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The Bond scooter, made in Preston and Longridge

Posted on - 30th October, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Longridge, Nostalgia, Preston News, Ribble Valley News
Ad for the Bond Scooter range from 1961 Pic: Preston Digital Archive
Ad for the Bond Scooter range from 1961 Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The Bond car company of Preston was known for its quirky vehicles. We have already looked at the Bond Minicar in an earlier article. Here, the Bond motorcycle and scooter are featured. After the Minicar, Lawrence ‘Lawrie’ Bond turned his attention to developing a range of small lightweight motorcycles and scooters. Lawrie moved to a workshop in Longridge after the war.

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The Bond company was originally know as Sharp’s Commercials and became Bond Cars Ltd in 1963. It was eventually taken over by the Reliant Motors. Unfortunately, the Preston factory closed in 1970, although the Bond name lived on with the Bond Bug in 1974.

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Post-war fuel rationing

Petrol rationing was reintroduced in June 1948 at the rate of 90 miles per month. Coupons were issued depending on the horsepower of the vehicle. The ration was doubled during the summer months of 1949 and 1950. Therefore, any vehicles that used little fuel were welcomed. There had been a period during the war when any private use of petrol was banned.

The Bond MiniByke

The Bond MiniByke from 1949 Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The Bond MiniByke from 1949 Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The Bond Minibyke was launched at the 1949 Motorcycle Show and was a bizarre looking machine of unconventional design. The motorcycle was made of aluminium with a tubular frame that housed the fuel tank. There was only one model available at the time, with a fairly meagre 98cc engine. This engine, however, gave a good fuel consumption figure of 200MPG and a hair raising top speed of 50MPH.

The design was crude with no rear suspension, damping being provided by the large low pressure tyre. The front eventually received telescopic dampers after repeated failure of the front forks. A deluxe version appeared in 1950 with an uprated 125cc engine. The machine was marginally successful and the manufacturing rights were sold to Ellis Ltd of Leeds who continued production until 1953. Only 750 of the Bond MiniBykes were produced.

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The Bond Lilliput motorcycle

The Bond Lilliput motorcycle from 1951 Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The Bond Lilliput motorcycle from 1951 Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The Bond Lilliput, a lightweight motorcycle, debuted in 1951. Lawrie abbreviated the name of his company to BAC, The Bond Aircraft and Engineering Company. Not to be confused with the British Aircraft Corporation founded in 1960! The Lilliput was a short lived project ending in late 1952 with only 200 made.

The Bond (Sharp’s Commercials) scooter range P1-P4

Ad for the Bond Scooter range from 1962 Pic:. Preston Digital Archive
Ad for the Bond Scooter range from 1962 Pic:. Preston Digital Archive

By the late 1950’s Sharps Commercials were eyeing what Lawrie Bond was up to with scooters, in Longridge, and decided to create their own Preston made machine. The P1 shown above was meant to compete with foreign imports such as Vespa and Lambretta. The P1 was powered by a 148 cc Villiers Mk 31C engine and had glass fibre bodywork. It also had a 12v electrical system and even an electric starter. Sharps had invested heavily in the scooters but despite considerable advertising and entries in the Isle Of Mann TT Races, in 1958,59 and 60. production ceased in 1962.

A publicity shot for the Bond P4 scooter Pic: Preston Digital Archive
A publicity shot for the Bond P4 scooter Pic: Preston Digital Archive

The Bond factory was in Gosford Street. The last car made by Bond’s was the Ford Capri lookalike, the Bond Equipe GT. It was announced in 1967 and will be the subject of a future article. 

The Bond Minicar Factory, Gosford Street Pic: Preston Digital Archive
The Bond Minicar Factory, Gosford Street Pic: Preston Digital Archive



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