The Bond Minicar Mk D
Announced in may 1956 and to most eyes almost identical in appearance to the previous model, the Mk D (1956 example illustrated left) was considered different enough to be designated as a new model of the Minicar. The timing couldn't have been better for Sharp's - the Suez Crisis loomed heavily in the news and economy once again became the order of the day. Though the re-styled front grill and larger rear glass-fibre wings readily identify this model to those in the know, most of the changes were in the form of mechanical improvements.
|Power was provided by the newly introduced 197cc Villiers Mk9E engine with a better clutch, smoother gear changing and from 1957 a four-speed gearbox in place of the old three-speed one. The De-Luxe model
improved electrics using a SIBA Dynastart unit - which
was available with a reversing option. The later allowed
the engine to be started in either direction -
effectively giving such equipped Minicars an effective
reverse gear - ALL the gears in reverse in fact, a
feature which was no doubt tried out by one or two "adventurous"
The same basic range of models was offered for the new Mk D Minicar as for the previous Mk C, though the Standard and De-Luxe versions were now available with an optional glass-fibre hardtop,
|effectively giving an extra two models in the range. The Minitruck light commercial was discontinued and the Family Safety model was now rather more realistically described as "offering motor car comfort" for two adults and two children rather than the somewhat over optimistic 5-seater capacity claimed for the Mk C version of this model previously. As can be seen from the illustration on the left of a 1958 Family model, the sideways facing seats were clearly only suitable for small children. Though Sharp's had done their research and discovered that many of their customers were indeed former motorcyclists who now had families to transport, as the Minicar could be driven on a motorcycle license.
|In fact the Mk D proved to be the company's most popular model to date, so much so that the proposed introduction of a new model that had been announced in December of 1956was shelved. Sales of the Mk D models were considered healthy enough that the cost of re-tooling for the new model could be deferred whilst the currents models popularity was exploited. Such was the situation that it was eventually decided to continue production of the Mk D models alongside that of the new model, the Mk E,
|which finally commenced production in January 1958 and the final model of the Mk D, the Family Saloon, which incorporated a fixed glass-fibre roof, continued well into the production of the subsequent Mk F Minicar into 1959. Illustrated below are examples of the companies sales literature for the Mk D Minicars, with a 1957 example to the left and on the right the brochure for the final Mk D - the Family Saloon.
For more information on the history of the Bond marque click on the book cover for details
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