The Formula Junior Bond
51 years late
Lawrance Bond and Jon Godard-watts started to design and manufacture two Front wheel drive Formula junior Bonds. In 1959 the project was huge, as Lawrence was a stubborn man unwilling to compromise on his ideas. Unlike other small car manufactures Lawrence insisted in manufacturing the complete project.
The tub (body) relies on strength from both the fibre glass outer skin and large aluminium panels, creating stressed pontoons which are bonded and riveted in place, making a composite and extremely stiff monocoque structure. This unique car is even more extraordinary by being front wheel drive. I think it is interesting to remember that this monocoque single seater racing car was finished well before the Lotus 25 GP car, generally documented as the earliest monocoque racing car.
Patterns were then made to produce bespoke brake drums. Front suspension uprights, trunnions and the diff housing. Hardy Spicer drew and manufactured the drive shafts using pot joints on the outer end and a hook joint on the inner end, they also manufactured the gearbox output shaft flanges.
The Transaxle was a modified Ford Anglia gearbox. The tail housing was removed and the main shaft cut down. A standard crown wheel and pinion was also used from the Ford, the spur gear was cut away and grafted on to the gearbox main shaft, held in place with a single round key and nut, an alloy diff housing held the crown wheel in place with spacers and shims to give the correct back lash and pre load to the bearings.
By the end of 1960 only one car was finished, Jon Goddard-Watts raced it in 1961 without success and the project was over. It was then clear the mid-engine route was the way forward.
The car was bought by Mr Chris Featherstone, Chris at a later date purchased the second unfinished car, comprising of all the original drawing, wooden patterns and unfinished castings for the suspension uprights and diff housing.
In 1964 Chris had a large accident on the short circuit at Mallory Park when the rear wishbone broke. The two cars were put into storage until 1997, when Duncan Rabagliati persuaded Chris to repair the car ready for the 2000 Monaco formula junior race. This was achieved but the car was still very delicate and unreliable.
I was introduced to Jon Goddard-Watts in 2006, Jon asked me if it was possible to find and purchase his original car. It was 2008 before Chris could be persuaded to sell the car and April 2009 before we were happy to race it. We carried on developing the car, improving the steering geometry, gear linage, front and rear wishbone strength and other important areas.
In 2009 we started to work on the second car. As before this was a huge project, the fibre glass tub had been cut in half with the rear section used to repair the first car after Chris’s 1964 accident. Moulds were made and the body repaired. This was all done in house, new alloy panels were manufacture and the tub started to gain strength. We carried on racing the original car and won the Front engined Miller oils championship.
It was hoped that we would have the second car finished for 2010, 50 years after the first car, as before it took much longer than planned.
We tested the car on the Wednesday before the VSCC Mallory Park meeting in 2011, 51 years late.For the first time both cars raced together, with the new car finishing 2rd in class.
2012 has seen both cars racing successfully in the Miller oils championship, I found myself leading the championship at the final race, but encountered a misfire due to a coil problem and retired.The final result was 1st in class and 2nd overall in the Miller oils championship.A surprising result was also had at Goodwood. I qualified 4th and finished 5th overall. It seems that this unusual design is possibly better than we all expected.