MOTORISTS back in the early 1970s were spoiled for choice when it came to car design, especially if your dreams of getting on the road involved three wheels and a tangerine paint scheme.
One of these ‘Tangerine Dreams,’ the extremely rare ‘Reliant Bond Bug’ made an appearance at the St Patrick’s Day parade this year, when its owner, Bantry man Ken McGuirk took his pride and joy out for its debut run in the event.
‘This was the first time I’ve taken out the Bug since I got it put back on the road,’ Ken told The Southern Star.
‘All we had to do to it was put in new petrol and add a new battery and she started first time.’
The Bond Bug, a 700cc, four cylinder, three-wheeled, two-seater designed and built by Reliant in Tamworth was conceived by designer Tom Karen who was given the brief to produce a sports three-wheeler for the ‘young’ generation.
‘There are only 150 of these Bond Bugs left in the world these days, only 2,207 were built between 1970 and 1974,’ Ken said.
‘I found this one in a garage in Co Wexford and all that was wrong, as far as we could see, was a few scratches on the paint work made by the lawnmower.’
Ken had been looking for a Bond Bug for a long time and when he was told of one sitting in a garage in Wexford he bought it on the spot.
‘The Bug is made from fibre glass, that is a fibre glass body over a steel frame, it is very economical and has a top speed of 130kph, although it is hair raising to drive but very steady on the road,’ Ken said.
When the Bond Bug first rolled off the Reliant assembly line back it 1970 it cost the princely sum of £629 sterling, £9 more expensive than a brand new Mini.
‘After the St Patrick’s Day parade in Bantry I took the Bug on a long drive and we had a great day out,’ Ken said.
‘There are so few left that the car really turns heads when people see it. I will be taking to the road more often now when the good weather comes back.
‘There was a big rally planned for Bond Bug owners that was scheduled to take place in England on the 50th anniversary back in 2020 but this was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic, hopefully this will take place sometime soon,’ Ken said.
For now Ken is going to enjoy driving his Tangerine Dream around West Cork.