GRR: Why did you look to the Type 62 for inspiration?
AA: He chose the platform, which limits us to an engine behind the driver, so that discounts the Elite or Elan. We went through a kind of design process of elimination because the Esprit’s quite a cool option. But Radford’s heritage with the GT40, the Europa being the first GT40 pitch by Lotus and the Type 62 is effectively a Europa on steroids. They only made two, designed in ’69. It’s got a very Le Mans/Lola feel.
JB: I think it’s the best choice. Esprit’s the obvious choice, but this works for us on a personal level and on an emotional level.
GRR: Where does Lotus finish and Radford start?
AA: It’s been 50:50.
JB: They’re really, really hands-on.
AA: I speak to Lotus more than my mum.
JB: They’ve been really involved, especially when it comes to things like the aero of the car. Making sure that it doesn’t have lift but that it also has downforce on the higher models, the Gold Leaf and the JPS. So we’re able to use their expertise in many different areas which has been really good. The marketing man from Lotus was here all day yesterday until 20:00, so they’re very involved and very excited about the project. I speak to the CEO Matt Windle weekly about the project and he keeps sending me pictures of the first chassis coming off the line. It’s a real family atmosphere between Lotus and Radford.
AA: A lot of OEMs are quite bulky, to get a decision takes months and has to go through the hands of 50 people. Lotus is quite small and nimble. Radford is really small and nimble. When we made engineering changes, for example, we started with the Exige platform, made it 100mm longer – well he made it 100mm longer – and then he made it 44mm wider. If we were working with a bulky firm it would have taken months. With Lotus, we said ‘We want to make the car longer, help us engineer it,’ and in collaboration with the Lotus engineers, we made the car longer. There’s a new spaceframe on the rear, new suspension, new wishbones, new uprights, new hubs, new steering, new wheels, new cooling.
JB: The basis of the car is a Lotus, it’s an Exige chassis and that’s about as far as it goes. The bottom end of the engine is the same, a lot of the internals are different.