The Bond Equipe GT 

 

In the early 1960s Sharp's Commercials Ltd. of Preston had realised that in order to stay in the motor car manufacturing business an alternative to their Spartan Minicars was needed. The company wished to produce four-wheel specialist Sportscars, utilising their skill in glassfibre construction, but for such a small company to produce such a vehicle they realistically realised that some form of deal with a manufacture of the intended vehicles mechanical components would be required. 
The result was a partnership with Standard-Triumph and in early 1963 the prototype vehicle was approved by the latter company. The new Bond Equipe GT (illustrated top left) was announced in May of that year and was based on a modified Triumph Herald's chassis and running gear, with the 63 bhp engine from the contemporary Mk I Triumph Spitfire. 
The bodyshell of the new Bond was once again designed by Lawrie Bond neatly around the scuttle/windscreen assembly and doors of the Triumph Herald, but resulting in a quite different and highly distinctive fast-back styled coupe. The interior of the new GT was also a mixture of Triumph and Bond manufactured trim, with the dashboard coming from the former company's Vitesse, but fitted with Spitfire instruments. The fold-down rear seat was of Bond design and although spacious, the sloping roof line limited headroom, making it only really suitable for two children to travel in the back.

 The overall effect was very high quality and thoughtfully matched, with Microcell bucket-style front seats and a Les-Leston wood-rimmed alloy steering wheel completing the "Sportscar" character of the GT. Sharp's were very keen to promote the sportscar image of the Equipe GT and in November 1963 they announced a specially uprated version, modified by the Triumph tuning specialists - SAH.
Though there were apparently few takers for the SAH Equipe GT, Sharp's were keen to capitalise on the press attention it had received and announced an official entry in the Monte Carlo Rally in January 1964. The works rally car, a somewhat modified ex-demonstration vehicle - illustrated on the right - suffered a series of minor setbacks as the rally progressed and unfortunately reached the finish line some 24 minutes too late to gain a classified place. Further publicity events were organised including an entry in the 1964 Tulip Rally and a 24-hour endurance run at the Oulton Park circuit - successfully completed with the car covering some 1435 miles in the time allowed. 

The success of the Equipe GT was however short-lived and by early 1964 the now renamed Bond Cars Ltd. realised that the shortcomings of the design, especially the lack of an opening boot-lid and the restricted rear headroom, were adversely affecting sales. Certainly the initial enthusiasm for the model had vindicated the company's decision to enter this area of the market.
But it appeared that the "young family man harbouring sportscar inclinations" that the initial model was aimed at, still required something more practical and the model ceased production in October 1964 after only 444 Equipe GTs had been built.
Book cover

For more information on the history of the Bond marque click on the book cover for details 

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