The Garage

Endurance racing

The Family


 This is a historical page about an abandoned project...


I've decided it's time to fill up the garage as it was getting empty. Hence I've bought a project car...well in fact it's not a car, it's a 3 wheeled thing called a Bond Bug, built briefly by Reliant Motor Company in England curing the early 70's. It was intended to appeal to the young swingers of the day, and had a Reliant 700cc water cooled engine and 4 speed gearbox, with a solid rear axle, but my plan is to change that a little. Bugs are quite "futuristic" looking, and will turn heads even today! (Have a look at if you want to know more about Bugs). There were only 2000 or so built, so finding a project was not so easy, however, now I have a car, the fun(?) can begin...



The Bug is now 100% stripped down, revealing that the chassis is more-or-less scrap, with holes rusted through it that I can put my whole arm through and crappy welded patches everywhere. I have removed most paint from the body, revealing rather a lot of accident damage, to say the least, as well as poor quality repairs. The fibreglassed-in canopy steel tubing is all scrap and so far I have cut half of it out, the rest will go soon.

  Critical parts of chassis front...

Studying the car construction has led me to a few conclusions about how I will rebuild and modify it, at the moment the plans look like this; BMW K100 motorcycle engine, mounted slightly further back than standard engine.

 13" x 5" wheels on rear, 155 x 55 tyres

 13" x 6" on front 185 x 55 (probably) tyre

 Get a "new"    chassis, it's not worth fixing the old one!

 Modify chassis to lower the car

 Instruments from BMW K100

 Whole wiring harness (modded) from BMW K100

 Front disk/caliper from Mini, I hope.

 Standard rear drums

 Original rear axle, but gearing must be changed A LOT...

 Front sticky up headlights to be replaced with frenched in smaller ones

 Improved anti-roll and anti-dive suspension systems

 Existing Panhard rod arrangement completely redesigned as it's useless

 Some sort of LSD for rear axle, or even traction control!!

 Maybe convert into a targa top style car

At the moment I'm still cleaning up parts and examining what I've got, but much of the above looks "do-able", unlike some of the more deranged projects I've seen..! -and anyway, I guess a power hike from 34bhp to about 100 is reasonable... :v)

Some pics from the stripdown, after stripping most of the paint:

   Front/nose area

   Rear side




Updates to plans:

 The rear wheels probably need to be 12" x 5", as 13" is likely to be too big

 An LSD is probably out due to the steer effect! However traction control (of a sort) still looks at least possible. It looks like I will keep the (or at least <a>) solid axle, because the chassis would need to be much stronger for IRS, and it would not necessarily improve the handling much. 

 I doubt I need to add any anti-dive (or anti-squat) into the suspension, the car is not heavy or high enough really.

 I may change the gearing via an intermediate gearbox (a way to get reverse), we'll see...


Ok, now I have a BMW K100 donor (well, most of a K100 anyway..) At least, I have the parts I need, namely the engine in a rolling chassis and all ancilliaries, plus the loom and black boxes, controls etc. I don't yet have any instruments. The poor old K looks as though it's had a hard life, although it spins over ok and seems to have good compression etc. So far, I have stripped most of the parts such as the tank, loom, injection and filters, ignition etc, but the engine is still in the frame. I might leave it there until I clean everything up, then temporarily put it back together and use it to fire it up for testing, before I start trying to wedge it into the Bug!

First impressions are that a K engine is a bit bigger than I thought! - it is wider than I expected and not as compact in general. It is quite low, which is good (ignoring the injection 'gubbins' on top), but the width will get in the way in a Bug. I will have to look carefully at just where it can fit, but it looks like the engine compartment area will need some changes whatever I do....

For anyone that's interested, the K100 is about 50cm wide, and about 35cm from sump to the engine top surface. I may be able to save space by canting the engine over at 20 degrees or so from it's normal horizontal position.


I decided to remove the K engine from the bike frame and have removed it's gearbox, clutch, clutch housing and associated parts like alternator, starter etc. This was because although the K is reliable, they have a reputation for slipping starter clutches, and it's not at all easy to check or fix in situ. It also means I can replace a couple of minor items like the clutch friction plate (uprated maybe?) and some oil seals perhaps.  So far, everything looks in very good condition, with no work needed, even the oil seals, and it's pleasant to work on an engine as well engineered as the BMW one is. All details are well thought out and there's no cost cutting. 


K engine stripdown proceeds apace, and it all seems to be in very good nick. The engine top end and cams are fine, as is the starter clutch etc., and I'm having to work hard to convince myself that it needs a full stripdown - probably I'll stop once I have checked out some of the shell bearings. I've worked out a way to install the K in a Bug chassis, but it's not easy! Bike engines hang from the top, whereas car engines usually 'sit' on top of their mounts. I also need to look at altering or maybe replacing the airbox and sorting out a fuel tank solution. It may be possible to adapt parts made for the Grinnall 3 wheeled kit car.


The K engine looks good to go, basic reassembly should begin soon. The gearbox has now had a bit of 'surgery' as I have removed all the extra casting areas which usually support the swingarm in the K, to save space in the car. This makes the gearbox a lot smaller, but it'll never fit back in a BMW!


Engine reassembly has begun, most of the engine is back together, valves all reshimmed etc. but I'm still missing a clutch plate so the gearbox can't go back on yet. 1 injector was replaced as it measured badly. What to do about the bug chassis is still "under consideration".


Begun cleaning up the body, about half of the crap/damaged areas have been ground off now, the bug "sticky up" headlights have gone, I don't like them, they'll get a lower treatment!


MAJOR developments!

-I now have a nice 'new' chassis, courtesy  of ebay. It is from a'91 (I think) Rialto. I have chopped it in half at about the threequarter length point, and modified the rear half. Unlike other modified chassis I've seen, I'll weld the rear half back on, but I've modified it also, my reason for this being that it's galvanised, as well as better built than a fabrication I could build (for the weight).

I have most of the parts now to make my own rear trailing arms from 3/4" alloy bar and 1/2" rose joints, and I may lengthen the trailing arms over the originals while I'm about it I expect. I'll also make a proper full width panhard rod using the same bar and rose joints.

The K100 engine is fully rebuilt now also.

I'll try to add some pics shortly.


More developments! - The chassis is now welded back together, with a slight kick-up at the rear so that it all lines up. I added plates within the joint and rosette welded them also.  


Got some 13 x 5.5 alloys from ebay and looks like they will fit ok, although the front needs small alterations (the centre hole is too small for the bug hub to poke through). I will order the frontend hub/steering/suspension bearings etc. shortly so I can put the front partially back together.


Added the top rear trailing arm mounts to the chassis and more...


   New chassis