BOND BUG 4-wheeler

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drcdb15
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Re: BOND BUG 4-wheeler

Post by drcdb15 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:48 pm

Dave 6726 wrote:This even 'better' one was at MGOC rally at Corbridge recently............
I'm no expert as yet, but that doesn't look like a Webster to me, as the front track is too narrow. As I understand it, a 'real' Webster uses a Mini front subframe, hence the front track and all the steering and suspension gubbins is straight off the Mini. That Corbridge version has narrower front track, suggesting the front end may be a home brew using Kitten/Fox front end. Whether the rest of the body is genuine Webster or whether it's genuine Bond Bug I couldn't say (considering the Websters used the original Bond Bug moulds!), but there are quite a few 4-wheelers around which as I understand it are home brews using a real (= Reliant-made) Bond Bug back with a Kitten front chassis welded on, and then the front GRP work presumably hand-crafted (ie at home, rather than in a factory).

There was a home brewed "Reliant Sprint" (clone) and a 4-wheeler on Car & Classic a few months ago, absolutely stunning jobs, at around £9000 for the 3-wheeler and £12K for the 4 iirc. I did contact the seller who claimed he had built them both himself from Bond Bug origins.

Of course, I presume it's possible to take a genuine Webster body and use a different front end on it, though that would take so much change from just using the Mini parts I wonder why anyone would bother. Whereas mating a Kitten chassis front to a real Bond Bug rear end would make much more sense as a route to a 4-wheeler.

I'll say one thing about the Reliants of *all* genres and marques, they're certainly a voyage of discovery !


Chris
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drcdb15
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Re: BOND BUG 4-wheeler

Post by drcdb15 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:11 am

Yes, I've just checked several web pictures and mine is definitely a Webster (I knew that anyway from the documentation with it) and the "excessive front track" is normal. It's the Corbridge version that seems not to be a Webster - unless it's been modified of course. In fact, there have been loads of 4-wheel adaptations of the Bug, including a rather luxurious extended model that went into limited production in the USA, according to Nick Wotherspoon's latest book (Lawrie Bond - Microcar Man) and pages 267-279 show lots of pictures of some truly awesome creations. Wotherspoon also confirms that the Webster models used a Mini subframe. The front wheel arches seem to be one easily identifiable hallmark of the Webster 4 wheeler.

All the experts say Websters did a 3-wheeler too but as far as I know I've never even seen a picture of one, unless they are identical to the Reliant-made 3-wheeler. I still have some original Webster promotional material I obtained from the company back in 1991 and there is no mention in that of a 3-wheeler as I recall.


Chris
MB61; formerly 1978 SE6A 3.5 V8; 1986 SE6B 2.9 EFi.

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Re: BOND BUG 4-wheeler

Post by minibull » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:36 am

I've no idea how many webster bugs were made, but believe more 3 than 4 wheelers. I've seen 3 of the 3 wheelers, 2 were identical to the original, third had robin clocks,switches, steering column and pedals. Also had seat belts run through body as per reliant rogue prototype.One difference is fibreglass on websters is thicker than on original bond bug. All the ones I've seen have had bond decals on them. Chassis was modified Robin item but many bond versions are also retrofitted with these as for years you couldn't get originals. Most of the 4 wheel websters were actually modified original bugs rather than built from new webster bodyshells. I've had bugs since 1973 and have 2 at present.



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Re: BOND BUG 4-wheeler

Post by upstart8s » Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:44 am

Hi, if I remember correctly, the Corbridge Bug was offered for sale on Ebay at the beginning of this year. I contacted the vendor and he told me that the car was an original 3-wheeled Bond Bug, converted by his (late) father who had been a technician trained by Rolls Royce. I understand he had owned the vehicle from new and had undertaken the conversion over a period of 40 years (to a very high specification) in his garage at home. At the time, bidding was at £2500 and I believe it went much higher (way beyond my pay grade). I wasn't aware of the Websters at the time.
Stu



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Re: BOND BUG 4-wheeler

Post by scimjim » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:03 am

I have the number 22 in the back of my mind for the number of 4 wheeled Webster's built- not sure where that comes from though!

I too thought they made many more 3 wheelers than 4.


Jim King

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