There's a revival of historic British coachbuilder Harold Radford underway, with the new company, simply known as Radford, backed by 2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button and television presenter and car builder Ant Anstead.
Button and Anstead are working with car designer Mark Stubbs and lawyer Roger Behle on the Radford revival, and on Monday they revealed the revived company's first project: the Lotus Type 62-2 coach-built by Radford.
As the name suggests, the new sports car is inspired by the Lotus Type 62 race car of the 1960s. The project is fully endorsed by Lotus, which allowed Radford to use its name and logo on the car, and also involved was Lotus Engineering, the engineering and consulting division of Lotus.
Designer Mark Stubbs (from left), TV personality Ant Anstead and F1 champ Jenson Button
Just 62 examples of the Radford sports car will be built, using donor chassis from the Lotus Evora. Buyers will be able to choose between a Classic version or spicier Gold Leaf. Both versions come with the Evora's familiar 3.5-liter supercharged V-6, with the Classic version rated at 430 hp and the Gold Leaf somewhere around 500 hp. Buyers can also choose between a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch unit, the latter available with a limited-slip differential.
Performance should be scintillating considering the lightest version of the car weighs in at less than 2,204 pounds. This is made possible thanks to the donor Lotus' lightweight aluminum tub and the use of carbon-fiber composite materials for the body. There's no shot of the interior but Radford said to look forward to a digital instrument cluster, full connectivity including Wi-Fi, and a 5-speaker audio system.
Button naturally has been tasked with honing the car on the test track. Speaking of tracks, the Bondurant High Performance Driving School in Chandler, Arizona, was renamed in March the Radford Racing School in a deal reached with the driving school and racetrack's current owner, Stig Investments. At the time, Radford said the name change was part of the track's new association with the “lifestyle Radford brand.”
Lotus Type 62-2 coach-built by Radford
Don't be surprised if there will be some sort of driver development program at the Radford Racing School for future Radford owners. Radford, which in its modern form is based in California, will allow owners to collect the cars at the Radford Racing School.
Radford is currently accepting orders for the Type 62-2 and plans to start deliveries in early 2022. Pricing information is not yet available.
The Radford name is likely to be unfamiliar with most readers in the U.S. It was a coachbuilder established in the 1940s, with some of its first cars based on contemporary Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. The company also turned some Aston Martins into shooting brakes, including several DB5s, though it is probably best known for its modified Minis of the 1960s.