Bond Minicar Mark D

Bond Minicar is a series of economical three-wheeled microcars which were manufactured by the British car manufacturer Sharp’s Commercials Ltd (the company was renamed Bond Cars Limited in 1964), in Preston, Lancashire, between 1949 and 1966.

In May 1956, the Mark C was discontinued and the Mark D introduced. The changes between the last Mark Cs and the Mark D are, like those between the final Mark As and the Mark B, almost entirely hidden from view and the cars are externally identical. Beneath the Mark D bonnet however, Villiers had substantially upgraded the 197 cc (12 cu in) engine, which now became the Mark 9E. The main changes were a 4-plate clutch, a heavier final drive chain with simplified adjustment and a higher top-gear ratio. The 9E was said to produce a 12½ per cent increase in power over the 8E, providing a claimed 8.4 bhp (6 kW; 9 PS) at 4,000 rpm. This increased the cruising speed to around 45 mph (72 km/h), with a top speed of 51 mph (82 km/h). Electrics were upgraded from 6 to 12 volt, allowing more powerful headlights with separate side-lights within the headlamp units. All Deluxe models include the SIBA Dynastart. Other changes which had been gradually introduced onto Mark Cs over the years, were carried over to the Mark D. This included items such as strengthened rear suspension, chrome side flashes on the front wings of Deluxe models and larger rear lights with integrated rear reflectors. As well as the slight weight increase, Sharp’s also noted that ground clearance on the Mark D was now only 6.5 in (170 mm) compared to the Mark C’s 7 in (180 mm).

Four versions of the car were offered by the factory: the two/three seater Standard Tourer and Deluxe Tourer and the four seat (two adult front seats and two child-size inward facing hammock-style seats) Standard Family Safety and Deluxe Family Safety. The two/three seater models were also available directly from Sharps with a detachable fibreglass hardtop. Similar aftermarket hardtops had been introduced earlier in the year for every type of Minicar from the Mark A to the Mark C Family by the Sharples Engineering Company, who were also based in Preston.

The revised engine was reported to give the Mark D notably better acceleration, better climbing ability and lower fuel consumption in direct comparison with its predecessor. Reverse via the Dynastart unit became an option from October 1956 on the Deluxe models.

With the introduction of the Mark E in December 1957, the two/three seater Mark Ds were dropped from the range as were the hardtops and the Standard version of the Family Safety. The Deluxe Family Safety continued in production alongside the Mark E and by August 1958 still accounted for about 25 per cent of production.

A four-speed gearbox replaced the three-speed version in October 1958 and the model was renamed the Family Tourer.

A final version of the Mark D, the Family Four Saloon was shown at the 1958 Motorcycle show. This car had a lengthened rear wings and tail section and a built-in hardtop with side windows and wrap around rear screen. This version never entered production, and only one is believed to have been produced. Production of all versions of the Mark D ended in November 1958, although the Family Tourer remained listed as “available” until the 1960 range was announced.

Assembly: Preston (Lancashire, United Kingdom)

Years of production: 1956—1958

Production: 3,761 units

Length: 9 ft 10 in (2773 mm)

Width: 4 ft 9 in (1,493 mm)

Height: 4 ft 2 in (1,280 mm)

Engine: 1 cylinder; 197 cc

Power: 8 HP

Max speed: 80 km/h

Weight: 240 kg

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