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Radford Type 62 is a new coachbuilt racer

New Radford Type 62-2 breaks cover as a reimagined racer.

Radford has shown off its first car in more than 50 years. The Type 62 is a contemporary Lotus Type 62 from the coachbuilding brand which has seen new life thanks to F1 champ Jenson Button.

More than a wish, the Type 62 will go into production later this year as a made-to-order machine, making each one bespoke.

The car comes with a variety of outputs, but the basic recipe is a V6 engine producing 320kW through a six-speed manual in the ‘Classic’.

The Type 62-2 Gold Leaf wears the same iconic red-and-white livery as Graham Hill’s 1968 Lotus Type 49B Formula One racer. To back up the racy looks, it also gets a more potent 375kW version of the Lotus V6, which is backed up by a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

In the near future Radford will also launch a ‘JPS’ version of the Type 62-2, which produces 450kW. Like the Gold Leaf, the JPS will also use a seven-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox. The JPS will almost certainly wear the same black-and-gold John Player Special livery that featured on Emmerson Fittipaldi’s championship-winning Lotus Type 72D F1 car, as Radford recently secured the rights to the artwork.

The Type 62-2 uses a Lotus chassis, although Radford has made a few changes to suit both the car’s styling and increased performance. Using the same bonded aluminium chassis as the Lotus Elise and Exige, the new body on top is made from carbon fibre composites. The cabin is supported by a new carbon fibre crash structure which incorporates a roll-over hoop and strengthening for the firewall and windscreen.

All of this lightweight engineering means the Type 62-2 tips the scales at around 1,000kg – meaning even the least powerful model has a good enough power-to-weight ratio to keep up with the current crop of supercars.

There’s also a custom made tubular rear subframe, which Radford says improves the car’s rigidity and cornering performance. However, it serves an aesthetic purpose too, as it’s visible from certain angles when viewing the car from the rear.

The Type 62-2’s underside is completely flat, and is designed to channel air towards the rear diffuser to generate downforce. That means the Classic variant can get away without using a spoiler, while the faster versions need only a pair of small ducktails.

The chassis setup also differs slightly between each model. The Classic variant comes with staggered forged alloy wheels measuring 17 inches up front and 18 inches at the rear. The car also sits on adjustable coilover suspension and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Braking is handled by a set of four-pot AP racing calipers and iron discs, while the rear end is kept in check by a unique electronic stability programme designed by Bosch.

The 375kW Gold Leaf variant gets lighter two-piece forged aluminium wheels, which are an inch larger in diameter on each axle, along with a motorsport-derived traction control and ABS system which has been calibrated with the help of Jenson Button. To cope with the extra boost, the Gold Leaf’s engine also gets a few upgrades, such as stronger con-rods, new pistons, more aggressive camshafts and a remapped ECU. Every version also comes with a titanium exhaust system.

The 450kW JPS model will have the same chassis setup as the Gold Leaf, but with even lighter carbon composite wheels, monobloc calipers and carbon ceramic brake discs. There’ll also be a larger rear diffuser and front splitter to generate more downforce.

For a modern recreation, there’s plenty of similarities between Radford’s Type 62-2 and the original Lotus racer, including in dimensions – it stands just 1,133mm tall. In profile the car looks near-identical to the Lotus original, right down to the doors which are both high-waisted and cut into the roof panel.

The sports car’s LED headlights have been designed to look like the classic Lotus, although Radford has added a modern touch at the rear with a connecting LED bar between the two clusters.

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Practical Motoring

Practical Motoring