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Bond Cars Ltd was a British car maker. The company was formed by Lawrie Bond in Preston, Lancashire, England in 1948.[1] Initially called Sharps Commercials Ltd, it changed its name to Bond Cars Ltd in 1965.[1] The company was taken over by the Reliant Motor Co Ltd of Tamworth, Staffordshire in 1970 who then quickly closed down the Preston factory, transferring the spare parts business for the Bond Minicar, Bond 875, Ranger van and Equipe models to a firm in Oldbury]] in the West Midlands.[2] Reliant nevertheless continued to use the Bond name until 1974 on Bond Bug models made at their own plant at Tamworth, Staffordshire.[3]

Bond Minicar

Main article: Bond Minicar

1959 Bond Minicar Mark F

Bond Cars began production of an economical three-wheeled car in 1949. It was called the "Minicar Mark A", and was powered by a single-cylinder two-stroke Villiers engine of 122 or 197 cc. Bodywork was mostly aluminium, though some models used fibreglass for parts of the car. It proved very popular at the time owing to post-war economies.

The engine bay of a 1959 Minicar. (Note the unmodified kick-starter on the left of the motorcycle unit.)

The Minicar moved on through several different incarnations, culminating in the "Mark G" in 1961. Convertibles were offered, as were van and estate versions. The engine was upgraded, first to a single-cylinder 250 cc and then to a 250 cc twin-cylinder Villiers 4T (optional on the Mark G). The engines were essentially motorcycle units and therefore had no reverse gear. However, this was a minimal inconvenience, because the engine, gearbox and front wheel were mounted as a single unit and could be turned by the steering wheel up to 90 degrees either side of the straight-ahead position, enabling the car to turn within its own length.

Reverse gear of a sort was offered on later models, but using this involved stopping the engine and starting it backwards. This was done by reversing the Dynastart unit, a device which doubled as both starter and generator. It operated as a starter motor when the starter button was pressed but when the engine was running it generated power instead and recharged the battery.

The last Minicars were made in 1966.[1]

Bond Equipe 1963-1970

Main article: Bond Equipe

Bond Equipe

The Equipe was Bond's first four wheel car, a sports car, with fibreglass two door body fitted on the Triumph Herald chassis with the Triumph Spitfire 1147 cc (later 1296 cc) twin-carburettor engine. In 1967 it changed to the six-cylinder 2-litre Triumph Vitesse chassis and engine. A convertible version was made form 1968.[1]

Bond 875 1965-1970

Main article: Bond 875

Bond 875

The Bond 875 was three-wheeler with a rear-mounted four-cylinder 875 cc four-stroke engine Hillman Imp-derived Commer van engine. It was dropped from the range when Reliant took over the company[1].

Bond Bug 1970-1974

Main article: Bond Bug

Bond Bug

The Bond Bug was perhaps the best known of the company's creations, this was, again, a three-wheeler but with a Reliant 700 cc four-cylinder engine and a top speed of 75 mph (121 km/h). Most were finished in bright orange, and with a body styled by Tom Karen of Ogle Design were a fashion statement in the 1970s. Entry was gained by swinging the roof forwards on a front hinge.

Other products

Other products produced by the company included Motorscooters, a power ski, trailer tents, suitcases, etc.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1. 
  2. "News and views: Bond spares", Autocar vol 134 (nbr 3905): pages 31. date 28 January 1971. 
  3. Robson, Graham (2000). A to Z of British Cars 1945-1980. Devon, UK: Herridge. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 

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