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Quirky Classic: 1972 Bond Bug

Regular readers will be aware that not only am I passionate about classic cars, but that the quirky ones will always hold a special place in my heart. That word is not a bad one to use when describing the Bond Bug. It represented an attempt to bring a bit of flair and excitement to the 3-wheeled market. The Bug wasn’t the sales success that the company was hoping for when released, but it has become a bit of a desirable classic today. This one is looking for a new home, so the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in Hamburg, New York, and while bidding has reached $8,900, the reserve hasn’t been met.

The styling of the Bug is nothing if not distinctive. It reminds me of one of those wedges that you push under a door to stop it from slamming closed in the breeze. Bond Cars Ltd had built its share of 3-wheeled cars during its life, and it was a happy coincidence when Reliant bought out the company in 1969. How could any of us forget the Reliant Robin? It was one of those models that could easily have slipped quietly into the pages of history if not for the attention lavished on it by Top Gear UK. Cars from both Reliant and Bond had been conservatively styled, but the company was after an offering to generate excitement within the youth market. The Bug appeared in 1970, and it was not a car that was going to blend into the background like some automotive chameleon. The wedge styling was always going to grab your attention. If that didn’t, then the Reliant Tangerine Orange paint would hit the mark. This was the color that all Bugs wore, except for six white cars built for promotional purposes. With a fiberglass body, rusty panels are not an issue with these cars. That body is bolted to a steel frame, and the mounting points can be prone to corrosion. However, this one was treated to a full restoration in 2017. The body was lifted off the frame, and after it was sandblasted and powder-coated, the vehicle was reassembled. The result is that there are no issues to raise any concerns. The fiberglass is in good condition, although there are a couple of minor flaws in the paint. The wheels have been replaced with correct reproductions, while all of the correct stripes and decals are in place.

Life inside the Bug isn’t exactly a luxurious affair and is quite basic for a car designed to capture the youth market. The fact that this is a 700ES derivative means that it does feature more supportive seats, along with a padded section over the engine cover. Beyond that, a heater is about the only luxury item. If you want to listen to music on the move, then you’d best bring your iPod. Having said that, the interior must have felt quite futuristic in 1972. The center-mounted switches and gauges and that distinctive steering wheel would have made quite an impression. The interior of this classic is in excellent condition. The seats wear new covers, while the padding and carpet look to be in good condition. There are no aftermarket additions, and the painted surfaces are in good order.

As previously mentioned, Bond and Reliant weren’t newcomers to the 3-wheeled market. Their offerings would have faded had it not been for the unfair attention that the Reliant Robin received at the hands of Top Gear UK. Jeremy Clarkson has gone on record by stating that the Robin they repeatedly rolled in one episode had been specially weighted to achieve that feat. The reality is that the Robin, and more importantly, the Bug, are relatively stable if driven with anything resembling care. That isn’t to say that they don’t have their shortcomings. More than one Bug owner has driven their car over a regular service pit with embarrassing results! This Bug is in sound mechanical health and shouldn’t need a service pit any time soon. Under the hood, we find a 701cc 4-cylinder engine, producing 31hp. These ponies find their way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. That isn’t a lot of power to play with, but thanks to low weight and a wedge shape, the Bond can spring quite a performance surprise. The trip down the ¼ mile might take 20.5 seconds, but if you give a Bug enough room, it will wind its way to 76mph. They are faster than a Mini 850 in a straight line, but they lose out when things become twisty. The engine of this classic received a rebuild as part of the restoration. It was also treated to new brake shoes, suspension bushes, new master cylinders, new wheel cylinders, and new wiring. The owner says that the Bond runs and drives perfectly.

The Bond Bug was sold between 1970 and 1974, but it wasn’t the sales success that the company was seeking. Only 2,268 people were convinced to hand over the cash for one. Their desirability has increased with age, and good ones are eagerly sought. However, that hasn’t seen prices rise to stratospheric levels. They remain affordable and are an excellent alternative for a single person or a couple searching for a classic car to park in their garage. If children are involved, that can complicate things a bit. Maybe the time would be right to impose upon grandparents/aunties/uncles/friends to undertake some babysitting duties while you head out for a bit of motoring fun. See, every problem does have a solution.


  1. acj

    convert to LHD, change tranny to AT, install Antique Air— will buy in 2 weeks with immediate access to 6 number bank acct yeah

    Like 0
  2. Howard A Member

    I don’t know,,,that hearse in the background may be a bit of a deterrent. 3 wheelers, especially right hand drive ones( 2 strikes right off the bat) have no place in our society,,except the ATC which I’ll get to in a minute. If we all drove these, be a different story, but our American driving just doesn’t allow these, even though, this looks like a fun one, in certain applications.

    Like 0
  3. luke arnott Member

    Bond also made some 4 wheeled cars before they went bust.

    Like 0
  4. Malcolm Boyes

    Three wheelers need to have two wheels in front and one in the back and then they are as stable as any 4 wheeler..and much prettier! Think the Morgan and Berkeley T60 to see what I mean. I had two Berk T60’s and, with front wheel drive, they cornered on rails….and looked beautiful. I always wondered why Bond didn’t make a 4 wheel Bug variant..could have looked cool, been much more stable and easy to produce with all the hardware already in place IMHO.

    Like 1
    • BigDoc Richard Van Dyke Sr

      Sorry but I disagree. I have a 3 wheeler with one wheel in front I have never felt the least bit unsafe in driving at highway speeds on twisty roads. Those two wheels in front thing out now may be more stable for some but they look very strange coming down the road. But I have friends that love em so to each his own.

      Like 1
    • luke arnott Member

      The Bug was actually built by Reliant,after they bought the failed Bond company.Reliant did make several 4 wheeled cars.

      Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      Well, IMO the most futuristic & best looking 3 wheeler is this …
      tho the roof could not be more dangerous & the fixed side windows are not practical.
      Note the rear side windows – we’ve seen those on a later production car!

      How bout just 2 wheels!!!

      Like 2
    • JMB#7

      In all good humor, GM had it all backwards with the 1964 Runabout. Finally Aptera is getting it right! https://www.aptera.us/
      It looks like the 1964 Runabout driving backwards which is frontwards.
      The only place you might find one in a barn is at Jay Leno’s garage. However, for the future of Barnfinds, I suggest that we should buy as many as we can afford so that future generations can enjoy Aptera Barn Finds!

      Like 1
  5. Gerard Frederick

    Great looking car, but I would prefer a Messerschmitt KR 201 roadster.

    Like 1
  6. JMB#7

    I am saving my money for the new “Aptera” (I wish). The Bond Bug is a classic, but I would not exercise enough restraint to drive something with one wheel in front and two in the back. Personally I like the Bond over the Robin.

    Like 1
  7. Gazzer

    The reason 3 wheelers were popular in Blighty was that they could be driven on a motorcycle license.

    Like 2
  8. chrlsful

    I’m w/MB above. Mesersmidt, reliant, harley servicar, etc. Even the honda 3 wheel which got banned here. Gimmie the can am, morgan & all the others w/TWO up frnt !

    Like 0
  9. Danno

    I want the one built with serial number 007

    Like 0

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