Friday, March 27, 2020

Lawrie Bond Microcar Man - book review

Lawrie Bond is somewhat of a hero of mine and creator of many intriguing vehicles. The interest stems from my first car being a Bond Equipe - a fibreglass re-bodied Triumph Herald. Lawrie Bond was a designer of minimalist motoring, an enthusiast for fibreglass bodywork and the genius behind some of postwar Britain's most interesting vehicles.

The book Lawrie Bond Microcar Man passed me by until I came across it in a local remainder book store. Probably because it is marketed as a car book and titled as such. The content however is as much two and three wheeler biased as it is towards the four wheelers. A pity really that the book was aimed squarely at the car enthusiast market as this limits its sales and deprives a potential audience of the joys of Lawrie Bond's creations.

In his work Nick Wotherspoon has concentrated on the story of Bond's creations rather than the man himself and has not set out to write a biography. The book is what it is and achieves its aims excellently, though there is surely an interesting story to tell about Bond's life. Following his maverick engineering activities he ended up running a pub in Yorkshire.

For those that are not familiar, Lawrie Bond was the man behind the Bond Minicar: a three-wheeled microcar of admirable austerity - the early models were billed as the world's cheapest car and featured 122cc Villiers engines, aluminium bodies and wire and bobbin steering. The engine sat on a dolly with the single front wheel and reverse could be achieved by turning the motor unit through 180 degrees, thus the Bond could drive as quickly in reverse as forwards. Other Bond creations were the Bond Minibike (a riveted aluminium monocoque scooter lacking suspension but with ballon tyres), the BAC Lilliput (a miniturised motorcycle) and the Oscar Scooter. There was also the somewhat more conventional Bond Scooter that featured fetching fibreglass bodywork and the sporting Berkley range of three and four wheelers. Finally who could forget the magnificent Bond Bug!

The book is of 307 pages, well written, researched and illustrated. A very comprehensive work on Bond's creations and well worth purchasing. If the work had come to my attention before I saw it in a bargain basement bookshop I should have been happy to pay the £30 list price and considered it good value.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Well used BSA Sloper

Some photos of a BSA Sloper that must have been taken during the War (blackout mask fitted to the headlamp). The old Beesa would have been getting a little long in tooth by then as it is a 1931 model - easily recognisable by the instrument panel on the handlebars that was available as an option for one year only.

Posing on the family Beesa.

Note the slightly ungainly instrument panel fitted to the
handlebars. This was an option for just one year - 1931.

Same photo but with one more rider!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Horex VR6

I took a ride over to Moto Corsa in Gillingham, Dorset recently to have a test ride on a Royal Enfield Himalayan (more to come) and was quite taken by this Horex they had recently sold.

This is the VR6 'Raw' model, finished in black and with mag wheels that suit the bike far better than the other models which have wires. Personally I struggle with the point of a naked bike that pushes out 163hp. However the bike is quite a technical tour de force with its narrow angle v6 motor, how they cram so much engine in to such a small package is rather amazing. The bike carries a look of quality (you should expect that for a price tag around £35 grand) but also an air that it is thought out and potentially a lot more dependable than other boutique bikes.

Take a look at the Horex site for more technical details, pretty pictures, hyperbole and hugely expensive merch.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Judging from the amount of old photos I come across of BSA C10s, 11s and 12s there must once have been a lot of them around. Survival rate is not however very large: commuter bikes were generally run to the ground and then scrapped - there're probably more Vincent twins around these days than BSA C10s.

BSA C10 250cc side valve rigid frame alongside the family

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Shepton Mallet Autojumble March 2020

Some snaps of bikes offered for sale by traders at the VMCC Somerset Section autojumble at Shepton Mallet yesterday. Probably the last big event in the country before we go in to Covid-19 lock down mode...

Breathtakingly gorgeous unrestored 1923 BSA combo.
The bike and sidecar have been paired for life. A tall price
of £16,500 was being asked, but how machines of this age
and calibre of condition do you come across?

Great to see the original accessory legshields.
Proper jobs for keeping the horse shite off of
one's legs!

Rear view. The sidecar has a dickey seat.

James scrambler was a bit ropey but has a rare Ajax alloy barrel
and head conversion.

Don't know why but I would like a Swallow
Gadabout in my garage. This one was offered
by Yeomans and carried a tag of £2500 but
came with no documents.

I remember seeing this Greeves Triumph special
out and about a way back. Sadly now it has been
stripped of its Triumph motor.

Not many Clymer / Italjet Velocettes come up for
sale. Less so in unrestored condition.

Sweet little early Velosolex.

Imported tiddler projects were out in force. Here
a Guzzi Cardellino.

Love these early face cam Capriolos.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Back to Basics Historic Bike Summer Camp 2020

I attended the Back to Basics Summer Camp a few years back and really enjoyed it. Sadly I haven't managed to make it again since as I always seem to be at work on the dates it has been held on, the same applies this year. Here though is the flyer for those folks who can make it along.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Bicycle gang

This motley bunch of lads are all on identical cycles. I would take a guess that they are hire bikes and they are on holiday. Going wild for a week at Butlins perhaps?

Bicycle bingo back in the fifties.