Lawrence (Lawrie) Bond was born in 1907. He spent WWII working for Blackburn Aircraft as a design engineer. His passion was for racing in the minor formulae and he had some success. He is most remembered for the Bond Minicar, the Berkeley and the Bond Equipe GT. He also designed and built light-weight motor-cycles.
Bond’s is a strange story because although his talent was recognised early on, large-scale manufacture was not what he wanted to spend his time on. He was a hands-on kind of man, more at home in a small workshop or his drawing-office, rather than a board-room. Bond’s employees and associates held him in very high regard. He was an inspirational designer.
In 1947 Bond was toiling away on his 3 wheeler Minicar project, developed from his 1945 prototype. He well understood the difficulties the British public was experiencing with post-war rationing and wanted to produce a car that the average man could afford to buy and run. The motor industry itself was struggling with material rationing. British industry had won the war but lost the peace!
Bond`s Minicar car was primitive and unsophisticated to say the least. Most people would expect doors, for instance. Lawrie Bond deemed them to be unnecessary! The 1948 version had no doors, roof or reverse gear and the `starter` was a kick-start under the bonnet! In the subsequent years the Minicar went through many revisions and improvements, becoming almost civilised!
The eccentric British law-makers had decreed that a three-wheeler was a motor-cycle if it had no reverse gear. It benefited from a much lower
road-tax charge and could be driven on a motor-cycle driving license. The public responded well to the Minicar and it sold quickly. Early in it`s production Lawrie Bond had sold the design to Sharpe`s Commercials on the understanding that the car would continue to be called the Bond Minicar. Sharpes changed their company name to Bond Cars Ltd in 1963.
Lawrie Bond busied himself doing free-lance design work, notably the Berkeley sports-cars and Bond`s 1963 Equipe GT. In 1965 Bond designed a new 3 wheeler for Bond Cars, the 875. Lawrie was still designing Formula 3 racing cars and built three of them. One of his cars, the Bond Formula Junior, a front-engined, front wheel drive car was still racing at the end of the 1960s.
In 1969 Reliant took over the Bond operation but continued to produce the Bond 3 wheelers, notably the Bond Bug, still using Bond`s name. Lawrie Bond became a publican but retired when his health began to fail. He died in 1974.
© Photos: Sharp, Bondcars.net
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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.
In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.
As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.
At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!
When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.
I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.
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