This is quite a thing, isn’t it? It’s the Radford Type 62-2, the comeback of Radford finally made real. In short, you’re looking at a modern day reimagining of the Lotus Type 62, with Lotus itself on board to provide the oily bits. With so much to get your head around with this coachbuilt wonder, Magazine’s Jack Rix thought it’d be good for two of the guys behind it to talk us around it – none other than TV’s Ant Anstead and Formula One World Champion, Jenson Button. TopGear.com Electric Awards 2021: – Series 30: Best of TopGear.com: Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here.Want to share your views with the team?
what if i told you there was a modern supercar with retro looks to die for that handled like a modern lotus but still had all the old-school elements that we love like unassisted steering a manual gearbox a super low curb weight and then in the back it’s got a rip snorting modern engine it’s got all the modern materials lightweight materials it’s got all the electronic conveniences that make a sports car like this actually usable day to day you bite my hand off wouldn’t you but what i just described is this exciting isn’t it it’s called the radford type 62-2 and it marks the return of iconic british coach builders radford time for a quick history lesson harold radford founded his company back in 1948 building beautiful coach-built conversions like the bentley countryman an uber spec bentley estate a shooting break version of the aston martin db5 and most famously ridiculously poshed up minis that were bought by the likes of the beatles twiggy even enzo ferrari and now it’s back from the dead courtesy of a team that includes ann anstead and jensen button we’re going to be speaking to both of those in just a minute but first let’s take this moment to drink in this gorgeous tribute to the original lotus 62. and the first thing i should talk about is that it is lotus technology underneath so you’ve got bonded and riveted aluminium chassis out back you’ve got a 3.5 liter supercharged v6 with a choice of manual or dct gearboxes in its skinniest form this car is going to weigh under a thousand kilograms which is very exciting indeed right let’s take a chance to look at all the amazing little details on this car because it really is a blend of retro design with modern technology the badge first now this this is real gold on the lotus symbol there on enamel made in the jewelry quarter in birmingham just like the gold lettering that’s on the back of the car the headlights this is a great example because they’ve got this soft curved retro shape but in there it’s led technology so it’s modern performance the brakes so these are brembo’s finest ccmr brakes with monoblock calipers this is hyper car braking performance it’s the most ridiculous brakes on the market you’ve also got a carbon rim here you’ve got michelin pilot sport cup two tires the wing mirrors well they’re not actually wing mirrors they’re wing cameras modern wing mirrors obviously have to be so big these days that it would be ungainly it would ruin the proportions of the car but if you’ve got a camera in here feeding a screen in there then they can be these elegant little pods moving down the side of the car the doors yes the way these cut into the roof has some significance obviously it’s born out of necessity because you need to be able to get in and out of this car with some sort of dignity but actually this is also a little nod to radford’s past because they made the original fiberglass body for the gt40 prototype which had doors just like this very nice indeed coming around the back a lot more gorgeousness basically starting here with the engine cover um again another little retro nod to the lotus 62 but i just want to point out the detail here the way that mesh is integrated the radius of these creases and the way they fade out to nothing it’s beautifully thought through this car i also like this full width tail light and the way it curls around at either end you’ve got these kind of multi-layer gold exhaust tips which are just gorgeous and then the centerpiece these double ducktail spoilers now you don’t get these on the classic model you get it on the gold leaf and the jps but essentially the whole point with this project is you can have whatever you want and may i suggest that you go for these because back in the day these would have just been bolt-on parts to give you a bit more downforce at your track day but here they are sculpted and integrated into the carbon fiber and they’re just stunning yes please which gearbox and how much power and downforce you have depends on which one of the three specs you go for there’s a choice of classic which gets a 430 horsepower v6 manual gearbox and no spoiler gold leaf which is the one here and gets a 500 horsepower v6 dct gearbox twin ducktail spoilers center lock wheels and motorsport traction control and the top spec jps john player special with the 600 horsepower v6 dct gearbox proper aero kit carbon wheels and carbon ceramic brakes only 62 will be built buyers can jump in with jensen on a track day to hone their skills and each will be unique to its owner radford says with a blank check there’s nothing it can’t alter or make happen here’s ant anstead to explain a bit more so we first of all started with our engineering set you know what is the engineering um we have to overcome so we chose the exege platform yeah which means that the engine’s behind the driver so that limited us we couldn’t do an elite or in a land because they’re front engined cars but we could do cars like the bonder spree um so we looked through all the cars where the engine was behind the driver and we actually arrived at europa and europa is quite an interesting car because originally back in the six so 50s now when ford was looking to win le mans they actually were pitched by lotus so ron hickman drew the original europa drawing in fact if you find it hickman europa and the rock in the bottom right hand corner there’s this little handwritten inscription pitch to ford for a mid-engined sports car that was lotus’s pitch for gt-40 and then ultimately lotus didn’t get the gig but radford did so the original car was a lola chassis radford body ford power and then you know we know the rest is history so while we were looking at a design exercise around europa a car that was really unsuccessful here in america um we stumbled across the europa type 62 which was a europa but on steroids and for for racing and it’s got that kind of real lowla 60s um vibe you know the the world is your oyster particularly with a platform like exige now we’ve done some really big engineering changes you know the wheelbase is longer the track’s wider new wishbones new uprights new brakes new suspension you know it’s it’s not an exige it’s a radford exige so an owner can uh can make you know anything from 430 brake horsepowers our entry level all the way up to 650. so you know there’s a big range to choose from and then of course there’s specs and colors and leathers and the point is is that it’s always going to be customer-led and if you go back 1920s you know you went to rolls-royce you couldn’t buy a car you bought chassis with an engine and then rolls royce would direct you to one of their favorite coach builders and then you’d go to mulliner or park wall but that’s the key is the client works with the artist and then between them they arrive at the client’s desired spec so we are going to be limited you know it is going to be a two-seater sports car we’re not gonna add any more doors so the the overall shape but in terms of you know people might wanna widen the arches bigger front splitter you know we’re having a conversation with someone about making a spider how much is the car yes well our entry levels are shade over 400 000 dollars yeah um and that’ll get you a really comprehensive car um but of course if you get into the realms of something super bespoke yeah sky’s the limit yeah exactly blank check territory yeah but remember we’re not at we’re not operating in the realms that other brands would you know we’ve just been to quail on the same lawn as the you know iconic brands like lamborghini and bugatti and porsche and rolls royce you know we’re still a real big chunk below any of those you know one of our things that we you know we really set out to do at radford is not make our cars you know the million dollar mark because you know we’re celebrating brand heritage not trying to make it super duper exclusive but it is exclusive um so what else have you got up your sleeve then there must be a mini in the works right all i can say at this stage is that we’ve very publicly and openly talked about lotus we’ve teased up to eventually revealing it we have got other oems oems contracted inked and started jensen actually drove one the second car and all i can say is that it’s not a sports car i mean certain people would love this car i’m not going to name any but harris i think is his surname i think you would like it because you can drift it and it’ll be a constant drift it’s not one of those things you get it to a point and it’s gone um it’s it’s gonna it’s gonna drift well but that’s not the reason behind the car or what we’re trying to achieve as a as a racing driver you don’t actually want everything to be too stiff obviously you want it to be precise but you want it to be forgiving as well and you know i understand that this isn’t entirely a race car it’s a row car that can be used on a track so it needs to be gradual in everything that it does you don’t want it to be too snappy even with the high horsepower car um it needs to be a very gradual feeling and we’ve we’ve done quite a lot to to make sure that it is drivable that it’s not snappy as you probably know lotus is quite short and this is a little bit longer than your average uh lotus so it does give it a bit more of a a gradual feel to it but in doing so we’ve had to do quite a lot to the front end to make sure it’s still very precise in the in in the way that it drives so precision is is key and it’s always been for me in my career you know i’m i’m good at driving precise cars whereas if a car is too oversteering it doesn’t work for me so i have kind of designed it around my style which i think is probably a good thing for everyone that’s gonna drive it because it makes it easier hopefully for them to drive and it gives them more confidence i think you know growing up uh i always wanted the most powerful car the fastest car the car that did something that other cars didn’t in terms of speed um or the most downforce on a car um i’ve definitely changed and i think a lot of people have when it comes to cars i think it’s probably because of singer you know they’ve designed these wonderful cars that they don’t tell you how quick it goes not to 60. it’s about the driving experience and and that’s what radford is all about as well so for me to work with british brands is the most exciting because those are the cars i grew up with you know as a kid i grew up i saw minis um on the street i saw a you know capris on the street and and those sort of things were what i loved and really wanted as a child um also i loved i loved to cozy as well you know an rs 500 was was like the dream toyota supra was really cool certain certain certain cars like that i don’t think you can reimagine quite yet um yeah it’s a bit too early so uh but there are so many um cars that would work british cars brands but also other other brands that would work and uh we’re we have um as we know an oem lined up for our second car and future cars as well so it’s proper exciting it’s probably ready to drop the world exclusive now it’s it doesn’t have to be just cars that have done well in the past you know cars that were were famous for being beautiful or the engineering of the car for us we could take a car that really didn’t work and try and make it cool and i think that’s that’s the exciting thing with with radford and we’re able to work with different oems and completely different designs and obviously this is a sports car ants already said the next one isn’t a sports car very different to this but equally as exciting and i and i think that uh it’s it’s gonna it’s gonna bring up a lot of emotion in people when they see the second car