BOND EQUIPE REVIEW

If you want a British coupé that’s brimming with character, then the Bond Equipe could be for you...

The Bond Equipe coupé was launched in 1963. Known as the GT2+2, it utilised the robust and adaptable chassis from the Triumph Herald clothed in a mixture of steel and glassfibre panels and was initially fitted with the 1147cc engine from the Spitfire, while later versions gained higher-capacity Spitfire engines.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Bond Equipe GT2+2

Engine                                    1147cc/4-cylinder/OHV

Power (bhp@rpm)                  63bhp@5750rpm

Torque (lb ft@rpm)                 67lb ft@3500rpm

Top speed                                90mph

0-60mph                                  17.6sec

Consumption                            30mpg

Gearbox                                    4-spd manual
 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK & CHASSIS
 

The mix of steel and GRP used in the Equipe means careful checks are needed. Rot in that Herald chassis is a concern so you’ll need to check areas such as the outriggers and chassis rails as well as the bulkhead, scuttle panel, sills, floorpan, doors, rear wheel arches, and windscreen frame. Apart from the doors, the majority of the upper panels are GRP. Quality varied between cars when new so watch for cracks and crazing that indicate damage, and pay particular attention to the large front-hinged bonnet and the hinges themselves. 

A good look at the body mounting points is advisable too – a car that feels baggy or rattly on the test drive could have problems here. Check the boot area, too as there should be wooden panels covering both the spare wheel well and sides. These are often rotten, damaged, or completely missing.

 

ENGINE

The Triumph engines are well-proven and are neither costly nor difficult to overhaul in the main. Oil leaks, excessively smoky exhausts, and general neglect are the main problems, though early Spitfire units suffered from wear in the crankshaft thrust washers. Fore/aft movement of the crank pulley when the engine is off and the clutch is depressed means trouble and failure will damage the block, effectively destroying the engine. Cooling systems need to be up to scratch so watch for signs of overheating although flushing the system and fitting a new radiator will usually cure any problems. Otherwise, proof of regular servicing will provide peace of mind. Interestingly the Stromberg carburettors of the 2.0-litre Vitesse engine were normally of American specification, and adjustment screws can be sealed due to emissions regulations – worth bearing in mind if the car runs poorly.

 

RUNNING GEAR

Worn synchro on second gear and rattling layshaft bearings (the noise should disappear when the clutch is pressed) are the main issues, while a sloppy gear linkage is easily sorted.  Mk II models used ‘Rotoflex’ rubber couplings for the driveshafts – vibration from the rear of the car meaning replacement is imminent. The disc/drum brakes are trouble-free and cheaply overhauled while the suspension should be reliable with regular fettling. The rack and pinion steering should feel sharp, so anything else points to perished rack mounts or a worn column universal joint. 


INTERIOR

Improving a tired interior isn’t difficult, but its worth nothing that many may have been modified over the years. The ‘ambla’ vinyl fitted to some models is difficult to find, and you should check convertibles for signs of water ingress. Most important is the Les Leston wooden wheel that some cars were fitted with, they are getting very valuable, so take this into account when negotiating.

 

OUR VERDICT

With style and rarity in its favour, not to mention terrific value, it isn’t hard to see why the Bond Equipe holds such appeal. The mix of steel and GRP construction can make major restoration a costly affair, but find a good one and the Triumph underpinnings mean day-to-day running costs are very wallet-friendly. The helpful and enthusiastic owners club offers a wealth of knowledge and advice too.

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