As we revealed in the November issue of JUST CARS, the vehicle featured was a JZR, which stands for John Ziemba Restorations. Ziemba, a Morgan enthusiast, started his kit car business in the late 1980s, with the aim of creating a Morgan replica kit. Compare the JZR with a 1930s-era Morgan 3 wheeler and you'll see the similarities. Over the next decade JZR produced over 300 kits, sometimes referred to as the JZR 'barrelback', which were sold to enthusiast builders all round the world. Ziemba stopped manufacturing his kits for the UK domestic market in 1998 over an undisclosed legal matter, although a small number were still exported. Two years later, and in a new factory, sales to the domestic market recommenced. Since then, JZR has continued to build and sell small numbers of the Morgan-style kits and, in 2007, brought out an all-new model, the JZR Daytona.
Unlike the 'traditional' Morgan-style JZR, the Daytona features a rear-mounted 955cc inline triple from a Triumph T595 Daytona motorcycle. The Daytona has apparently met its SVA (similar to our ADRs) requirements to make it road legal, although its future remains unknown amid rumours JZR has ceased manufacture. In standard tune, the Daytona engine produces 128hp, with a further 12 horses available with an aftermarket exhaust system. In the original JZRs, performance depended on the donor engine, with anywhere between 50 and 110hhp available. Moto Guzzi has been the traditional engine of choice for the JZR, closely followed by Honda's CX 500 or 650. A small number have also been fitted with Harley-Davidson Evo V-Twins. In terms of appearance, the Moto Guzzi looks more "traditional" than other engines, and visually fits the vintage look of the JZR. However, if 'go' is more important than 'show' you'll take the route of the JZR shown here and fit a Honda ST1100 motor.
JUST CARS recently had a chance to talk to the current owner of this 1996 model JZR, Paul, who told us that while the big V4 1100cc Honda donk does fit the chassis (it's listed as a factory option), the bigger powerplant does wheelspin, even in 3rd gear! Paul's is one of only six JZRs in the world believed to have the powerplant and rear end from an ST 1100. Upon purchase, Paul drove the JZR all the way back to Melbourne from Sydney, a trip that, while it sounds daunting he apparently found quite enjoyable! With an eye on improved handling and better cornering, the front suspension on this particular JZR was widened 4 inches on each side by the original owner. Paul had few problems getting his JZR registered. Being a fully-engineered 1996 model, it met all the current ADRs on safety, construction, plus environmental health rules on noise, hurdles that many other home-built kits fail to clear.
While components for a JZR have varied, the following list, based on the JZR USA importers, gives a guide as to what you get with a JZR kit.
- chassis with integrated lower body
- fibreglass upper body panel
- front suspension A arms
- engine mounts
- stainless steel exhaust pipes
- extended driveshaft
- front coilover shcks
- pedal assemblies (throttle, brake & clutch)
- gear shifter and linkage
- steering column
- stainless steel tie bar
- drive shaft cover
- front A-arm ball joints (upper & lower)
- windshield frame
- speedometer drive
- fuel tank 6.5 gallons
- fender brackets and fenders
- dash blank
- parking brake lever assembly
Aside from the engine, the donor motorcycle parts required include the transmission, rear swing arm, muffler, rear wheel & tyre, rear shocks, speedo & tacho gauges, wiring, battery, turn signals and tail/brake light. Buyers are also required to supply rack and pinion steering, front brake assembly, fuel pump, brake master cylinder, steering wheel, front wheels & tyres and upholstery. While most UK examples tend to use a mixture of Ford, MG and sometimes even Citroen 2CV parts for the front end, the JZR shown here uses Ford front disc brakes, Steering gear from a Fiat Panda, Spax shocks & springs (mated to wishbones of JZR's own manufacture) and MG wheels. Headlights are believed to be bespoke units.
Of the approximately six known examples of the JZR in Australia, Paul's example is believed to be the only one in Victoria. Interestingly, one of the two JZRs in NSW has been converted to full hand-control operation for use by a paraplegic driver. Enthusiasts group, the JZR Pilots Association, estimates 320 JZRs - in the original style - were produced, with owners in New Zealand, Germany, Australia and even Rwanda!