Radford coachbuilders revived by Jenson Button and Ant Anstead

The iconic British brand made a splash in the 1960s with its version of the Mini, which netted all four Beatles as customers

Radford - Button, Anstead and Stubbs

Iconic British coachbuilding company Radford has been reborn thanks to investment from the former Formula One World Champion Jenson Button, motoring broadcaster Ant Anstead, and designer Mark Stubbs.

The coachbuilding company was founded in the late 1940s by Harold Radford and specialised in creating bespoke bodies and interiors for Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, with modifications to suit the needs of the rural landed gentry.

Radford’s revisions included foldable tables, dog pens, cocktail cabinets, bespoke colour schemes and redesigned front and rear seats, which could fold flat to form a double bed. The company even offered a host of add-ons such as an electric shaver, an ice box, a kettle and a built-in sink with hot and cold running water.

The company made its debut at the 1951 London Motor Show with the Bentley Countryman, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that Radford really got into its stride with its coachbuilt version of the original Mini, which was bought by all four members of the Beatles, and Eric Clapton.

The Radford Grande Luxe Mini de Ville featured a host of extras normally reserved for the most expensive luxury cars of the day, such as a full-length sliding sunroof, a new radiator grille, electric windows, a wooden steering wheel and a re-upholstered interior with deep-pile carpets and a brace of extra dashboard clocks.

Button, Anstead and Stubbs say Radford’s newest coachbuilding project is already well underway, although specific details about its design are yet to be confirmed.

Jenson Button said: “To be able to help revive this iconic name is such a special and unique opportunity. 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 1900s 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. The journey has very much begun, and news of our first car will follow shortly so watch this space.”

Anstead followed, saying: “The time for a revival of proper coachbuilding is right now. 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. 

“Jenson, Mark and I are proud to be reviving Radford and humbled to be custodians of this legendary company. Future partnerships that we already have in place are a testament to what Radford is capable of achieving. It feels like fate that a designer, a builder and a driver have all united at this perfect time. It’s really exciting.”

Now check out our insider story on the UK’s other leading coachbuilder, David Brown Automotive

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