When you hear the words ‘Bond car’ you immediately think of sports cars kitted out with everything from Stinger missiles to ejector seats…but, in reality, the original Bond cars were something very different.
Founded by Lawrie Bond in Preston, UK in 1948 Bond Cars Limited were renowned for making economical three-wheel family cars.
The first of these produced was the Bond Minicar Mark A, a four-seat family car that was powered by a front mounted, 122 or 197cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke Villiers engine. As you can see from the posters, it was cheap on gas, tax and insurance!
As this was effectively a motorcycle engine the car could be driven on a motorcycle license. The downside of this was that the car had no reverse gear but, as the engine, gearbox and front wheel were mounted as a single unit, the car could turn a full circle within it’s own length by turning the steering wheel up to 90 degrees either side of the straight-ahead position.
Van, estate and convertible variations were also available and the last version ever made, the Mark G, rolled off the production line in 1966.
The Minicar was then superseded by the Bond 875, a much more powerful three-wheeler, relatively speaking, that was powered by a rear mounted, 875cc four-cylinder four stroke engine.
In 1970 Bond Cars Limited were bought out by Reliant, another British company famed for their three-wheelers, who commissioned Tom Karen of Ogle Design to come up with a prototype for a fun sports car.
A two-seat, three-wheeled sports car, the Bond Bug ran on a front mounted 700 cc Reliant light-alloy four cylinder engine and it’s design and color could not have come from any decade other than the 1970s!
One final note, designer Tom Karen was also the man that designed the Land Speeder for 1977’s Star Wars movie…the comparisons are there for all to see!