Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
Following the take over of Bond in August 1970 Reliant
stopped all Bond models but prior to this, they had commissioned Tom Karen of Ogle Design (Ogle being the companies design consultants) to produce a sports 3-wheeler for the "young" generation. This was to be sold under the Bond name as the "Bond Bug".
was introduced in June 1970, early iterations being manufactured at the Bond factory in Preston but shortly afterwards, when the factory closed, Bug production was moved over to Reliant at Tamworth. (UK).
The Bond Bug used all the mechanics of a Reliant Regal, including the 700cc water-cooled engine. The only non-Regal part was the coil spring suspension
at the rear of the car (instead of the Regal's telescopic damper.)
The Bug featured a complete glass fibre body in a futuristic wedge shape that had a lift up front canopy that incorporated the side windows and allowed access to the vehicle. Every Bug that was made was painted bright orange with black seats and trim, although six white Bugs were produced for a Rothmans cigarette promotion, one of which was also used in an advertisement for Cape fruit. Its fame was helped along by a distinctive Corgi Toys die-cast toy car.
The vehicle came in three specifications; the 700, 700E and 700ES. The 700 was the standard model that featured none of the luxuries found on other models. This resulted in a prop being used to hold open the body and no side screens. The 700E was the deluxe version that included a telescopic canopy damper, side screens, heater, and a number of extra internal features though a spare wheel was still classed as an extra.
The 700ES was the same as the 700E but was powered by a higher compression engine and featured a spare wheel, wing mirrors, mud flaps and a racing steering
wheel amongst many other additional features.
, at the same time as the launch of the 750 Reliant Robin, the Bond Bug 700 models were discontinued in favour of the new 750cc engine.
In contrast to the stereotypical image of three-wheeled Reliants as being ridiculously slow, the Bond Bug was capable of some 78 mph (126 km/h). This compared favourably with a number of four wheeled performance cars of the same era. The car was, however, not cheap. At £629 it cost more than a basic 850 cc Mini which was at the time £620.
Two new models came out which were the Bond Bug 750E and 750ES which apart from the larger engine were almost identical to their 700cc predecessors. The Bond Bug however was not as successful as Reliant had hoped and so after some 2,268 vehicles were built manufacture stopped in May 1974, which also brought an end to the Bond name.
Today the Bond Bug enjoys a fanatical following, and is much sought after by collectors, and has an active and enthusiastic club.