1949/50 BOND MINIBYKE

Lawrence ‘Lawrie’ Bond (1907-1974) was a Preston, Lancs, born designer/engineer who served his apprenticeship with Atkinson and Co, manufacturers of steam wagons, and later worked for first Meadows Engineering (who manufactured engines for various cars, including Invicta) and then – during World War Two – for the Blackburn Aircraft Company.

In 1944 ‘Lawrie’ established his own Bond Aircraft and Engineering Co (BAC) making aircraft and vehicle components for the war effort. With military contracts ceased, he produced his own diminutive 500cc single-seat racing car, the ‘Doodlebug’, the Type C Formula 500 racer, and in 1948 his first two-seat, three-wheeler, the Bond Minicar. With manufacturing of the Minicar licensed to Sharps Commercials, of Preston (26,500 would be produced) he then announced the Bond Minibyke in 1949.

With post-war steel production prioritised for export (plus Lawrie’s passion for lightweight and simplicity) the Minibyke was constructed mainly of aluminium. The ‘frame’ was a tapered, rolled alloy tube, and front and rear all-enveloping mudguards were of the same material. The headstock was cast aluminium. (It has been said that the end of the War had left Bond with a pile of unused aluminium sheet!)

Power for the MiniByke was a 98cc Villiers two-stroke bolted to a steel strip cradle, the gearbox was two-speed, and (like Bond’s earlier vehicles) and brakes were 4ins diameter drums. In common with Bond’s earlier designs there was no suspension: ‘springing’ relying on the 4.00 x 8ins low-pressure tyres, although un-damped front hydraulic forks were fitted later. Top speed was advertised as over 45mph and fuel consumption 200mpg! The price was £69. 17s. including purchase tax.

The Minybike was a limited success. Bond manufactured around 150 at their Longridge, Preston, works before selling the manufacturing rights to Ellis Limited, of Leeds. A total of 750 Minibykes were produced before production ended in 1953. The Bond name would continue on specialist sports cars and the Bond Bug until 1974.

 

THE COLLECTION’S EXHIBIT

The exhibit was donated to the collection by Jim Bassett, and it is thought this might even be the prototype Minibyke. It has been completely restored by volunteers of the Vehicle Section at Shuttleworth.

 

 

Manufacturer: Bond Aircraft & Engineering Co Ltd., Towneley Works, Longridge, Lancs (later Ellis Ltd., Leeds)
Model: Possibly the prototype (?)
Engine: 98cc, two-stroke Villiers
Top Speed: 45-50 mph