The Bond Equipe was a watershed design for the fledgling Bond car company, that had until then only manufactured 3 wheel iterations.
The decision to manufacture a four-wheel car instead of their usual "minicar" variety was born from a desire to find a niche where the company could capitalise on their skill in fiberglass construction. The original prototype design was penned by Lawrie Bond, and featured a particularly handsome fastback rear with small tail fins.
The first Bond Equipe's were manufactured in 1963
and used the Herald's 1147cc engine, but with such a low volume unit it was necessary to make the sole Bond vehicle to boast 4 wheels appeal a little more to the motoring enthusiast.
Using a Triumph Herald
Bond then fitted their own rather elegant two-door fiberglass body. The Triumph Herald was also used to source the components needed to complete the fit-out, it being used as the donor for the windscreen, scuttle assembly and doors.
Bond upgraded the car to the GT4S model, and switched to using the Herald based engine as used in the Triumph Spitfire
. Arguably the best version however would come in 1967
with the release of the 2 liter GT. The first prototype took to the road in May of that year, with the model announced to the press in August.
This new model would instead use the Triumph Vitesse chassis along with its 1998cc 95 bhp (71 kW) engine.
Capable of 100 mph (161 km/h) with respectable acceleration, both horsepower and suspension improvements were made in line with Triumph's Mark 2 upgrade of the Vitesse in Autumn 1968
, and a convertible was introduced at the same time.
Inside the car was a bit of a mis-mash, the Vitesse dash being used however the Spitfire's instruments were incorporated into it to ensure a more sporting feel. The trim too was an amalgam of Bond and Triumph materials, although the rear folding seats were a strictly Bond affair which, although being spacious, offered very limited head room. The finishing touch came courtesy of a Les-Leston wood-rimmed alloy steering wheel, while the options list included Laycock-de-Normanville overdrive, centre-lock wire wheels and a radio fitted in a new centre console.
The Bond Bombshell - Bond Equipe 2 liter GT
Handling Not Up To Par
While the 2 liter GT is indeed a highly collectable car today, it is the 2 liter GT Mark II that is arguably the most collectable of them all. Criticism of the sloppy Triumph rear suspension, particularly evident when travelling at high speed, had soured the reputation of the spritely Bond sports car somewhat.
Triumph had received their fair share of criticism too, and so changes were made by redesigning the vertical link assembly and adding a lower wishbone system, together with incorporating rubber Rotoflex couplings on the halfshafts.
When Reliant took over Bond Cars in February 1969
, the similarities between the two companies were clear to see: both had built their reputations with small-engined three-wheelers, before diversifying into four-wheeled sports cars in the Sixties – Reliant with the Scimitar and Bond with the Equipe.
However, Reliant had an ulterior motive in buying Bond: they wanted to gain access to the nationwide and international sales network of Triumph, with whom Bond had an agreement covering the distribution of the Herald-based Equipe range.
Fate was to deal this ambition a fatal blow: in the wake of the formation of BLMC, rationalisation was the order of the day, and it was decided that there was no longer room for the Bond models alongside Triumph's own range in the showrooms.
By this time Reliant had already begun developing a new version of the Equipe (which bore more than a passing resemblance to the soon-to-be-released 2-door Morris Marina
), but without the distribution deal, work on the new car was halted and, indeed, production of the existing Equipe range was wound down, finally ending in August 1970
The closure of Bond's two Preston-based factories followed, although Reliant continued to produce the three-wheeled Bond Bug (which it distributed through its own dealerships) until 1974
, when the Bond name was finally consigned to history.