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The Bond Equipe 2-Litre


Bond Equipe 2-litre Coupe

Early plans by Bond Cars Ltd. for a 6-cylinder version of their Equipe GT4S came to nothing as the company, anticipating the availability of the Triumph Vitesse powerplant for their cars, began to plan a much more ambitious new Bond Equipe. Initial drawings were commissioned from Trevor Fiore, who had worked for TVR on their striking but ill - fated Trident. However much in-house development work (see illustration below) turned the concept into a practical Triumph based proposition - the Bond Equipe 2-litre - illustrated left. The new design still used the pressed
 steel floor and scuttle assembly from the Triumph Herald/Vitesse, but the latter was now significantly modified with larger more swept back windscreen frame. Whilst the doors used modified Triumph shells, with new 
specially manufactured Bond pressed-steel skins. The result was that the outward appearance of the new Bond Equipe gave little indication of its Triumph ancestry. The first prototype took to the road in May 1967 with the model announced to the press in August of that year. The Equipe 2-litre was powered by the 1998 cc Triumph engine giving the car a genuine 100-mph capability and a respectable 0-60 mph time of 11.5 seconds. The interior was also redesigned and particularly well thought out, with new specially designed bucket seats at the front and improved rear headroom.

Bond design team

MkII Equipe 2-litre convertible at 1968 Motorshow  Optional extras included Laycock-de-Normanville overdrive, centre-lock wire wheels and a radio fitted in a new centre console. Although by no means cheap at 1095, the new Equipe soon began to overshadow its 4-cylinder cousin and production of the GT4S was scaled down in favour of the 2-litre Equipe. As sales grew steadily the Equipe began to suffer from criticism with regard o its handling abilities when cornering at speed, due to its Triumph rear suspension layout. The latter company, experiencing similar problems with their range, consequently redesigned this layout for their 6-cylinder vehicles in order to handle the increased power. 
This was done by redesigning the vertical link assembly and adding a lower wishbone system, together with incorporating rubber Rotoflex couplings on the halfshafts. The Bond company was kept up to date with these modification and announced their Mk II Equipe 2-litre at the same time as Triumph announced their Mk II Vitesse, both cars also featuring a new uprated version of the 6-cylinder engine. Other changes to the Bond were minor, but the real eye-catcher on the company's 1968 show stand was the new Equipe 2-litre convertible - illustrated above.  Bond magazine showing  Equipe 2-litre

MkII Equipe 2-litre convertible

Also built to the newMk II specification the new Equipe certainly attracted attention then, as it does now and it remains the most sought after of the Equipe models - see illustration left.

Although production of the Equipe range continued after the takeover of Bond by Reliant in early 1969, all development of the models was halted, including plans for a convertible version of the GT4S 1300.

The final Equipes rolled off the production line in August 1970 and apart from minor alterations to simplify production, or as stocks of parts ran out and were nor re-ordered, the specification remained unchanged. Behind the scenes it seems Reliant were working on their own update of the Equipe concept - illustrated right - no doubt hoping to capitalise on their new acquisitions relationship with Triumph. However there were drastic differences in the build quality of the late "Reliant" Bond Equipes and the Triumph dealerships - who sold the Equipes - were rapidly

Reliant built Equipe prototype

 running out of patience, as they faced a barrage of complaints from dissatisfied customers. Further bad news for Reliant regarding changes to Triumph, which effectively ended any continuation of the Partnership with Bond, led to the decision to close the Preston factory. Production figures for the Equipe 2-litre record a total of only 1,431 being built, 600 being Mk Is and the remainder being divided fairly equally between Mk II Saloon and convertible models.
Book cover

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

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