Bond Racing Cars

 

Bond Type-B "Doodlebug" - Lawrie Bond

Throughout his life Lawrie Bond's first love was motor racing and all too often the few profits he made from his more commercial designs were quickly spent on his latest racing car project. The late 1940s was a difficult time for the sport and saw the emergence of a new light weight 500 cc class of machines with Lawrie becoming a well known, if less then successful, figure at such events. His first machine - the Type-B, nicknamed the "Doodlebug", Bond, made its debut on 21st June 1947 at the Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb. The tiny machine was
unique to say the least. Powered by a 499 cc Rudge Whitworth motorcycle engine, it featured an aluminium monocoque shell and unusually, front-wheel drive. He came 5th in his class out of eight starters at this first event and in July of that year went on to win the class on Jersey, but an accident back at Shelsley Walsh in September and new rules being announced for a National 500cc Formula saw the end of the Type-B. 
Lawrie set about designing and building a totally new and much more ambitious machine for the 1948 season and the Resulting Type-C Bond, illustrated right, was a indeed a very professional looking machine. Again a lightweight stressed skin aluminium monocoque shell formed the basis for the new Type-C, with the 497 cc Speedway JAP engine mounted in a "Elektron" alloy cast frame, which also supported the specially designed wishbone-type front suspension.

Type-C Bond - Charles Fothergill

Type-C Bond cutaway

Front wheel drive was utilised, with Bond designed alloy wheels and inboard mounted front brake drums to reduce the unsprung weight. The completed vehicle had an incredibly low dry weight of just 398 lbs. - requiring the addition of ballast to bring it up to the 500 lb. minimum of the new formula. The Type-C Bond was considered an extremely advanced design and being claimed to be capable of 100+ mph, much was expected of it .In order to finance the project, Lawrie marketed the machine to be built to order. However delays meant that it was not ready to qualify for its first scheduled event and subsequent races 
saw little in the way of competition success, with top placings invariably going to the highly successful Coopers. In total only 3-4 Type-C Bonds are believed to have been built and only one is believed to have survived, albeit much modified (illustrated right). The project did however attract much attention form the motoring press and the machine remained highly regarded, no doubt helping to establish Lawrie Bond's reputation in the design field and leading him to become a well-known figure, acquainted with many of the motor racing personalities of the day. 

Surviving Type-C Bond

Bond Formula Junior in 1961 - Jon Goddard-Watts

It was to be 1960 before Lawrie was once again able to turn his attention to his passion for racing cars - much to the dismay of his business associate at the now named Lawrence Bond Cars Ltd at Loxwood, Essex, as Lawrie began turning other (paying) work away! Built to conform to the new Formula Junior category, the new Bond racing car (illustrated left) was once again a highly advanced if somewhat unconventional design. The shell was , uniquely at the time, a stressed skin monocoque shell - this time glass-fibre with a network of aluminium and  steel inserts bonded in. 
Powered by a Coswoth-tuned Ford 105E engine & gearbox via a newly designed differential/transfer box to the Front wheels. Front suspension was double wishbone with coils spring/dampers units mounted above the upper wishbone to allow room for the drive shafts. 
Rear suspension used low-pivot swing axles and braking was outboard front and rear with twin hydraulic master cylinders operating on specially designed combined alloy hubs/drums with bolt on alloy wheels. Despite making a favorable first impression and arousing much expectation, the Formula Junior Bond failed to achieve success in competition and the car only competed twice with the official Bond team, with Jon Goddard-Watts as the driver. Only two racing cars were apparently built, with only one actually completed and this languished 

Formula Junior Bond - Chris Featherstone

unused at Loxwood until the firms closure in 1965/66. The car was sold and raced by Chris Featherstone in the late 1960s - illustrated above, until damaged in an accident. The car survives to this day and has recently undergone a full restoration.

 

Book cover

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

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