AngliasaloonEstateVanPick UpTorinoConvertibleKit CarsSpecials
ModelsMoviesMy CarPhotosPoliceRacingHistoryStoriesTechnical

You are in:

Heron Europa

Heron Europa - (1962 - 1964)

Heron Plastics of Greenwich established itself as a manufacturer of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) body shells for the Austin 7 chassis. In 1960 Heron decided to build and produce their own sports coupe called the Europa.

The car had a steel backbone chassis with outriggers fore and aft to support the running gear. Heron claimed that the wishbones and coil spring independent suspension provided good handling. The car was produced with discs brakes at the front and drums at the rear.

The Europa GRP body was bonded to this chassis and plywood floorpan into which was fitted the Ford engine. This was a Ford straight four Over Head Valve (OHV) unit with a choice of either the 105E’s 997cc engine or the Classic’s 1340cc engine. It was claimed that the Europa fitted with the 1500cc engine had a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 8.5 seconds and could reach a top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h)

The Heron Europa was debuted at the 1962 Racing Car show, and was available in fully-trimmed component form for £580 or in partly constructed form for £730. The Heron Europa was also used as the basis of the MBM Tourismo

  Heron Europa
Production 1962 - 1964:
12 Built
Bodystyle Two-seater
Engine 997cc Ford 105E
1340cc Ford 109E
Engine position Front
Driven wheels Rear

12 examples of the Heron Europa were produced before it was shelved for financial reasons in 1964.

(Article Copyright © MellY Designs - Please do not Reproduce without Permission)

A copy of Practical Motorist Magazine's Review - (April 1963)

For sheer joy of driving, the Heron Europa would take some beating. That was the unanimous verdict of the members of the Practical Motorist test team who drove this diminutive sports saloon towards the tail end of this winter snowfall period.

This had its advantages – no sterner test of the handing of the car could have been provided than was offered by the treacherous ice-bound roads. Unfortunately it also had the disadvantage that no performance figures could be obtained, save for timed “mph per 1,000rpm” data from which the probable peak performance figures could be obtained.

In the Europa, Heron have concentrated on providing just sufficient accommodation for two people; a Ford Classic 1340cc engine (or a Ford 105E Anglia unit of 997cc); and a rear compartment capable of taking a reasonable amount of luggage. The result is a car which is tiny in dimensions – motor cyclists tower above its 3ft 9in roof line – but which is netherless comfortable to ride in. And by keeping the aerodynamic resistance and the weight to a minimum they have contrived to produce an over 90 mph car with vivid acceleration, yet without resorting to any engine tuning whatsoever. Thus reliability and a very fair measure of economy are added to the Europa’s virtues.

The first impression given by the car after one has mastered the knack of sliding into the cockpit through the rather shallow door – is that a very great deal of thought indeed has gone into devising a driving layout which will permit hairline control. And the second is surprise that, despite the rakish build, one is not conscious of sitting unduly near the road. The field of view is excellent, and would be better if the rear window – very generously proportioned – were of safety glass instead of Perspex.

One driver – a size 11 shoe man – experienced a certain amount of discomfort through being unable to rest his left foot anywhere other than on the clutch pedal. That apart, the long arm position; the placing of the pedals; and the support offered by the tailored seats won general approval.

High geared steering in combination with Herald based all independent suspension made the Europa a vehicle, which could be cornered really fast. And it stuck to the road like a postage stamp. A series of half a dozen S-bends, though ice bound, were taken happily at around 3,000 rpm in third gear and the car rode as steadily on its R5.5’s as if it were on bone dry tarmacadam. One the rare fast bends that were completely free from snow or ice it could be hurled through, foot hard down, on the line any driver wanted.

Acceleration certainly felt spectacular, a sharp dig on the pedal I the intermediates, produced an immensely satisfying thump in the back from the seat as the car surged forward. Even top gear acceleration was adequate for most situations on open roads.

Braking on the test car – a prototype – was inclined to be erratic. This was a well used car, with drums all round. The latest version combines rear drums with a pair of discs at the front. Another shortcoming of the prototype –a lop sided heater which enables the passenger to roast his toes while the driver freezes – has also been corrected on the current versions.

Timing over a measured quarter mile showed that the Europa would give 18.6 mph per 1,000 rpm in its 4.1:1 top gear.

At the engine’s peak - the Classic produces 54 bhp at 4,500 rpm – this would give the Europa a top speed of slightly more than 91 mph. In third gear 13.2 mph per 1,000 rpm was obtained and in second gear 6.6 per 1,000 rpm. At 4,900 rpm these would be equivalent to speeds of 64.7 and 32.3 mph respectively.

Driven with the élan which its own inherent qualities encourage, the little car also proved to be an economical vehicle, an overall fuel consumption of between 30 and 35 mpg being recorded.

Built by Heron Plastics, 123 Calvert Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 the Europa is priced at £** in kit form or at £** with the 1500cc Ford engine. A two-stage Weber carburettor can be specified for an additional £25 and there is a choice between a 4.55 and a 4.1:1 rear axle ratio.

Also available to order is an engine taken to any stage of tune, and a five-speed gearbox.