The Lotus legend is built almost entirely off the success of Colin Chapman's Formula 1 team and the exceptional road cars his company built during that program's golden age. However, the company also raced sports cars at the time, including the oft-forgotten Type 62 that raced and won in class as a test mule for the company's 907 engine during the 1969 season. The freshly resurrected British coachbuilders at Radford felt that this car was worth remembering, so they have announced a limited production of 62 lightweight sports cars that carry on its design elements and spirit. They have a fitting partner, too: The Radford Type 62-2 will be built in alliance with Lotus themselves.
Being both inspired by and built in conjunction with Lotus, the Type 62-2 puts a heavy focus on weight savings. Lightness is added primarily through an aluminum chassis and a carbon fiber body, a combination that Radford claims leaves the car's dry weight under their target of 2,204 pounds. the "simplify" half of the Lotus formula however, has been cleverly bypassed; this is a lightweight sports car inspired by a vintage racer, but it is one meant to function as a practical, usable road car, too.
The uncompromising design shares all the dramatic hallmarks of the original Type 62, including some unique elements of a vintage racer of the day. However, those visual elements come with a few well-designed tricks to turn irritating elements into delightful advantages. Yes, the door line starts much higher than on the average road car, but the door itself features a GT40-style roof indentation (one Radford says is a tribute to the original Radford coachbuilder's work on those doors on the first GT40 prototypes) that makes getting into the car fairly easy. A solid rear compartment would make traditional mirrors useless, but a clever camera solution built into the housings for what would normally hold side-view mirrors allows the driver to replicate the visibility of a much more traditional car. Even that densely-packed engine compartment leaves some room for luggage, a space that becomes even more useful if the buyer opts for custom luggage built by Radford partners Mason and Sons.
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All Radford Type 62-2s feature a 3.5 liter supercharged V-6 that will sound very familiar to Lotus enthusiasts. However, the power output of that engine will be determined by the trim level the buyer chooses. The Classic guise boasts 430 horsepower, but the Gold Leaf trim level shown here brings internal improvements that bring power up to 500 hp. A JPS edition mentioned in the spec sheet upgrades the supercharger, taking the car up to 600 horsepower. The two higher trim levels come with a standard 7-speed dual clutch transmission and limited slip differential. Classic edition cars come with a standard 6-speed manual, but buyers will have the option to upgrade to both the 7-speed DCT and the more powerful motor from the Gold Leaf.
Classic edition cars will feature solid colors and more conservative aerodynamics inspired by the first incarnations of the Lotus Type 62. Gold Leaf cars will wear aggressive double ducktail spoilers from the final forms of the racing car and a livery reminiscent of the classic red-gold-white scheme Lotus used when the car competed back in 1969. JPS cars will carry even more extreme aerodynamic features and will presumably be adorned in the black and gold John Player Special livery Lotus made famous in its later Formula 1 seasons.
Radford says that partner Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion, participated directly in building out the car's driving dynamics. Fellow partner Mark Stubbs designed the car itself. Both, along with television personality Ant Anstead and businessman Roger Behle, are co-founders of the modern incarnation of the legendary coachbuilder.
Just 62 Radford Type 62-2s will be built, each to the exacting custom specifications of the car's individual buyers. As a result, the expectation is that each Type 62-2 will be a genuine one of a kind.