A brief history of the Bond Company
The original Bond Minicar was conceived and designed by Lawrence (Lawrie) Bond. It was built in Preston, Lancashire by Sharp's Commercials Limited - a member of the Loxhams and Bradshaw Group of companies. Production eventually commenced in January 1949. This, the Mark A, proved very popular due to the post war economies and pioneered the 18 year production run of Villiers two-stroke powered Minicars. Production finally ceased with the Mark G in December 1966.
The Bond Equipe, introduced in 1963, was a complete change with tradition being a four-wheeler sports saloon built in association with Standard Triumph. The engine and chassis were taken from the Spitfire and Herald / Vitesse range whilst the main body parts were made in glass fibre by Bonds. The vehicle was then assembled at the Bond factory in Ribbleton Lane, Preston. The success of the Equipe led Sharp's Commercials to formally change its name to Bond Cars Limited in 1964.
The Bond 875 was introduced in 1966 as the successor to the Minicars. This broke away from the previous design by having a completely moulded glass fibre body and aluminium doors. It was powered by the 875cc 4 cylinder, four stroke engine and transaxle unit from the Rootes Commer van.
In 1968 the Loxhams and Bradshaw Group of companies was bought by the Dutton-Foreshaw Group. Unfortunately, Bond Cars Limited (the only manufacturing part of the group) did not fit in with the new structure and was put up for sale. After an unsuccessful attempt by the Bond Management to buy the company, in February 1969 it was bought by Reliant at Tamworth who were also manufacturers of three and four-wheeler vehicles.
It was not long before there were changes at Preston and one of the first saw the wind-down of 875 production in preparation for the introduction in 1970 of the Bond Bug. This radically new design came from the Ogle Studios at Letchworth and was built on a chassis using Reliant running gear.
Although the Bond Bug had a fairly successful launch in June 1970, it was a difficult time for the new owners. Alleged production and quality problems at Preston coupled with the economics of running two similar facilities meant that by August the final Equipes were being rolled off the lines. (Bug production had already been transferred to Tamworth in July). In December 1970 the Preston factory closed for good. Production of the Bug continued at Tamworth until 1974 when it too was discontinued and the name Bond disappeared from the motoring world.