Radford’s Upcoming Sports Car Will Be Based on a LotusAnd inspired by one, too—the Lotus Type 62, a somewhat obscure racer based on the Europa.See all 2 photosAlex KiersteinAuthorManufacturerPhotographerMay 10, 2021
Radford Motors is certainly an interesting idea—reviving a colorful British coachbuilder for a line of customized, Lotus-based sportscars. It’s got some big names attached, a nice departure from the usual obscure founders and opaque financial backers. For one, Ant Anstead is involved, the Wheelers Dealers mechanic through the most recent season, and also host of Master Mechanic, both available on the MotorTrend App. And Jenson Button’s on board to assist with the driving bit. He’s, uh, well-qualified. And the fact that Lotus has agreed to lend the outfit a vehicle to build its creation on makes this seem like more than your average flash-in-the-pan startup.
Radford’s first vehicle will be «based on Lotus technology» and then modified by Radford into a new «bespoke limited-edition» vehicle. Here’s where Radford’s history may prove illustrative, as it’s not a new name. Radford was a coachbuilder in the U.K., famous for specials based on Bentleys and Aston Martins, as well as decking out Minis will all manner of luxury features. They were quite expensive, too. Radford was clearly a customizer and coachbuilder, not a sports car manufacturer.
That said, the new Radford outfit is also quite proud that its predecessor organization did up some components for the original U.K.-built Ford GT40—although according to Peter Brock, the firm badly bungled a chance to build Shelby’s Type 65, a revised Daytona Coupe. We think this points to a restyled vehicle (which, we don’t know) given some special touches and user-selected materials to make it a very exclusive version of the vehicle it’s based on. If you wanted to bet money that it might be a final hurrah for the Lotus Evora’s chassis, we wouldn’t wager against you.
See all 2 photos
We also know it’ll take inspiration from the Lotus Type 62 (pictured above), developed from the earlier competition version of the Lotus Europa called the Type 47. From what we gather, the Type 62 was not a very successful design, with a short racing career. It did, however, help with the development program for the eventual Type 907 DOHC engine that saw duty in the Jensen-Healey and early Lotus Esprits. The Type 62 is a bit swoopier than the somewhat dowdy Europa, but the high rear deck makes its lineage clear—and there are echoes of said high deck in the Radford’s silhouette.
Interestingly, it’s not Anstead’s only automotive project at the moment, either. The host of Master Mechanic documented the build of an homage to the Alfa Romeo 158 race car, which inspired a Mazda Miata-based kit version called the Tipo 184.
We’ll know more later this year. But until then, Radford’s worth keeping an eye on.
Lotus Type 62 image used with permission: Copyright William Taylor/Coterie Press