Even Enzo Ferrari could not resist the brand of sports cars. Now the company has been revived by the F-1 champion

Motorsport

Even Enzo Ferrari could not resist the brand of sports cars. Now the company has been revived by the F-1 champion

Formula 1 and Super GT champion, owner of his own racing teams, Williams Racing advisor, TV presenter and expert, triathlete, father and family man, formerly a McLaren and Honda ambassador. It seems that this is an exhaustive list of Jenson Button’s “titles” , but since 2021, the Briton is also one of the co-owners of the H. Radford (Coachbuilders) Ltd brand, which presented his first sports car.

Harold Radford & Co Limited did not appear today or even yesterday – in 1948 British Harold Radford founded a body shop, which was engaged in the creation of exclusive modifications of Aston Martin, Bentley and Mini. Among the company’s clients were members of The Beatles and even Enzo Ferrari (they all bought themselves luxurious Mini), but such a glorious audience did not save the brand, nor did work with Ford (Redford’s studio made fiberglass body for prototypes of the legendary Ford GT40). In the fall of 1966, the company was liquidated, and although Harold Radford Coachbuilders (1967) Limited appeared a year later, which bought the rights to the trademark, there was no revival.

Another attempt to resume the production of cars under the iconic name for Great Britain fell on the 90s, but even there the matter did not go beyond loud promises. However, the situation has changed dramatically for the better these days, when in the spring of 2021 H. Radford (Coachbuilders) Ltd, registered back in 2015, suddenly announced the release of a new sports car. Optimism was given by the fact that Jenson Button was among the co-owners of the company.

Celebrity Racer with Designer Mark Stubbs , TV Presenter Anth Antsted and Lawyer Roger Belannounced a desire to launch the production of one-off cars with an exclusive design, built on the chassis of serial models. Considering that the demand for such products among wealthy customers grew and such giants as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley and Rolls-Royce returned to this forgotten segment, the British quartet could count on success. The position of the new-old brand was further strengthened when it became known that Lotus Engineering would become a partner of the brand – from it the revived Radford received not only technical support and the ability to use units from the iconic Lotus sports cars, but also the glorious heritage of the British brand. And the firm decided to take advantage of all this at once.

With the very first teaser of the new model, Radford revealed the source of inspiration – they decided to build a supercar of the XXI century under the impression of the 1969 Lotus Type 62 racing. This car was a development of the Lotus Type 47 Europa introduced in 1966 and was equipped with a 240-horsepower 2-liter engine hidden under a very elegant and aerodynamic body. The model was not particularly successful in racing, but was chosen as a source of inspiration for the revival of the British brand.

To enhance the effect of its premiere model, H. Radford (Coachbuilders) Ltd did not stint and bought the rights to the iconic liveries of the John Player & Sons tobacco company and its Gold Leaf brand in the United States. Thanks to Colin Chapman, this brand became the first sponsor in the history of Formula 1, the colors of which were painted racing cars. The Gold Leaf livery debuted on the Lotus 49B of Briton Graham Hill in 1968, and then on the Lotus 72 of the Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi and Austrian Jochen Rindt, and the Lotus Type 62 itself sported a distinctive red-white-gold paint job. These colors were then given way to the understated but equally legendary black and gold John Player Special livery, which also appears to have gone to Radford.

The Radford Type 62-2 premiered in the United States. Despite the fact that the model appeared before the public in the form of a mock-up, there is no doubt about the prospects for the appearance of real sports cars. The Lotus Evora was taken as the basis, from which the chassis and engine were borrowed. Naturally, not in its original state, but with modifications corresponding to the status of an exclusive model.

Even Enzo Ferrari could not resist the brand of sports cars.  Now the company has been revived by the F-1 champion

Lotus evora

The aluminum chassis was additionally reinforced with a carbon fiber safety structure, and a tubular subframe was placed at the rear, which simultaneously performs two functions: technical (increases the rigidity of the body and improves the driving behavior of the car) and aesthetic (part of the structure is visible from behind from under the carbon body). All this is hidden under carbon fiber body panels, stylized as Lotus Type 62. Interestingly, the main task of creating downforce is left to the flat bottom and a developed rear diffuser, which made it possible to abandon a noticeable spoiler or wing in the basic version. And in the more powerful versions, there is no special “additional” aerodynamics, except for a pair of elegant tails – “ducktails” on the edge of the body.

Even Enzo Ferrari could not resist the brand of sports cars.  Now the company has been revived by the F-1 champion

The base Type 62-2 is called the Classis and is equipped with a 3.5-liter compressor V6 manufactured by Toyota (the same engine is installed on the Lotus model). But if for the same Evora 435 hp. – the maximum, then for Radford everything starts from this mark. The motor is combined with a 6-speed manual transmission, which can be replaced with a 7-speed robotic transmission for an additional charge.

The “middle” version of the Gold Leaf implies the same engine, but due to modifications it is already 510-horsepower, and in the top-end configuration called JPS with a more aggressive aerodynamic body kit, a more efficient supercharger allows the engine to produce 610 hp. For a sports car with a dry weight per ton, the performance is just excellent! Both versions are robot-only equipped with an electronically controlled rear differential lock, more powerful AP Racing brakes and larger wheels (18 “front and 19” rear versus 17/18 “front / rear on the Classic). The coupe will receive an adjustable suspension, a stabilization system from Bosch created specifically for the novelty, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

Even Enzo Ferrari could not resist the brand of sports cars.  Now the company has been revived by the F-1 champion

There is no information on the body colors available for the Radford Type 62-2 Classic, but the Radford Type 62-2 Gold Leaf and Radford Type 62-2 JPS will receive branded liveries in sponsored colors of the brands of the same name. Historical colors will be complemented by modern technologies. Although the interior of the sports car has not yet been revealed, it is already known that the equipment will include rear-view cameras, a digital dashboard, built-in telemetry, multimedia, a front lifting system to overcome speed bumps, and for the greater comfort of the owners, the fashionable British brand Mason & Sons will prepare a special set of luggage bags.

Even Enzo Ferrari could not resist the brand of sports cars.  Now the company has been revived by the F-1 champion

H. Radford (Coachbuilders) Ltd promises to take into account the wishes of buyers when working on the exterior and interior design of each particular instance, which is not so difficult, given the circulation of the model. A total of 62 examples of the Radford Type 62-2 will be made and only 12 cars in the Gold Leaf version. The assembly of the first cars, the cost of which has not been named (it is only known that the price includes a track day with the participation of Jenson Button), is planned to begin in the United States by the end of 2021, and the company is going to transfer the finished sports cars to customers in 2022.

Even Enzo Ferrari could not resist the brand of sports cars.  Now the company has been revived by the F-1 champion

It is stated that more than half of the cars planned for production have already found their owners, who are either connoisseurs of historical Lotus, or admirers of the racing talent of Jenson Button, or fans of exclusive sports cars, or even all at once.

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