Coachbuilder Radford – famous for its post-war creations – is being relaunched under the ownership of 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button, TV presenter Ant Anstead and car designer Mark Stubbs.
Founded by 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 fibreglass 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.
“To be able to help revive this iconic name is such a special and unique opportunity,” said Button. “The Radford brand carries such prestige and magnetism for anyone with an appreciation of cars. The work that Harold Radford and his team were responsible for in the mid-20th century is simply incredible, so I jumped at the chance to join Ant and Mark in their quest to put the Radford name back in lights.”
Stubbs, who will oversee the brand’s new designs, added: “Harold Radford’s creations were the ultimate in personalised, tailored transport, and with the renaissance of the art of coachbuilding, now is the time to bring Radford back in contemporary form. We intend to create designs that will be true to the Radford legacy and go on to create a new heritage for this storied brand.”
The new venture has been in the pipeline for several years. Button will track test every car the company makes in order to deliver a “superlative driving experience,” while Anstead will manage the coachbuilding itself.
“The time for a revival of proper coachbuilding is right now,” said Anstead. “People want something unique, something different and something tailor-made. That’s where Radford comes in. Our cars will offer the ultimate in global luxury and personalisation, blending British heart and soul, state-of-the-art technology with traditional craftsmanship.”
Although it has become relatively obscure in recent years, Radford’s coachbuilding attracted the attention of several celebrities in the 20th century. The company made its debut at the London motor show in 1951 with its Bentley Countryman.