Minicar Mark B
|Production||1951–1952 1,414 made|
|Successor||Bond Minicar Mark C|
|Engine||Villiers 6E 197 cc (12 cu in) Single cylinder 2 stroke|
|Length||9 ft 1 in (2,770 mm)|
|Width||5 ft 0 in (1,520 mm)|
|Height||3 ft 9 in (1,140 mm)|
|Kerb weight||420 lb (190 kg)|
Progressive development of the Minicar and Minicar De luxe continued until the more significant introduction of coil sprung independent rear suspension. This provided an ideal opportunity to relaunch the car as the Bond Minicar (Mark B) in July 1951.
Much of the design work for the Mark B, in particular the rear suspension, was carried out by the engineer Granville Bradshaw. Bradshaw had become involved with the Minicar at the invitation of his brother Ewart Bradshaw, the owner of Loxhams and Bradshaws Group of which Sharp's Commercials was a subsidiary.
The rear suspension system was of the sliding pillar type, a block carrying the stub axle rode up and down on two guide pillars mounted on a solid casting bolted to the side of the body. The block's vertical movement was controlled by coil springs. The front suspension was upgraded with a hydraulic shock absorber
Externally, the difference between the Mark A and Mark B Minicar were very subtle. The rear mudguards were slightly smaller but wider to accommodate the wheel movement whilst the storage area behind the rear seats was also enlarged, increasing the cars overall length slightly and changing its rear profile. Beneath the bodywork, there were improvements to the electrics and to the braking system. The hood was also redesigned to provide more head room inside the car.
Only one version of the Mark B Tourer was produced, and all production cars had the Villiers 6E engine and triplex glass windscreens.
Sharp's Commercials 1951-1952
At the motorcycle show in November 1951, Sharp's announced what they described as "a revolutionary design in the field of commercial vehicles". The Sharp's Commercial 3 Cwt, took the concept of the Minicar's light, three-wheeled, utilitarian design, and adapted it as the basis for an open-top lightweight industrial vehicle. The prototype at the show was powered by an Indian Brave 250 cc (15 cu in) four-stroke engine, mounted in a cradle ahead and above the front wheel. Though described as "constructed on the stressed-skin principle", large cut outs to allow easy access from either side of the vehicle required much additional strengthening to the floor, with a central steel backbone girder, a cross member between the rear wheels and further triangular bracing. The single seat was located centrally as was the steering wheel. Steering was by worm and sector, and flared side panels allowed the single front wheel to turn a full 180°, making the vehicle extremely manoeuvrable. The entire engine, drive-train and steering unit could be removed by undoing four bolts to allow for easy servicing. Unlike the Minicar, there were brakes on all three wheels and there was a wooden-slatted floor behind the driver.Though the Sharp's Commercial never entered production, it served as a forerunner to van and pickup versions of the Mark B which appeared in 1952.
The Sharp's Minitruck, was the pickup version, which outwardly was very similar to the Mark B Tourer, but included an extension of the bodywork behind the rear wheel. It also replaced the Tourer's bench seat with a single seat for the driver although unlike the Commercial, this was conventionally placed on the right. The extended goods compartment and space alongside the driver provided a claimed load capacity of 3 long cwt (150 kg) and 24 cu ft (0.68 m3). The open-top vehicle had a folding hood with a roll-up flap at the back of the car to assist loading.
The Sharp's Minivan, was introduced around 11 June 1952 alongside the Minitruck. It had the same load capacity and also shared the same extended length of the pick-up, but had an enclosed aluminium compartment behind the drivers seat with a side hinged rear door. A short fabric roof covered the gap between the van compartment and the windscreen.
A further final development based on the Minivan was the Bond Family Safety Saloon. Additional side windows were fitted to the rear compartment of the van and two small hammock type seats were added either side of the rear door facing inwards. With the bench seat of the tourer replacing the single front seat of the van and pickup, this gave enough room for two children and two adults. It's not known how many Safety Saloons were produced as factory records do not distinguish between the saloon and the Minivan.
Total production for the Mark B was 1414 vehicles including 240 Minitrucks and 80 Minivans.