Orange Peeler: 1973 Bond Bug

081016 Barn Finds - 1973 Bond Bug - 1

This floating car (there’s actually a wheel under there!) is a 1973 Bond Bug and it’s in lovely Burntwood, United Kingdom, 30 minutes north of Birmingham. This unusual three-wheeler is listed on eBay with a current bid price of ­£5,000 ($6,505) and there are over three days left to get your bids in and line up shipping.

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To say that a Bond Bug fits snugly in my interest area is the world’s biggest understatement. Originally conceived by Bond Cars, Ltd., the Bond Bug was eventually produced by Reliant Motor Company, Ltd when they took over Bond in 1969. The Bond Bug was made from 1970 to 1974 and they only came in one color/colour like the Ford Model T. That is, they only came in orange, not black; but from what I hear, orange is the new black. Where was I?.. The company did make six white cars for a cigarette company promotion so if you ever come across one of those, buy it!

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Yes, this is a three-wheeler. Yes, they are more prone to tipping over if a person were to, say, weigh them down in strategic, hidden areas in order to cause rollovers in an attempt at humor. Not that any British tv personalities would ever do such a thing with a three-wheeled vehicle, ha, what am I thinking.. The seller doesn’t give too much info about this particular Bond Bug, but it’s obviously been restored and it has been “rebuilt on a new galvanised chassis.”

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They must have loaded this photo in backwards! Kidding..  This is as nice of a Bond Bug as you’ll probably ever run across this side of an Edd China-restored model. The Bond Bug is about a 394 kg (868 pound) car so they’re light. The whole top “canopy” lifts off instead of having individual doors. The interior is in restored condition here and it looks great. The seats were placed low for more of a sense of speed and it did have the chops to sneak up to about 75 mph! Would any of you do 75 mph in this Bond Bug? There is a proper 4-speed transmission here, which is nice.

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Normally the Bond Bug came with a 700 or 750 cc four-cylinder engine with around 30 hp, but the seller says that this is an 850 cc engine, so it’ll have a little more grunt than usual. I have to own one of these someday, that’s all there is to it. Have any of you ever driven a Bond Bug, or even seen one in person?

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    Isn’t this the car that Jeremy Clarkson rolled over multiple times while doing a bit on top gear?

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Nope. That was a Reliant Robin.

  2. Chebby

    lol “Bong Bug”. This is pretty cool though.

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    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Staff

      Ha! Just seeing if you were paying attention, Chebby.. (thanks for catching that!)

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  3. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Have seen but not driven. No lie, saw one at a UK show 3-4 years ago with a Hayabusa engine. Scary! Great find, Scotty!

  4. grant

    Holy crap this thing will do 75?!?! In-freaking-sane. Love it.

  5. Rock On Member

    Saw one, two years ago on display at the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. This is a by invitation only, car show, in Owen Sound, Ontario. Needless to say, but the car was in mint condition!!!

  6. wynkin

    I have had three Reliants they are good on gas and good fun for two wheel driving. Don’t roll one they disintegrate, driven sensibly they are fun and frugal.

  7. Jubjub

    Sweet. Would be awesome parked next to the Tasmin.

  8. zaphod

    P.O.S. Good for going straight through roundabouts. Why does anyone even look at these things anymore? It’s not eccentric, it’s bloody insanely dangerous. Worth a bottle of gasoline to burn it.

  9. ClassicCarFan

    I remember these from growing up in the UK. They weren’t that common but you did see a few on the roads. I think this would be a cool car to own and drive on short local trips, certainly a bit of a novelty and probably more fun to drive that you might imagine. I’d guess that the performance at lower speeds would probably be quite adequate? Not masses of power obviously, but the car is so light. Not a car for the open freeway and I’d never feel over confident about handling with any three-wheeler like this. I think the “2-wheels-at-the-front-and-one-at-the-back” layout like the old Morgans is considered the better set-up?

    You have to keep in mind the local market at the time when this was built. Roads and driving spaces in towns in UK are smaller and tighter than in the US and running costs were relatively higher – so small light cars like this had some appeal. As often mentioned on these sites, three-wheelers also qualified for some driving license and taxation benefits in the UK (rated more like a motorcycle).

    The color and styling is pure 1970s – but Hey, it’s a car from the 1970s !

    Sorry to be a curmudgeon, but can we somehow stop the uninformed repetition of nonsense from Top Gear in the comments. I saw the featured car here and just wondered how long it would take someone to mention “didn’t Jeremy Clarkson tip one of these over?” No, he didn’t. That was a different model of car (and that whole thing was faked anyway). Top Gear is great TV, great entertainment, but it’s just a comedy. The jokes are scripted, the stunts are generally staged or faked. It’s aimed at the sort of “car guy” who can tell you the max bhp and torque figures for the Maclaren vs the Veyron, but wouldn’t know how to change the oil on their own car…

    Thanks at least to BarnFinds for referencing Wheeler Dealers’ Ed China, in contrast to TG – Ed is really all about the cars.

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  10. Mark in WNC

    Why call something a POS ? If you don’t like it just go on to the next page. (I’m having to remind myself about “no personal attacks”

  11. PAW

    Some real life facts to you who judge these from your sofa based on picture on the computer screen. And yes, I have one, 750ES from 1974.

    I did not expect anything, but it is surprisingly good to drive. Naturally one must remember that these are 40y+ old and judge it accordingly. Quote from a friend riding with me; “You need to drive this less to keep a straight line than I do with my 2008 Audi S4”.

    The car is light hence it keeps up with modern day city traffic relatively well. Would I drive it “coast to coast” – no, would I take it (again) to motorway – no. There are better cars for both.

    Is it unstable? No, but trying hard enough the journalists in Sweden managed to flip Mercedes A-class on its roof. Driving the bug alone, it turns faster to right, as this is where your weight is. Again it lifts left rear easier as you are on the opposite side. It is low hence its center of gravity helps. With a passenger it balances out.

    Funnily enough I enjoy driving the Bug more than most of my other cars. It is just plain fun. And you never see a grim face when you drive it. Opposite what occasionally happens when you drive one of the exotic brands in the stable

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