could sprint to 60mph in 8.5 seconds with a top speed of 115 mph.
Costing £580 in basic kit form and £755 part-built with the 1500 engine, the Europa wasn’t cheap (about the same price as a Cortina 1500GT in fact) and only around 12 were sold before it was shelved for financial reasons in 1964.
This Europa benefits from the 1500GT engine and must have taken its first owner quite some time to build as it wasn’t registered until March 1967. Nothing is known of the car’s early history but copies of old logbooks on file detail four previous owners between 1985 and 2000 while five old MOTs indicate that it clocked up some 7,500 miles between 1997 and 2002 when it was put into storage.
Our vendor acquired the Europa in Devon earlier this year and has spent considerable time and effort recommissioning the car to get it running and driving after its long lay-up. This has included an overhaul of the braking system with reconditioned calipers, new discs and new pads; recored radiator; refurbished fuel tank; new exhaust sections; new battery; new plugs, points and condenser; Accuspark electronic ignition; new clutch master and slave cylinders etc, with invoices on file amounting to some £1,200 for parts alone.
He reports that although the car now runs and drives, it will still need some electrical issues sorting to get the lights and the horn working and the gear selection will need looking at as reverse has so far proved elusive. As you can see in the photos, the paintwork is also in need of attention as is the interior.
Other documentation includes an original Heron Europa sales brochure and price list (which must be rarer than hens’ teeth) plus a reprint of a contemporary road test from the April 1963 issue of Practical Motorist which praises the Europa’s vivid acceleration, excellent handling and ‘sheer joy of driving’.
On offer here as a straightforward project, this rare and handsome coupe should amply reward the finishing touches required and is sure to attract a great deal of attention once back on the road or the racetrack.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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