Radford started as a high-end coachbuilder in the 1940s, and ultimately created vehicles like the Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake and, most notably, the Mini Cooper Radford de Ville, owners of which included John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Enzo Ferrari.
In 1966, Radford shut the doors to their British operation, but recently the brand was relaunched with a new direction and vision.
The Radford Type 62-2 road car is loosely based on the Lotus Exige. It utilises the Exige’s long block motor and chassis, but that’s where similarities pretty much end.
With up to 600 horsepower and featuring carbon fibre bodywork and numerous coach-built touches, the 62-2 road car could hardly be called meek. The design draws inspiration from 1960s Le Mans racers, and specifically the Lotus Europa Type 62.
Today though, I want to talk about the Radford Type 62-2 Track Edition ‘Pikes Peak Special’, which was displayed at the recent Silverstone Festival. Built to compete at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, this is a 62-2 turned up to 11.
Gone is the aluminium chassis, now replaced by a composite monocoque that supports upgraded subframes and revised suspension geometry. In order to accomodate the Dymag carbon fibre-barrelled wheels with Yokohama slicks, the bodywork is around 230mm (9 inches) wider than the Type 62-2 road car. Four-spoke centre-lock wheels hide AP Racing brakes front and rear.
Radford designed a comprehensive aerodynamic package for the Type 62-2 Track Edition, with a prominent front splitter running into a completely flat chassis to a diffuser at the rear.
A swan-neck, single-element rear wing rounds things out.
Due to time constraints before this year’s PPIHC event, certain parts remain 3D-printed. They include the huge roof-mounted intake and side pods for cooling, as well as the brace in the extraction duct for the radiator.
One of the most notable visual changes from the Type 62-2 road car is the single seat configuration, which optimises both weight, balance and visibility. Despite gaining some space, the interior is still fairly sparse, with a yoke-style steering wheel, digital dash and carbon fibre bucket seat about it.
With the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb starting at an elevation of around 10,000ft above sea level, and then climbing another 4,000ft into the clouds, a lack of oxygen approaching the summit is an issue for both driver and car. Drivers have onboard oxygen to mitigate the effects, while this particular car has a huge cooling pack to manage the 50% efficiency loss.
Austrian-based JUBU Performance looked after the engine build and fettled the 3.5L Toyota V6 to over 700 horsepower. This output results in a 0-60mph time of 2.2 seconds, and a gearing-limited top speed of 160mph (257km/h).
With Tanner Foust at the wheel, the Radford Pikes Peak Special contested and won the Experimental class at the 2023 PPIHC with a 9:37.326 finishing time. Foust is no stranger to the race, having won the Porsche GT4 Cup class previously, but this was his first time dipping under the magic 10-minute mark.
Now that the Pikes Peak challenge is over, the car will attend various events, predominantly for static display and demonstration runs.
Radford ultimately achieved what they set out to do with the Type 62-2 Pikes Peak Special. For a low-volume manufacturer to develop and succeed in an out-and-out race car shows their intent better than any advertising campaign could ever hope to. Radford is back, and they mean business.