Radford, the historic coachbuilding firm being revived by Formula 1 champion Jenson Button, TV mechanic Ant Anstead and designer Mark Stubbs, has partnered with Lotus for its debut model, set to be revealed later this year.
Both Radford (in its original iteration) and Lotus were founded in 1948 and Anstead welcomed the opportunity to unite the two historically British brands: "We are proud of the British heritage of both of these companies and I cannot think of a better partnership to bring back Radford with. I already can’t wait to share the next.”
Details remain thin on the ground, but Radford has confirmed the car will be "based on Lotus technology". A preview image suggests it will take the form of a low-slung, retro-inspired coupé with a design that looks to emphasise aerodynamic efficiency.
An extended rear deck behind the main cabin area implies that, like Lotus's production cars, Radford's first model will be mid-engined, although it remains to be seen whether the drivetrain from the outgoing Elise, Exige or Evora will be used wholesale.
Speaking recently to Autocar, Jenson Button suggested that the revived Radford outfit is more than a design house and will have tangible engineering impact on the cars despite the involvement of OEM partner companies.
"We're able to make things with a smaller workforce and the technologies we have in hand," he said. "Whether it's making parts or 3D printing, or making tooling for parts - we're able to make things a lot quicker than back in the day when Radford was first announced to the world.
"It's very different to coachbuilding 50-60 years ago. We are working hand in hand with an OEM [Lotus], so we're non-stop in talks and collaboration with the OEM we're working with on the first car."
Coachbuilder Radford - famous for its post-war creations - was founded by the eponymous Harold Radford in 1948. The company made its name reworking models from Bentley and Rolls-Royce and later did the same with the Mini, the Radford version of which was owned by all four members of The Beatles. Radford also helped develop a glassfibre body for a prototype version of the Ford GT40.
Radford has been owned by several figures since the 1970s, including renowned luxury car dealer HR Owen. It’s now co-owned by Button, Anstead and Stubbs, among others, and is set to reveal its first new model within weeks, according to a spokesperson.
Further details are being kept under wraps until then.