click to enlarge
1972 Bond Bug

In 1969, Reliant (founded by T. L. Williams who had been building cars since 1935) merged with Bond. Most Reliants were three-wheelers, though claiming to be full-fledged cars as opposed to motorcycles from the very beginning. As a result, Reliant became the biggest UK manufacturers of three-wheelers. Although the Bond plant in Preston was eventually shut down, another Bond car was produced under Reliant management – the Bond Bug of 1970, a completely fresh new wedge-shaped car with a fibreglass body.

The Bond Bug, designed by Tom Karen, managing director of David Ogle Ltd., got rid of the idea that three-wheelers had to look like four-wheelers in the UK. Why design an awkward-looking radiator if the wedge-shaped front had the desired effect already?

The new car, being technically a motorcycle, was not allowed at the Motor Show, so Reliant scored a publicity coup by building a Bug whose body was joined Siamese-style back to back and showing it as a "four-wheeler" instead.

The recesses for the headlights and fresh air were somewhat rough and ready. The car is boarded like an aircraft, i.e. by tilting the cabin lid forward. And, like the Morgan with its exposed engine at the front, the Bond Bug is not too afraid to show its rear axle and exposed coil springs.

The Bug was produced for the 17 to 25 year-old age market and it was just offered initially in just one colour – a bright tangerine orange. It could be driven with a motorcycle license. When the Bug was discontinued in 1975, it was the end of Bond as a name.

This car was restored in England by Ivan Smith during the 1990's, having been bought in Uxbridge in poor shape. It was sold on Boxing Day 1995 to Norfolk.

Manufacturer: Reliant Cars, Tamworth England

Model: 700 E Motor: Reliant Rebel 4-stroke Body: Fiberglass
Years Built: 1970 - May 1974 No. Cylinders: 4 Chassis: Steel Tube
No. Produced: 2276 Displacement: 701 cc Suspension Front: Coil
No. Surviving: H/power: 29(E), 31(ES) Suspension Rear: Coil
Length: 2730 mm Gearbox: 4 + rev Steering:Rack
Width: 1550 mm Starter: Electric Brakes: Hydraulic
Weight: 868 lbs Electrics: 12 v 3 Wheels: 5.20 x 10"
Interior: 2 seats Ignition: Coil Top Speed: 72 mph

© 2002