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Throwback Thursday: 1964 Bond Equipe GT initial drive

The gone Bond automobile association is not one of a best famous — most recall it, if during all, for a bizarre, wedge-shaped Bug of 1970.

Bond started in 1949, with a introduction of a Minicar, a three-wheeler with a two-stroke engine. It was designed by Lawrie Bond, an operative from Preston, and was built in a Lancashire city by a blurb association called Sharp’s.

After a sincerely successful run (total prolongation totalled 24,482 cars), Sharp’s motionless to concentration a efforts in a automotive field, renaming itself Bond Cars and rising a initial (and, as it incited out, only) correct (see four-wheeled) automobile in 1963.

This was a Equipe GT, a two-door sports coupé a length of, and significantly reduce and narrower than, today’s Ford Fiesta.

It was assembled in partnership with Triumph, regulating a horizon of a Herald and the gearbox, brakes and 63bhp 1.1-litre engine of a Spitfire. The cessation (also Triumph) was eccentric all-around, with a behind pitch axle, while a physique was assembled from fibreglass, a still comparatively new material.

It was pitched, according to Autocar, during “motorists who differently would like to possess a sports automobile yet are deterred by a need to accommodate a immature family” and those “who wish some-more than dual seats in a automobile of radically sporting character”. The cost for a coupé was £822, that is homogeneous to around £15,800 today; a sportiest thing we can get during that cost now is substantially a Seat Ibiza.

Although by a some-more unsentimental blueprint a Equipe weighed 50kg some-more than a Spitfire, a opening was still good, with a 0-60mph time of 17.6sec compared with a Spitfire’s 17.3sec.

“An evident sense is of a zeal and fibre of a small four-cylinder engine,” we said. “It revs openly and sensitively right adult to 6000rpm without vibration.

“A frail empty note accentuates a sense that this is a unequivocally peaceful energy unit. Sufficient energy is accessible for a restart on a 1-in-3 incline, supposing tranquil purchase trip is used to keep a revs up. The expostulate takes adult smoothly and purchase pedal vigour is pretty light.”

We found a 4 primer gears to be well-spoken and easy to change, with a miss of synchromesh in initial being of “decidedly unsentimental value” and third “the ideal ratio for attack hills and for categorical highway overtaking”.

The float was judged to be “excellent on pretty well-surfaced roads”, nonetheless “potholes in a highway caused conspicuous thumps, sounding as yet a cessation had bottomed”.

We continued: “On pavé, there’s serious bottoming and aroused straight transformation as yet a wheels are incompetent to keep gait with a irregularities, and on a rarer washboard form of aspect there is a lot of skip vibration.

“An compared critique of a Equipe on bad roads is a volume of round startle entrance behind by a steering. This is excessive. The forgive for this trait is a unequivocally accurate shelve and sail steering associated to levity of control and a remarkable turning circle.”

As for a handling: “There is amiable understeer during first, that lessens and gives approach to oversteer when a extent speed for a given dilemma is approached. The behind wheels still slip outwards rather abruptly.

“Steering improvement quick retrieves a situation, and as a car has a noted bent to nose into a dilemma on a overrun, instead of using wide, a Equipe should assistance a motorist out of difficulty if he takes a hook too fast. On soppy roads, a bent for a tail to slip is accentuated. No matter how tough a Equipe is thrown about on a winding road, there’s frequency any roll, and usually aroused braking brings any criticism from a tyres.

“Disc brakes are propitious during a front, drums during a behind and, nonetheless there is no servo, response to utterly light pedal vigour is good. The motorist occasionally has any qualms about interlude quickly.”

There were some estimable and worrying flaws with a early-production exam car. First, we beheld that “the steel doors and Herald scuttle did not ideally align with a residue of a bodywork”. Then we realised that the steering round pattern blocked a driver’s perspective of a instruments, nonetheless this wasn’t as bad as a fact that one of a screws worked lax on a severe road. Before long, one of a quarterlights also mislaid a bulb during a exam drive, digest it unopenable. And, misfortune of all, “a low-pressure area along a sides of a automobile causes a frameless windows to crawl out, withdrawal a estimable opening from a rubber seal”. 

Thankfully, things were a small improved inside, with “the apparent comfort and finish being many pleasing”.

We said: “Thick wobble carpets cover a building front and rear, and a seats and side trim are in glossy black PVC.

“The seats themselves are of Bond’s possess pattern and are generally comfortable. Based on a steel framework, they are deeply padded and give unequivocally organisation parallel support to reason a occupants in place on corners.”

However, like in any 2+2 coupé, head room wasn’t good in a rear, with a dais being suitable really only for children. Leg room was adequate, however. If we were to expostulate dual up, with a behind seats folded forward, there was “really thriving luggage space”.

The Equipe was facelifted after in 1964, gaining a Citroën Ami-like quad headlight appearance. A 2.0-litre coupé indication arrived in 1967, formed on a Triumph Vitesse, followed by a convertible. Production came to a end in 1970, after 4389 examples had been built.

The Bond marque was dropped after a Bug died in 1974, carrying been underneath a tenure of Reliant, and so relocating to a West Midlands, in 1969.

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