When Production Cars are subjected to extreme stresses of motor racing, problems occur that were never envisaged by the manufacturer. Ron Harrop is an engineer who spends most of his waking and working hours finding solutions to these problems.
In 1968 Ron first became involved in motor sport through two legends - Norm Beechey and Bob Jane. The family engineering business, started by his father Len, was located in Brunswick close to Beechey's Speed Shop and Jane's Autoland car yard, and Harrop Engineering was always doing machining and fabrication work for the duo.
These contacts got Ron interested in making cars perform better, so he bought and modified an EH Holden, which went pretty good in its day. Although he was not interested in racing, he was talked into a street drag race against another EH which was having some success at the Calder drags. The Harrop machine won, and a racing career was launched.
Although he ran at Templestowe and Rob Roy hill climbs in a Morris Minor fitted with an MG TC engine, Ron's early competition was mainly drag racing. The EH won its class regularly at Calder, and Castlereagh in Sydney, even though it was being used as a road car. Eventually the mechanicals were transferred to an FJ body. This car, named "Harrop’s Howler" was a sensation, doing an 11.8 second standing quarter, with a speed through the traps of 118mph, and won numerous National, State and "Mr Holden" Championships.
In the early 1970's an association began with Harry Firth and the Holden Dealer Team. This brought lots of work into the engineering shop, and it soon became recognised that Harrop equipment was the gear to have. The focus was on the long distance touring car races, particularly Bathurst, where the shortcomings of the production running gear and brake systems were emphasised by increasing speeds, better tyres and the ever present Holden and Ford rivalry.
Ron still managed to fit some motor racing into his increasingly hectic business life. He drove at Bathurst on different occasions with Charlie O'Brien and John Harvey in HDT cars, and then had an association with Warren Cullen for some years. In 1978 Ron had a big accident at the end of Bathurst's Mountain straight in a HDT Torana A9X after the brakes failed. (not, it must be said, a Harrop component!). The car hurdled the concrete barriers, flew through the air, hit a power pole and came to rest. He was shaken but unharmed.
Since 1986 Ron has not raced, preferring to concentrate on providing world class engineering services to a diverse customer base.
In late 1993, the Holden Racing Team, via Tomas Mezera, approached Ron to provide some technical assistance to boost their performance. This proved positive and the following year he became the Chief Engineer for the team. During the 5 years that he held this position until resigning in 1999 the team became the benchmark.
As well as specialised race components Harrop Engineering manufactures prototype and production parts for the automotive, rail, mining, medical and scientific industries.
The engineering excellence is clearly evident in the products now produced and on the drawing board at Harrop Engineering. The customer responsive and technology driven manufacturing facility performs to the highest international quality standards.
Today Harrop employs 8 Specialist Engineers across our Design, Quality & Production disciplines who form part of the total team of 55 dedicated staff delivering the quality and service Harrop Engineering has become renowned.