Radford Just Launched The Lotus Reboot You Didn't Know You Needed

Who needs the Emira when the Radford Type 62-2 exists?

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Photo: Andrew Quillin

Okay, you’ve heard the story of Radford by now. It’s a name that has been around for decades, and it was recently revived by Formula One world champ Jenson Button, TV personality Ant Anstead, and car designer Mark Stubbs. The company has a history of coachbuilding working with famed British marques. A few months ago the company announced that it would be bringing a modern version of the Lotus 62 race car to life with modern bits. Here it is.

Over the weekend, Radford had an official unveiling in Southern California to show off the new car. It looks properly Lotus from the ground up, with a combination of old and new. There is certainly a lot of Elise/Exige in this design, but Radford hasn’t actually said where the underpinnings come from. It’s possible that this will be built on the same platform as the upcoming Lotus Emira.

Unlike many other “reimagined” cars, this time Radford is working directly with Lotus to develop the car, with input directly from the China-owned Brit car company’s technological partners and engineers. In this case that means the 62-2 will be powered by the same 3.5-liter supercharged Toyota V6 as the Emira (and Evora and Exige). That’ll be backed up by either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed dual-clutch. Radford says this machine is “engineered for an unadulterated mechanical feel, exceptional engagement and uncompromising poise” regardless of gearbox choice.

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There are three variants of Type 62-2 available for well-heeled clients to choose from. You can order up the “Classic” which makes do with just 430 horsepower, a manual, no spoiler, and a 17 and 18 inch wheel combo. The Gold Leaf model will kick things up a notch with 500 horsepower, a quick DCT, motorsport-inspired traction control, ducktail spoilers (as pictured) and 18/19 inch center lock wheels. The king of the hill JPS model is purely for track junkies, as it has 600 horsepower, an upgraded DCT, a full aero kit, carbon fiber wheels, and carbon ceramic brakes.

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The show car here is obviously the middle-of-the-road Gold Leaf, though the company has shown the Classic as a rendering. The JPS has not yet been unveiled, but your brain can probably work up an idea of what it looks like, more or less. Each of these cars, regardless of the build sheet, will be delivered on a bonded and riveted aluminum chassis with carbon fiber exterior panels. The lightest versions are said to dip below 2200 pounds.

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It’s really hard to build a throwback car on a modern chassis and not make it look like ass, so props to the Radford crew for making it work pretty well. “Creating a car that is simultaneously luxurious and comfortable, and great to drive, is a tough challenge, but the first Radford of the modern era delivers,” says Jenson Button, who helped develop the chassis and suspension. “The chassis exhibits all the hallmarks of a beautifully set up race car for the road – gifting the driver supreme confidence to extract maximum enjoyment every journey.”

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Image: Radford
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No word yet on pricing for the inaugural Radford, but it’s going to be limited to just 62 units, and each one will be built bespoke to its owner’s requests, so you can bet it’ll be expensive. Let’s hope they intend on six figures, however, and not seven figures.