The Bond Minicar Mk C
The 1951 Motorcycle show saw an event that would have serious implications for Sharp's - The Bond Minicar was no longer the only three-wheeler exhibited - Reliant unveiled there new Regal four-seat vehicle, due to go into production for 1952. The Bond would still have a considerable price advantage and better fuel consumption, but the company wasted no time in developing a new Minicar. A new streamlined prototype Bond exhibited at the same 1951 show had attracted considerable interest and Sharp's set about
|developing this into a new production model - the Mk C Minicar (above) which was announced in September 1952 with limited production commencing in October of that year. Full production commenced in January 1953
|and the new vehicle was quite different in appearance to the older models, though Lawrie Bond's original monocoque bodytub still formed it's basis. The large dummy front wings were not merely decorative, but allowed room for a completely new steering mechanism to be utilised. This allowed the complete front wheel drive unit to turn 180º lock to lock and gave the Mk C the ability to be literally turned around within it's own diagonal length. This was to become something of a trademark of the Bond Minicar and is often demonstrated to amazed onlookers at micro car rallies today! Other features of the new body included a much improved and strengthened bulkhead and a small opening passenger side door. Power was still provided by the same 197cc Villiers unit and with a confirmed
|fuel consumption of 85-90 mpg, Sharp's advertising for the new model played heavily on this, heralding it as "The world's most economical car" (above). Passenger comfort was also made a major consideration on the Mk C
|with vibration damping of the engine and a completely new rear suspension using bonded rubber "Flexitor" units being incorporated, as well as greatly improved weather proofing. Initially 3 models were offered; a three seat "Standard" model, a "De-Luxe" model with electric starting and the "Minitruck" light commercial version. These were soon joined by a Family Safety Model, fitted with two rear sideways facing hammock style seats for children using the slightly extended bodyshell and hood already used for the Minitruck.
|The Mk C continued in production until 1956 with some 6,700 leaving the Preston factory and naturally various improvements and modifications were made to the vehicles during this time. Also a whole new market was recognised by the factory and a range of modification kits to update older vehicles was offered as well as all sorts of "bolt-on goodies" and accessories. Surprisingly though no toy manufacturer seems to have seen fit to produce a model version of such a novel little vehicle.
|Or so it was thought, until a visitor to a Bond Car Club rally produced the charming model Mk C Minicar illustrated here from his pocket! This toy is definitely manufactured and not scratch-built and uses a friction type motor to propel it. Apart from "Made in England" stamped on the tin-plate base there is no indication of manufacturer. Any information on this model or the whereabouts of one for sale would certainly be of interest!
For more information on the history of the Bond marque click on the book cover for details
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