You’ve gotta love the British.  They not only gave the world James Bond, but Bond Minicars, too.  Now, I have my own opinions on who’s cuter, but nonetheless, the car was pretty neat, too.

Lawrie Bond, like so many men before and after him, loved racing.  Any spare money he had went directly to building and improving his race cars.  After World War II, there were fuel shortages in Britain (like so many other places in the world).  This led to difficult times in the racing community and the emergence of lightweight car divisions.  Lawrie, a brilliant designer, loved this new challenge and built new prototypes each season.

Mark G

The perfect shopping vehicle! At least for Lawrie Bond's wife, Pauline

However, Lawrie did not come up with his Bond designs single-handedly.  His wife, Pauline, wanted a car she could take shopping that was a cross between a car and a motorcycle.  That way, shopping bags could have an enclosed space but the fuel economy of a motorcycle could still be enjoyed.  So it was with the help of his wife that Lawrie came up with the first Bond Minicar.

While Lawrie was undoubtedly a bright man, he built the first Minicar on the second floor and had to lower the vehicle to the ground through a hole in the floor.  So Lawrie began making cars at Sharp’s Commercials Limited, a recently established company that produced Chevrolet trucks in Preston, Lancaster.   Bond Cars began making Minicars in 1949.

Bond Minicar

Want me to pick up anything at Target?

The first model was the three-wheeled Bond Mark A.  It had a single-cylinder two stroke 122cc engine.  The car had no chassis; instead, it had a stressed skin made of aluminum.  It featured a three speed motorcycle gearbox, rear brakes only, a kick start, no rear suspension, and a steering system that turned the engine and the front suspension strut as a single unit.  The Mark A fit two people on a bench seat and had an open top.  Top speed was a blazing 35 mph and this model was made from 1949 to 1951.  Fuel economy was good enough to be competitive in this gas-hungry country at about 60 mpg.

The Bond Minicar kept evolving as the 1950s went on.  The Mark B was made from 1951 to 1952.  Essentially, the Mark B was an upgraded version of the Mark A.  This car had a larger (197cc) engine and rear suspension.  It was also offered in a few different body styles, such as a commercial van styling.

The Mark C, offered from 1952 through 1956, was the most popular Bond Minicar.  Customers had the option of an electric start (eliminating the need to open the trunk and kick start the motor) on the 197cc engine.  A worm and sector mechanism enabled the engine to turn 90 degrees.  This allowed the car to turn its own length to further reduce the need for a reverse gear.  Around 14,000 Mark Cs were made out of about 24,500 Bond Minicars total.

Mark C

Not entirely sure if that's true advertising...

Four more models were offered (D through G) over the next ten years.  Engine sizes slowly increased and body styles became more like proper cars.  But the Minicar’s heyday was over; production of the Bond Minicar ceased in 1966 and Bond focused on other larger models.  Bond Cars was sold to Reliant in 1970 and one Bond model (the Bond Bug) was kept in production until 1974.

Today, the few Bond Minicars still existing can be seen (slowly and efficiently) roaming the streets of Britain and the US.

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