Coachbuilding, by and large, has died out in the car world. But a few companies continue the classic tradition, albeit with a modern twist. And now, another company has joined the likes of Touring and Rolls-Royce in coachbuilding—or rather, rejoined. It hasn’t been in business since the 1960s, but Radford Motors is back. And its first project, the Radford Type 62-2, is a modern take on a vintage Lotus race car.
Radford and Lotus resurrected the Type 62 race car for the modern age
First, a bit of background. While the Radford name isn’t necessarily well-known in the US, the British coachbuilding firm’s touch is seen in several iconic vehicles. Radford crafted the Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brakes, for example. It also created numerous custom classic Minis, including several owned by various members of The Beatles. Plus, a few wood-paneled Bentleys similar to Vanden Plas’ creations, and the first Ford GT40 racer prototypes, Hagerty reports.
Despite its pedigree, though, Radford closed its operations in the late 1960s. But earlier this year, former F1 world champion Jenson Button and British TV host Ant Anstead, along with designer Mark Stubbs and lawyer Roger Behle, brought it back to life. And now, the company’s first project, the Radford Type 62-2, is finally ready to order.
Regarding the name, it’s a reference to the classic Lotus race car that inspired it: the 1969 Lotus Type 62. It’s one of the British automaker’s oft-forgotten models, especially compared to its predecessor, the Type 47 Europa, Hagerty says. And despite Lotus’s history of sports and race car innovation, the Type 62 wasn’t a particularly successful racer. It never placed higher than third during the 1969 season.
However, the Radford Type 62-2 isn’t inspired by the original’s racing success. Instead, it’s designed to mimic the overall shape of the Lotus Type 62. But this isn’t some kind of restomodded racer. It’s a truly modern car developed together with Lotus. And as it’s a coach-built car, the Type 62-2 is built atop a modern Lotus chassis, too. Specifically, the aluminum one from the Lotus Evora GT.
The Radford Type 62-2 has classic-inspired skin but modern Lotus Evora GT tech
Calling the Radford Type 62-2 merely a ‘rebodied’ Evora GT is selling the car a bit short, though, Autoweek says. Especially considering how many changes Radford makes to turn the Evora into a Type 62-2.
Starting with the Evora’s bare chassis, Radford installs a custom carbon-fiber rear subframe, Motor1 says. It then gives the car a brand-new carbon-fiber body, complete with GT40-style roof cutouts for the doors. Together, that cuts the dry weight down to 2,204 lbs. The Radford Type 62-2 also gets a new all-coilover suspension with four-way adjustable dampers for an even lower center of gravity along with four-wheel AP Racing disc brakes. And to help clear speed bumps and driveway entrances, there’s an optional hydraulic nose-lift feature.
Besides using the Evora’s chassis, the Radford Type 62-2 also uses its engine (which the new Emira also uses). Mounted in the middle is the Evora’s Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter supercharged V6, rated at 430 hp in ‘Classic’ trim. The ‘Gold Leaf’ trim, though, bumps that up to 500 hp with the help of several upgraded internal components. And the ‘JPS’ trim has 600 hp thanks to a new supercharger and software.
But while the Classic is the least powerful, it’s also the only trim available with the six-speed manual. The other two trims exclusively use a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, though they also have electronically-controlled limited-slip differentials. However, Type 62-2 Classic buyers can get the Gold Leaf’s engine and DCT as optional extras, Road & Track reports.
What other performance and luxury features does the coach-built supercar offer?
Besides the power upgrades, the Gold Leaf and JPS trims also have extra racing features. The former has dual rear ducktail spoilers, optional center-lock wheels, and the retro-inspired red-white-and-gold livery, Top Gear says. Meanwhile, the latter gets additional aero features and carbon-ceramic brakes. Both of these trims also have additional stability control settings.
One thing you can’t get in any Radford Type 62-2 is power steering. It’s unassisted, just like in the Alfa Romeo 4C, though Button dialed in the Type 62-2’s system. The supercar also lacks any sort of rear window. However, it does have an always-on rearview camera instead; its side-view mirrors are also cameras. And inside is a 6” digital gauge cluster as well as Bluetooth, WiFi, and a performance data logger. Plus, the Type 62-2 has a usable trunk and offers custom-fit Mason and Sons luggage.
How much does the Radford Type 62-2 cost?
As of this writing, Radford hasn’t released official pricing for the Type 62-2. But it’s safe to assume that it’s in the ‘if you have to ask’ territory. Though that’s somewhat understandable given that customers can individually tailor their Type 62-2.
But those customers will have to get in line fast. Radford is only making 62 examples for the entire world, with production slated to start in early 2022. After all, what’s the point of a coach-built car if everyone has one?
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