Lotus has a deceptively vast sports car history — one which will only become more fondly looked upon as the brand prepares to go fully electric.
While the recently revealed Emira will always be classified as the last of Lotus’ official internal combustion engine cars, a new project by coachbuilders Radford might beat it on a technicality.
As a blast-from-the-past name, Radford was recently rekindled by a consortium of petrol heads, including Jenson Button and designer Mark Stubbs. The formerly UK-based coachbuilder (dormant since it went into liquidation in 1966) is now based in California, with Lotus Engineering its first official partner.
And, this is its first big project. It’s called the Radford Type 62-2. Its bespoke body does a sterling job of looking both original and distinctly like some kind of Lotus product. It’s almost all retro, save for the LED light signatures in the headlights and tail lights. At 1133mm tall, it’s just about the shortest production car on the market.
Under the very pretty skin is an aluminium platform sourced from Lotus, mated to the same engine as that of the Emira — a Toyota-based 3.5-litre supercharged V6. Unlike the Emira, this Radford will be properly light, tipping the scales at around 1000kg according to the coachbuilder.
Three flavours of Type 62-2 will be built; the ‘Classic’, the ‘Gold Leaf’, and the ‘JPS’. The Classic will boast 320kW of power and a six-speed manual, while the latter pairing extracts 373kW and 447kW respectively from the same engine, while also swapping the stick for a seven-speed dual clutch.
For those to which it’s not immediately obvious, the Gold Leaf and JPS models are references to Lotus’ rich motorsport history — specifically in Formula 1. While the look of the JPS model isn’t yet known (we suspect a bit of black and gold action), the Gold Leaf comes in the familiar red and white tones of the plucky British marque’s F1 beasts from the late 1960s.
So far, all of the released images are renders. Radford has also skimped on images of the interior — although it references that the model will get a six-inch digital cluster with WiFi, Bluetooth audio, and a focus on being a bit more luxurious and accommodating than you might expect.
Given this, it’s likely that the Type 62-2 is in its early stages of development. Nevertheless, production is scheduled to kick off before the year’s out, with first deliveries following in 2022.