Not everything was a V12 with scissor doors
Presumably like many of you, I found myself watching Doug Demuro’s video of the Lamborghini Jalpa a number of moons ago. It made me think that despite Lamborghini being a desirable and celebrated brand in the modern age, if you were to show some of their past models to keen petrolheads, they might not be able to identify what they are.
Whereas most could tell you what a Huracan Performante or some latest edition of the Aventador is, some Lamborghinis did and still fall under the radar.
That’s what this – and some upcoming articles covering different marques – celebrates. The forgotten that were manufactured by the famous.
Lamborghini’s first production car was the 350GT in 1963 which was followed-up a few years by the 400GT. During the 400’s lifespan, the Miura unearthed itself to the world and it’s fair to say, it caused quite a stir.
So much of a stir in fact, that the 400GT’s successor was seemingly left only for the aficionados: the Islero.
Just 225 examples of the 2+2 grand tourer were ever made and came equipped with the Bizzarrini 3.9 litre V12 churning out 325bhp in ‘standard’ trim or 350bhp in the Islero S. The top speed was over 160mph and it could reach 60mph in just over six seconds. It really stood in the shadow of its sleeker brother, the Espada, to which over 1200 examples of that were produced.
To give you an idea of how rare the Islero is: its production run only makes for 1/3 of all Miuras!
This was Lamborghini’s answer to Ferrari’s Dino as a more compact, entry-level model to the brand. But unlike the car which Enzo named his son after, the little bull didn’t fare quite as successfully.
While nearly 4,000 examples of the Dino 206/246 GT were produced as well as more of the 308 GT4s, the Urraco could only be shifted 791 times – which made it clear that the Lamborghini brand wasn’t as desirable as Ferrari.
The Urraco had three engines on offer in the form of a 2.0 litre, 2.5 and 3.0 litre V8s and in the top sped P300 form, kicked out 250hp which was on par with Ferrari’s own 3.0 litre V8 of the time. It also looked rather gorgeous and is regarded as one of Gandini’s most notable work… behind the Miura and Countach of course.
The Jarama succeeded the Islero in 1970 and represented a more up-to-date take on what Lamborghini could do with their traditional front-engined 2+2 car. Like the Espada which it was built alongside, it was powered by the same 3.9 litre V12 churning out 350bhp.
Just 328 examples were ever made and it confirmed to Lamborghini that it just wasn’t worth making front-engined GT cars any longer.
Also like the Espada, it was made available with Chrysler’s 3-speed automatic Torqueflite gearbox but only 150 were ever optioned with it. Perhaps more interestingly, Ferruccio Lamborghini himself favoured the Jarama as his favourite Lambo and used one for himself! He described it as a ‘perfect compromise’ between the Miura and Espada.
What started out as a design exercise became a full-scale production car which represented a step-up from the Urraco. It was made for three years alongside the base car and they only managed to sell 54 of them.
The Silhouette used the 3.0 litre version of the Urraco’s V8 and produced 265bhp. It was also the first Lamborghini to have a targa roof (in production form at least).
With the wide arches and body modifications, it’s fairly easy to tell a Silhouette from its weaker brother.
The Jalpa eventually succeeded the Urraco as Lamborghini’s entry-level car and was even based upon it like the Silhouette.
It was as 80s as it was rare with only 410 ever made, making it much rarer than it’s bigger brother, the Countach. It housed a 3.5 litre version of the Urraco’s V8 and kicked out 250bhp which was enough to rival Ferrari’s 308 and 328 models which were also produced in the Jalpa’s lifespan.
When Chrysler bought Lamborghini in the late 80s, production of the Jalpa stopped and it wasn’t replaced until the much more modern, MUCH more successful Gallardo.
People remember the LM002 as Lamborghini’s crazy off-road military-inspired thing. But before that, there was this: the prototype dubbed the Cheetah.
It was developed in contract with Mobility Technology International (MTI) which was also contracted by the U.S military to produce a new all-terrain vehicle. The Cheetah was made in San Jose, California before being sent back to Lamborghini in Italy for the final details.
It had a rear-mounted 5.9 litre Chrysler V8 with a 3-speed automatic gearbox and this combined with the 2-tonne fibreglass body made it a poor performer in the way it handled. The contract from the U.S military was eventually given to AM General who went on to create the Humvee.
The cancellation of the Cheetah project – along with financial problems at Lamborghini – also led to canning the deal with BMW to produce the M1 supercar. The story of how the German car came about requires a separate article!
Nevertheless, this was the original design and engineering process before Lamborghini eventually went on to create the V12-powered LM002.
What is your favourite Lambo?
Not a history lesson but here are some facts and figures that I have learned about the Countach.
Countach was one of those models from Lamborghini that helped the brand survive in its crisis. During the 1970s, the Italian supercar cum tractor manufacturer was struggling with financial difficulties and one of the main reasons was the oil crisis of the 70s. It was still running under the control of its legendary founder Ferruccio Lamborghini and the Countach is classified among the last few revolutionary products from the bull garage which was developed before his retirement. Lamborghini wanted to create a successor of the legendary Miura which will offer more comfort, performance and will have a beautiful appearance among the buyers and enthusiasts. So, the Countach came into life. This year, the Countach turns 50 as it was first unveiled on March 11, 1971, at the Geneva Motor Show. So let’s take a look at a few interesting facts about this striking Lambo from the 70s.
The Countach LP500 at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971 | Photo via: design-is-fine.org
It is not named after a Bull
Yes, it was one of the only five(if I’m correct) Lamborghini models that were not named after a bull. There’s an interesting story behind the nomenclature of this beauty. Let’s have the words from the designer Marcello Gandini himself-
“When we were working at night, to keep our morale up, there was a jousting spirit, so I said we could call it Countach, just as a joke…”
“When we made cars for the car shows, we worked at night and we were all tired, so we would joke around to keep our morale up. There was a profiler working with us who made the locks. He was two meters tall with two enormous hands, and he performed all the little jobs. He spoke almost only Piedmontese, didn’t even speak Italian. Piedmontese is much different from Italian and sounds like French. One of his most frequent exclamations was ‘countach’, which literally means plague, contagion, and is actually used more to express amazement or even admiration, like ‘goodness’. He had this habit. When we were working at night, to keep our morale up, there was a jousting spirit, so I said we could call it Countach, just as a joke, to say an exaggerated quip, without any conviction. There nearby was Bob Wallace, who assembled the mechanics – we always made the cars operational. At that time you could even roll into the car shows with the car running, which was marvellous. So jokingly I asked Bob Wallace how it sounded to an Anglo-Saxon ear. He said it in his own way, strangely. It worked. We immediately came up with the writing and stuck it on. But maybe the real suggestion was the idea of one of my co-workers, a young man who said let’s call it that. That is how the name was coined….”
One supercar, several engines
The whole Countach series used V12s that were longitudinally positioned which is why they were named with “LP” which indicates “Longitudinale Posteriore” in Italian. It was a move from the usual transversely mounted V12s from their previous flagship supercar Miura as longitudinally-mounted engines had proved to offer better usability and handling than the transversal ones. Till date, most supercars and performance cars use longitudinally-mounted engines for the same reason.
Countach LP500 | Photo via: Lamborghini
In its lifetime it met with a lot of new engines that would power it to reach the 300 kph mark(186mph). The first engine that it had was a 4.97-litre naturally aspirated V12 which was used in the first appearance of the Countach in 1971. But, the road tests showed that it was too immature and delicate for the car. So, Lamborghini decided to use a 3.93-litre engine instead, which will make its way to the first production-spec Countach called LP400.
About 4 years later the LP 400S was introduced which kept using the same engine. And after passing another 4 years, Lamborghini came up with the LP500 S which had a new 4.75-litre engine, that produced around 20 horses more than its predecessor.
As three more years passed, in 1985 Lamborghini introduced the Countach 5000 QV. QV means Quattrovalvole(obviously Italian) which translates to Four valves, as the engine now had four valves in each cylinder. And guess what? The engine got bigger in size too. They leapt into a 5.2-litre engine and the power figure increased from 370 hp to almost 450 hp in a matter of a few years. Plus, in the latter days, some of these engines came with an electronic fuel injection system too.
These engines powered the Countach for nearly two decades. Till now we only talked about naturally aspirated engines, have you ever dreamt about having a twin-turbocharged V12 in your Lambo? Sounds very outrageous, doesn’t it?
Countach 5000 QV | Photo via : The Car Shrink
Well, the outrageous dreams of yours and mine do exist in the real world. Two of the Countachs were turbocharged and one of them produced power figures around 750 horsepowers in the early 1980s, would you believe that? Honestly, it was really hard for me to believe because it’s a power figure that we see in recent supercars (please keep the EVs and hybrids out of the equation). Even the current flagship product of Lamborghini, the Aventador is producing about 780 hp with a 6.5-litre engine. So 40 years ago there was a Lamborghini that produced power figures that were pretty similar to today’s ones. And it has kept me surprised still now.
Countach LP500 Turbo S Prototype | Photo via: wallup.net
But the question is- why were only two of them made like that?
Actually, the Swiss distributor of Lamborghini at that time turned an LP400S and an LP500S into two twin-turbocharged unique versions of Countach of which, the LP500 Turbo S was the one that was showcased in the 1984 Geneva motor show. It is to be noted that Lambo doesn’t usually lean on turbocharging their supercars to increase power figures like others. They are known for their naturally aspirated V12 perfections. So this twin-turbo Lambo duo is a kind of exception that you’d barely expect from the bull garage.
Leaving curves and going edgy
I would like to share my personal feelings about the designs of cars while talking about the design revolution of Lamborghini. In Donut Media’s words, the Countach looked like a “rocket ship”. There were several vents and scoops and a vast amount of angles. Besides that, it was the first Lamborghini to come up with the scissor doors; to be precise, it was the first production car to come up with scissor doors so a lot of people call it Lambo doors even if they see it fitted in a McLaren. It was very edgy and felt like it was from the future. Even I still feel like it is something from the 90s.
Now, I am not really a fan of super-edgy, heavily striking designs. Alongside that, I am very much biased towards the four-door coupe type vehicle designs. In simple words, I like the RS5 coupe or the RS6 Avant more than the R8. Maybe I am more of a fan of well-proportioned car designs. This is why, from my perspective, compact supercars with striking designs don’t really feel great. So a lot of times I feel like the Countach could have been a bit curvier, and wavy like the Miura. Sometimes I feel like the Countach is too straightforward.
But hey, it was just the start of a new era of designing. It doesn’t matter whether it was beautiful to me or not. What matters is that it was a revolutionary design that was way ahead of its time. A lot of owners have acknowledged that it is not really made for being practical and comfortable, there are loads of issues about this elementary design but whenever you are looking back at the car or driving it, you are driving something that gave birth to the current generation of Lamborghinis. Honestly, if I am given the option of choosing a Lamborghini over its design beauty, I will probably choose any other car but the Countach. But if there are no design criteria then the Countach would be my most prior choice as it stands as a revolution.
So those above were three of the most interesting facts that I found about the Lamborghini Countach. As a lot of car guys, I do love studying cars and talking about them. Let me know what else car do you want me to study in the comments below and I’ll write a summary about that.
You may follow me if you like the article, which kind of works as an inspiration as well as an incentive to write more for you and for me.
I always welcome everyone to advise me about my writing.
Thank you for your time.
- Europe at the forefront of Nissan’s’ new long-term strategy to accelerate electrification
- CHILL OUT Concept unveiled, previewing future EV Crossover to be built in the UK
- New battery refurbishing facility planned for Europe
Nissan Ambition 2030, the company’s new long-term vision for empowering mobility and beyond, responds to critical environmental, societal and customer needs.
Nissan aims to become a truly sustainable company, driving towards a cleaner, safer, and more inclusive world.
The AMIEO region, with EV36Zero at its centre, will play a leading role in the delivery of Ambition 2030, which supports Nissan’s goal to be carbon neutral across the life cycle of its products by fiscal year 2050, including:
- By the end of fiscal year 2023, Nissan will offer an electrified option on all of its passenger cars in Europe, with more than 75% of sales to be electrified by fiscal year 2026.
- Unveiled today, the new generation crossover concept CHILL OUT, as announced in Sunderland this July as part of the EV36Zero project, utilises the Alliance CMF-EV platform and offers breath-taking acceleration and an unparalleled feeling of control. It has a sleek and modern design, co-existing beauty, and the best aerodynamic performance, energizing driving, advanced safety technologies and a productive and comfortable interior space.
- The company intends to expand its battery refurbishing facilities beyond Japan with a new location in Europe during fiscal year 2022. Nissan’s refurbishing infrastructure will support a circular economy in energy management, and the company aims to fully commercialise its vehicle-to-everything and home battery systems in the mid-2020s.
- Building on the success of the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market EV, Nissan will soon introduce its innovative e-POWER technology to the all-new Qashqai and X-Trail. With the imminent arrival of the 100% electric crossover Ariya, as well as the future full electric Townstar van, a fully electrified European lineup is within sight.
“For the past decade the Europe region has been leading the switch to electrification. Our vision for the next decade is to accelerate this further, with new products and technologies that will transform the driving experience for Nissan customers,” said Guillaume Cartier, Chairperson for the Nissan AMIEO Region.
“Not only will we offer an electrified version for all of our passenger models in Europe, our 360-degree vision for sustainable mobility will bring 100% renewable electricity to our EV Hub in the UK, and will see new battery refurbishment facilities introduced in Europe.
“Spearheading the journey to full electrification and carbon neutrality, our teams and products in Europe will also inform and support our plans for electrified vehicles in the rest of the AMIEO region and other markets globally.”
With this vision, Nissan wants to deliver strategic value by empowering journeys offering confident, exciting, and more integrated experiences to customers, and through collaborations, empower society to build a smart ecosystem with integrated mobility.
Earlier this year, Nissan launched EV36Zero, the world’s first fully integrated EV manufacturing ecosystem, connecting mobility and energy management to help the company realise its carbon neutrality goals. Centred around the company’s plant in Sunderland, UK, the new hub incorporates future EV production, a new gigafactory and 100% renewable electricity, representing an initial £1bn investment.
- Increased pace in the battle against climate change
- Commitment to a clear course to achieve the 5-degree target
- 50% reduction in global CO2 use-phase emissions by 2030
- Over 40% reduction in CO2 emissions during life cycle
- Circular economy: Up to 50% use of secondary material planned
- E offensive: Delivery volume for battery cells almost doubled – ten million all-electric vehicles within ten years
- BMW i Vision Circular demonstrates the potential of a car that is consistently aligned to material cycles
- Four additional concept vehicles for a pioneering sustainable mobility mix on two and four wheels
- All-electric core models BMW iX and BMW i4 celebrate their motor show premiere
The BMW Group is putting circular economy and sustainable urban mobility at the centre of its presence at the 2021 IAA Mobility.
At the motor show, the company is consistently demonstrating its sustainability and CO2 targets as well as its concrete measures and concepts to achieve these goals.
More stringent CO2 targets and consistent focus on a circular economy
The BMW Group is increasing the pace of its efforts to combat climate change. Looking ahead to the introduction of the Neue Klasse, the company is further strengthening its self- defined objectives, announced in summer last year, to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, whilst also committing itself to a clear course that supports the 1.5 degree target for the limitation of global warming. The Neue Klasse will also see the BMW Group hugely increase its use of secondary materials with a firm focus on the principles of the circular economy, whilst also promoting better framework conditions for establishing a market for secondary materials.
To achieve a further reduction in CO2 emissions, the focus is on the utilisation phase of vehicles, which account for 70% of the BMW Group’s CO2 footprint. By 2030, the CO2 emissions per vehicle and kilometre driven will be at least halved from 2019 levels. The commitment of all manufacturers when it comes to combatting climate change can best be compared when looking at the entire life cycle of a vehicle, including production and upstream supply chain. Here, the BMW Group is planning a reduction of CO2 emission per vehicle of at least 40%.
“How companies are dealing with CO2 emissions has become a major factor when it comes to judging corporate action. The decisive factor in the fight against global warming is how strongly we can improve the carbon footprint of vehicles over their entire life span. This is why we are setting ourselves transparent and ambitious goals for the substantial reduction of CO2 emissions; these are validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative and will deliver an effective and measurable contribution,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in Munich on Thursday. “With the Neue Klasse we are significantly sharpening our commitment and also committing ourselves to a clear course for achieving the 1.5 degree target.”
The most powerful driver on this path to climate neutrality is electric mobility, with the BMW Group’s Neue Klasse set to provide significant further momentum to the market. During the next ten years or so, the company will be putting around ten million all- electric vehicles on the road. As early as 2030, at least half of global BMW Group sales will be all-electric vehicles, with the MINI brand offering exclusively all-electric vehicles from 2030.
Against this background, the BMW Group has also almost doubled the delivery volume for battery cells – a volume of EUR 22.36 billion has been agreed with the relevant suppliers for the fifth generation of the BMW electric drive.
BMW i4 and iX as drivers for promoting e-mobility at the IAA Mobility
With the BMW iX and the BMW i4, two important core models of this electric offensive are introduced to the general public for the first time on the occasion of the 2021 IAA Mobility. The BMW iX, the new technological flagship of the BMW Group, is a spearhead in the areas of electromobility and digitisation. BMW eDrive technology of the fifth generation enables locally emission-free driving pleasure with electric four-wheel drive and an extended range.
With the BMW i4, all-electric mobility is now available for the first time in a premium mid- range model. Electric mobility has reached the core of the BMW brand. The BMW i4 combines locally emission-free driving pleasure in a particularly sporty style with ample space and the practicality of a four-door Gran Coupe.
Fully electric versions of the high-volume BMW 5 Series and the BMW X1 will follow in the years to come. The same is true for the BMW 7 Series and the successor of the MINI Countryman. In 2023, the BMW Group will have at least one fully electric model on the road in around 90% of its current market segments.
BMW Motorrad is also consistently pursuing an electromobility strategy for metropolitan areas. The BMW CE 04, also presented at the 2021 IAA Mobility, ensures sustainable driving pleasure on two wheels . With its electric drive, future-oriented design and innovative connectivity solutions, the new scooter combines the functions of mobility and communication.
CO2 reduction through circular economy: BMW i Vision Circular shows enormous potential
However, climate friendly mobility is not automatically created through a higher number of electric vehicles on the road. Furthermore, it is crucial to reduce the use of primary material and the related environmentally harmful exploitation of resources and their often CO2– intensive processing – especially when it comes to car manufacturing, one of the most resource-intensive industries.
As part of its holistic approach to sustainability, the BMW Group aims to increase significantly the percentage of secondary materials in its vehicles. On average, current vehicles are manufactured using almost 30 percent recycled and reusable materials. With the ‘Secondary First’ approach, BMW Group plans to successively raise this figure to 50 percent.
With the BMW i Vision Circular, the BMW Group is demonstrating the consistent design of a car according to the principles of a circular economy. The overall design goal of this visionary vehicle was to create a vehicle that is optimized for closed material cycles and achieves a rate of 100% recycled materials or 100% recyclability. In addition to bio-based and certified raw materials, materials that have already passed through a product life cycle – so-called secondary materials – are used for this purpose. This also applies to the energy storage system: The solid-state battery of the BMW i Vision Circular is 100% recyclable and almost completely made from recycled materials. At the same time, it will achieve a considerably higher energy density with significantly fewer of the most valuable resources.
“We have included circularity in our concept right from the start when designing the BMW i Vision Circular. That’s why this visionary vehicle is full of innovative ideas that combine sustainability with new and inspiring aesthetics – we call this approach Circular Design,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. Circular Design is based on the four principles RE:THINK, RE:DUCE, RE:USE and RE:CYCLE.
Four additional groundbreaking concepts for sustainable urban mobility
Under the umbrella of electric mobility, digitisation and sustainability, the BMW Group will be presenting four additional groundbreaking concepts for a versatile and sustainable mobility mix on two and four wheels at the 2021 IAA Mobility – in addition to the BMW i Vision Circular.
With the BMW i Vision AMBY, the first high-speed pedelec, the company is presenting a visionary two-wheel solution for urban mobility of tomorrow. From the outside, the BMW i Vision AMBY resembles an e-bike, but offers significantly more possibilities. The electric drive system comprises three speed stages for different road types: Up to 25 km/h for use on cycle paths, up to 45 km/h on inner-city roads and up to 60 km/h maximum speed on multi-lane roads and out-of-town. The speed modes available to the rider are stored on a smartphone app. Manual selection of the speed level is conceivable, as is the automatic detection of position and road type by means of geofencing technology and the associated automatic adjustment of the maximum speed.
The BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY has a similar approach, combining the benefits of a motorcycle with those of a bicycle. It is an extremely emotional, electric mobility concept for clever mobility in and out of the city combined with maximum flexibility. Through an automated speed limitation system, thanks to innovative geofencing technology, the rider can also travel on roads (up to 60 km/h) as well as on bicycle paths (up to 25 km/h). Unlike the BMW i Vision AMBY, the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY accelerates using a throttle grip and has typical motorcycle footrests instead of pedals.
As a legal framework for such vehicles with a modular speed concept does not yet exist, the AMBY visionary vehicles are meant to provide stimulus for such legislation to come into effect.
BMW Motorrad is represented with another concept at the 2021 IAA Mobility – the BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02. This is neither a classic motorcycle nor a scooter, but a completely new mobility offer. It is an easily accessible, electric two-wheeler for those aged 16 and above who want to be mobile and independent. The emphasis is on fresh looks, ease of use and plenty of emotions.
MINI Vision Urbanaut as a space concept for the mobility of the future
The main attraction of the MINI brand at the IAA is the MINI Vision Urbanaut, an innovative and fully electric vision of space for the mobility of the future. Here, typical MINI characteristics are translated into the future of mobility and given an individual interpretation. The MINI Vision Urbanaut is the epitome of “clever use of space” and a response to the needs of future cities and lifestyles. The interior, in particular, is completely new in design and uses sustainable materials such as cork for the floor and steering wheel or recycled fabrics for the seats. The reduction of components and the absence of leather and chrome underline the sustainability of the visionary concept.
Links to relevant BMW Group press releases concerning the IAA Mobility 2021:
https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/global/article/detail/T0338194EN/the-bmw-group-at-the-iaa-mobility-2021-show:-open-discussions-on-the-sustainable- mobility-of-the-future-%E2%80%93-in-person-in-munich-and-digitally-around-the- world
- Flying Spur Mulliner builds even further on “the best car in the world”
- Available with Bentley’s all-new V6 petrol Hybrid, or sublime V8 and W12 petrol powertrains
- Third member of Bentley Mulliner Collections portfolio, announced at Monterey Car Week
- Exquisitely appointed sedan is ultimate expression of modern craftsmanship and breath-taking luxury
- Designed and hand-built by Mulliner – Bentley’s bespoke division and the oldest coachbuilder in the world
- Unique exterior includes Double Diamond front grille, unique 22-inch wheel design and elegant Mulliner detailing
- Handcrafted interior features tri-tone colour split, diamond milled finish centre console beautiful details
Bentley Mulliner today announces the new Flying Spur Mulliner – the ultimate in four-door luxury Grand Touring and Mulliner’s first electrified Bentley.
Whether enjoying the technically advanced V6 Hybrid powertrain, the emotional V8 or endless waves of torque from the W12, customers will still benefit from the exquisite detailing offered by the latest Mulliner product.
Revealed at the prestigious Monterey Car Week in California, the elegantly appointed sedan sits at the pinnacle of the Flying Spur family, combining the very finest in modern craftsmanship and breath-taking luxury.
The most luxurious Flying Spur to date has been created and developed by Bentley Mulliner and designed, engineered and handcrafted in Great Britain. Taking its place as the flagship of the Bentley range, the new Flying Spur Mulliner will appeal to customers who desire an even greater focus on elegant details.
Beautifully appointed detailing includes exclusive Mulliner 22-inch wheels, in a grey painted and polished finish, with self-levelling wheel caps that remain upright as the wheels rotate. A “Double Diamond” front grille and chrome front lower grille are matched by bespoke Mulliner branded wing vents and Satin Silver painted mirror caps. The iconic Bentley Flying B is electronically deployed and illuminated, while the Flying Spur Mulliner also features jewel fuel and oil caps.
Mulliner illuminated outer treadplates and deep-pile Mulliner overmats welcome passengers inside the ultimate Flying Spur cabin, which offers a Mulliner curation of eight custom-made, three-colour combinations. The sumptuously trimmed cockpit is complemented by accent colour piping and unique Mulliner embroidery to the hand-stitched seats.
An example of one of the curated interiors – Ascot – is a combination of Imperial Blue leather to the instrument panel, door trims and headlining while a light tan leather called Camel, emphasises the style of the seats. White micro-piping, embroidery and accent line combines a third colour into the unique Mulliner interior.
Further combinations such as Flare and Sirius add bolder combinations including Hotspur and Beluga, and Linen and Brunel both with a silver accent.
The Mulliner Driving Specification is fitted as standard, bringing the “Diamond-in-Diamond” quilting to the seats, and three-dimensional leather to the doors. Contrast seat piping matches the accent that surrounds the occupants from the centre console, around the instrument panel and finishes beneath the door waistrail, highlighting the Bentley B chrome inlays.
The luxurious Diamond-in-Diamond interior quilting involves an embroidery process that alone took 18 months to develop. Each diamond contains exactly 712 individual stitches – each one aligned to the exact centre of the diamond it creates.
Modern craftsmanship and breath-taking luxury combine in the diamond milled technical finish that is applied to the centre and rear consoles. The centrepiece feature on the dashboard alongside chrome bullseye vents is a stunning, brushed silver Mulliner clock.
The classic Bentley theme continues in the LED driver’s instrument panel, with stylish new and exclusive Mulliner graphics. The now famous Bentley Rotating Display, sports pedals, heated duo-tone 3-spoke steering wheel and panoramic sunroof further add to the luxurious ambience.
Unique Mulliner electrically-operated picnic tables are mounted to the rear of the front seats and can be deployed with a single press of a button. The veneered tables, which feature unique overlay, lower and self-level to reveal a leather-trimmed surface with a recess for a pen or stylus. Holding the button down returns the table gracefully to its home position.
Flying Spur Mulliner customers receive leather-bound keys in a unique, Mulliner-branded handcrafted presentation box, which matches the three-colour cabin configuration of their car. The two keys are provided in similarly colour-matched cases with contrast stitching.
The Flying Spur Mulliner is available with Bentley’s V8 and W12 powertrains, as well as the new V6 Hybrid. When equipped with Bentley’s 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged W12, the Flying Spur Mulliner accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds) and is capable of a top speed of 207 mph (333 km/h). The new generation 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 delivers a top speed of 198 mph (318 km/h) and 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds). The new V6 Hybrid accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds) with a top speed of 177 mph (285 km/h).
Bentley Mulliner is Bentley’s highly-acclaimed, bespoke commissioning division and the oldest coachbuilder in the world. Synonymous with luxury, the new Flying Spur Mulliner is just the third member of the newly-created Bentley Mulliner Collections family alongside the sublime Continental GT and Continental GT Convertible.
In the world of Mulliner, anything is possible. Established to respond to the requirements of Bentley’s most discerning customers, the bespoke division is renowned throughout the automotive world for crafting some of the most individual Bentleys ever created.
An experienced team, supported by in-house engineers and designers at Bentley headquarters in Crewe, prides itself on a long history of fulfilling the desires and demands of every Mulliner customer.
Lotus Type 62-2 coachbuilt by Radford: Global premiere
- Engineered using Lotus technologies to be a true driver’s car with the luxury appointments of a bespoke coachbuilder
- Production-run limited to 62 vehicles – Radford is accepting applications for build slots
- Complete exterior revealed inspired by the Lotus Type 62’s design purity – a coachbuilt homage to a beautiful 1960s race car
- Car revealed in ‘Classic’ and ‘Gold Leaf’ specification – every Type 62-2 will be unique and bespoke built to precise owner requirements
- Chassis and body utilise a blend of carbon composite and aluminium for lightness
- Intoxicating power and torque from 5-litre supercharged V6 engine
- Mid-engine configuration with race car-inspired suspension
- Radford was founded by preeminent designer Mark Stubbs, broadcaster and motoring specialist Ant Anstead, FIA Formula OneTM World Champion Jenson Button and leading business adviser and lawyer Roger Behle
Radford has today unveiled the Type 62-2 sportscar at a star-studded event at the Lyon Air Museum in Orange County, California.
The Lotus Type 62-2 coachbuilt by Radford (The Type 62-2), the first modern coachbuilt Radford, is limited to just 62 examples worldwide, with each model built precisely to its individual owner’s desired specification – the marque is currently accepting applications for build slots for the ultra-rare coachbuilt car.
Radford was borne out of inspiration by the legendary British coachbuilding company of the same name, which once built cars for a celebrity clientele that included all four of The Beatles. The global company with British heart and soul is co-owned by leading designer Mark Stubbs, broadcaster and motoring specialist Ant Anstead, former FIA Formula OneTM World Champion, Jenson Button and acclaimed business adviser and lawyer Roger Behle.
Radford’s first new model of the modern era is built in a partnership with Lotus. While the mid-engine two-seater coupé takes inspiration from the revered 1960’s Lotus Type 62, it utilises the Hethel marque’s latest technologies to deliver the purest possible driving experience. The Radford Type 62-2 is engineered for an unadulterated mechanical feel, exceptional engagement and uncompromising poise.
The global premiere is the first time the elegant lines of the exterior have been shown, and the highly luxurious interior will be revealed at a future date. The car’s design has been led by preeminent automotive designer Mark Stubbs who has taken the project from a sketch to the production-ready car revealed today. Stubbs’ design for the Type 62-2 evokes the spirit of Lotus and the original Type 62 as a homage to the marque’s illustrious motorsport history. With support from Radford’s engineers, former FIA Formula OneTM World Champion Jenson Button has fine-honed the dynamic response of the Type 62-2 to ensure a superlative driving experience.
Ant Anstead: “When you look at Lotus models from 1948 to today, each of them is numbered from Type 1 right up to the current day, our car is part of that historical lineage, meaning it will take its place in the history books forever. Only 62 Radford Type 62 models will ever be built. No two will be exactly alike, and each will be an exceptionally rare sight on the world’s roads.”
Design – a coachbuilt homage to a racing car icon from the 1960s
Mark Stubbs: “Coachbuilding in the modern era utterly liberates an automotive designer. Advances in technology have ushered in a new era of this historic craft, making it possible to achieve levels of quality and design never before possible and deliver them in an extremely short time. This enables us to evoke the spirit of an iconic car with stunning authenticity and offer owners the ultimate in customisation. However, while Type 62-2 elicits the original Type 62 Lotus hallmarks, it sets its own path as a Radford model – it’s all about creating a feeling of driving something timeless. Something that doesn’t look or feel like anything else on the road.”
The Type 62-2 offers design simplicity combined with a classic flair. The exterior provides the theatre and drama becoming of a luxurious, low-volume coachbuilt car – and the lines which evoke the original 1960s Lotus race car ensure exceptional elegance.
The most striking characteristics of the Type 62-2 exterior design are arguably its ground-hugging stance, low height at just 1,133mm, voluptuous wheel arches, striking side air intakes, distinctive double rear ducktails and doors which cut into the roofline and form part of the roof structure. The sensuous, uncluttered nature of the body surfaces are enabled by the car’s flat underbody and diffuser. These provide exceptional downforce, negating the need for a plethora of ungainly aerodynamic appendages, resulting in deliberately simple, smooth-flowing, achingly beautiful lines and a timeless, coachbuilt appearance.
The car’s side profile remains unerringly faithful to the original, displaying the signature curvaceous high wheel arches and low roofline. Slimline side windows add to the visual drama, as do the cooling ducts, which channel air rearwards to the mid-mounted engine.
At launch, Radford will introduce two versions of the Type 62-2. A ‘Classic’ version, with subtle design cues to the original Type 62 Lotus car which was designed without a wing, and a ‘Gold Leaf’ version, which pays homage to the race car’s iconic livery and distinctive wings added by Lotus in period for more downforce after track testing. Both cars beautifully encapsulate the quality and attention to detail that the Radford brand embodies. On the Classic Type 62-2, five-stud 17-inch forged aluminium wheels are fitted at the front and 18-inch wheels at the rear. On the Gold Leaf model, the wheels are two-piece aluminium 18-inch wheels at the front and 19-inch at the rear, with optional period centre-lock fixings available to further enhance the car’s historic racing style.
At the front, the clamshell sits low to the ground with a central air intake and two side apertures to ensure optimum cooling and airflow. The front wheel arches dominate the forward aspect, reaching high above the lower line of the windscreen and providing a driver’s eye view akin to that found in a 1970s Le Mans race car. A bonded flush cadet-style wrap-around windscreen and a single central wiper blade complete the period endurance-racer look.
Emanating from the tops of the two curvaceous arches are the slimline aerodynamic carbon composite wing mirrors with embedded camera technology. Angular LED headlights sit flush into the bodywork, and Daytime Running Lights within the lighting units create a distinctive light signature.
Along the side of the car, subtle side vents highlight the ‘form follows function’ nature of the Type 62-2, channelling air in towards the radiators while providing yet more excitement to the design. From this view, the doors are clearly visible, the tops of which extend into the car’s roof. This feature provides easier ingress and egress and gives a subtle nod to Radford’s involvement with the prototype Ford GT40 Le Mans car back in the 1960s, as the company helped fashion that car’s doors, rear engine hatch and front nosepiece.
At the rear of the Gold Leaf Type 62-2, the double ducktail spoiler is immediately visible, with the iconic Lotus lettering visible between the double ducktail spoilers. On the Classic Type 62-2 model, the ducktails are omitted in favour of a more subtle curvature to the rear end, this is also an homage to the original car which was designed without wings. On the original Lotus Type 62, the wings were added later after initial track testing, to provide the car with additional downforce.
Below sit distinctive rear light units, which hark back to the small square light clusters of the original Type 62. A smooth line connects the two rear light units, providing a more modern light signature and visually widening the car’s rear. The light cluster uses LEDs, which blink to indicate when the vehicle is turning left or right.
The rear is finished by two symmetrical wide-bore ceramic coated exhaust pipe tips. Underneath the exhausts, the bodywork kinks upwards above a deep diffuser which starts as a flat floor right from the front of the car, emanating at the rear, providing downforce and enhancing rear cornering grip.
Above the ducktail rear spoilers on top of the engine bay sits a beautifully crafted carbon fibre panel. Four ‘pill-shaped’ cut-outs – reminiscent of the Lotus Europa – provide another subtle nod to the car’s heritage while also serving a cooling function.
Mark Stubbs: “In many ways, it’s a real challenge creating a tribute to a historic vehicle – because nothing is quite the same as on a contemporary car. Inherently, the wheels are bigger, the overhangs are longer, and the cockpit and engine position are different. The Radford Type 62-2 was always intended as a homage, not a copy – to deliver that successfully means translating the essence of the original Type 62 into the modern world – which is something that I am confident we’ve achieved with the first Radford of the new era.”
Chassis and body – an uncompromising combination of carbon composite and aluminium for optimum lightness
The chassis and body of the Type 62-2 are constructed from high-quality bonded and riveted aluminium and premium-grade carbon fibre composite, respectively. This choice of advanced lightweight materials ensures inherent stiffness and gives a dry weight, for the race specification Type 62-2s, of under 1,000kgs. At the core of the Type 62-2 is a light aluminium monocoque structure. Formed with pioneering bonding techniques, the construction ensures exceptional torsional rigidity, which benefits handling and agility and enhances ride comfort.
The integrity of the lightweight bonded and riveted aluminium structure of Type 62-2’s chassis also ensures impressive occupant safety in the event of a crash. Its exceptional rigidity and torsional strength lower the need for additional bracing within the cabin – leaving the interior uncluttered and leading to further weight savings.
Adjoining the aluminium chassis is a carbon fibre composite structure that is inserted into the chassis. This incorporates the firewall, windscreen and roof structure of the car – effectively creating the structure of the car’s passenger cell. The design is incredibly rigid and contains a carbon composite roll hoop to offer occupant protection in the event of an accident.
The exterior body panels are crafted from carbon fibre composite – these include the front clam, the doors, the wheel arches, and all of the car’s rear panels, including the distinctive cover above the engine bay and the double rear ducktails.
The Radford chassis also employs a sophisticated tubular rear subframe, bespoke made by the company to increase strength, stiffness and cornering performance. Finished to impeccable standards, it provides further exemplary aesthetic values in areas where the rear subframe is visible.
Jenson Button: “Creating a car that is simultaneously luxurious and comfortable, and great to drive, is a tough challenge, but the first Radford of the modern era delivers. Type 62-2 is a driver’s car at its heart – when you see the design, it looks just like a 70s Le Mans car. And when you sit behind the steering wheel and look through the curved windscreen, you can see the front wheel arches – something you just don’t experience on road cars today. With such a low centre of gravity, the car’s body doesn’t roll. The chassis exhibits all the hallmarks of a beautifully set up race car for the road – gifting the driver supreme confidence to extract maximum enjoyment every journey.”
Performance – intoxicating power from a 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine
The Radford Type 62-2 is powered by a 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine. Adhering to Lotus race and road car philosophy, it is mid-mounted low to the car’s unique tubular rear subframe behind the driver, delivering an optimum centre of gravity and exemplary road holding.
During gentle driving, the engine is quiet and composed, endowing the Type 62-2 with consummate long-distance touring prowess. But when the driver presses the accelerator harder, the supercharged V6 engine takes on an altogether different character, responding instantly with a tractable, linear power delivery that ensures aggressive, supercar acceleration.
The engine in the Classic Type 62-2 musters 430bhp of power, and with a predicted dry weight of under 1,000 kilos, the car will produce an impressive power-to-weight ratio in the region of 430bhp per tonne – which is comparable to many modern supercars.
The engine in the Gold Leaf version offers even more outstanding performance. It features upgraded pistons, con-rods, camshafts and uprated electronic mapping to cope with the additional power and torque. In this form, it produces 500bhp, and with the same predicted weight as the Classic, the Gold Leaf’s power-to-weight ratio increases to an exceptional 500bhp per tonne. On all models, a bespoke titanium exhaust system delivers a genuinely impressive aural experience.
Jenson Button: “The sound of the Type 62-2 even at idle is something really special. But when you begin to explore the rev range further up, it becomes incredible, raising the hairs on the back of your neck and putting a big smile on your face. However, the unique thing about this engine is that we’ve kept it pure, no exhaust valves, no trickery of any kind – what you hear is uncorrupted and utterly authentic – just like every single element of the driving experience.”
Transmission – six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch
The Type 62-2 is offered with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT). The Classic Type 62-2 is fitted with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission and an electronic differential lock as standard, with a precision shift mechanism providing extremely slick shifts and a highly engaging, driver-focussed feel. Owners can also specify the Classic model with the DCT transmission as an option and have the V6 engine’s power output upgraded to 500bhp if they wish.
The Gold Leaf’s dual-clutch, seven-speed transmission, which is mated to a limited-slip differential, offers even faster, more efficient gear changes. Drivers can choose to enjoy the precise and engaging change in manual mode or make more relaxing, smooth and effortless progress in auto mode.
To ensure optimum stopping power on both road and track, the Radford has equipped the Type 62-2 with a state-of-the-art braking system, featuring AP Racing 4-pot callipers with iron rotors.
Vehicle Dynamics – race car agility with long-distance comfort
Jenson Button “The Type 62-2 tips the scales at under 1,000kgs, making it extremely rare among modern sportscars. Its responses, low centre of gravity and handling make it feel like a race car, yet it is also smooth and compliant on the road. The experience of driving the car is really about fun, simplicity and inspiring driver confidence behind the wheel – but with the luxury appointments you would expect from a world-class coachbuilder.”
With the pedigree of Lotus technology underpinning the car and the expertise of Formula One World Champion Jenson Button setting up the dynamics to excel on both road and track, the Type 62-2 is a thoroughly engaging driver’s car. But that driving pleasure never comes at the expense of comfort.
The suspension takes the form of coilover springs with 4-way adjustable dampers front and rear, with an optional hydraulic nose lift system offered to deal with speed bumps in town and uneven road surfaces. The Radford Type 62-2 is lowered beyond traditional Lotus geometry to provide additional grip and a lower centre of gravity, which adds to the driver-focused feel of the car.
The Classic model is equipped with a switchable, multi-mode Bosch ESP system. In contrast, the Gold Leaf model features an even more advanced independently switchable motorsport-derived ABS and traction control system. To ensure ultimate levels of feel and feedback from tyres to the driver, the steering is an unassisted rack and pinion system.
Type 62-2 has been developed to provide a balanced drive and inspire confidence. Its suspension set-up pushes the boundaries, providing a driving feel that takes it far beyond the parameters of most modern road cars and into the realms of a true race car. Under the guidance of Jenson Button, the car has been set up on the Radford Track in Arizona initially to fine-tune the balance. Following the perfection of these settings, the car is undergoing a rigorous testing programme on-road to ensure that the track suspension configuration translates seamlessly to everyday driving conditions and to dial in the comfort and compliance required of a luxury road-going vehicle.
By calibrating the car personally, Jenson Button is aiming to make the Type 62-2 feel alive and ‘on its toes,’ resulting in a car with exceptional steering feel and driver feedback, whether on a British B-road, a highway or a fast-flowing circuit.
Practicality – a true driver’s car that can be used every day
The Type 62-2 is a labour of love for the entire Radford team. Every craftsperson working on the car has devoted their energy and passion to making the car a peerless proposition. As a result, the Type 62-2 is a car that can be used every day, by all types of drivers. The car’s clever door design which pays homage to the original Type-62 also incorporates part of the roof, and was chosen specifically to enhance the ease of ingress and egress. At the same time, the sill of the aluminium chassis sits low to the ground, and the flat cabin floor is free from obstructions across the width of the car.
Once inside, all-around visibility is highly impressive, particularly rearward visibility enhanced by pin-sharp rear-facing cameras which replace the traditional mirrors. The car’s narrow proportions mean that its footprint is relatively small, making it easy to park and place on narrow roads or in urban environments. The front and rear parking cameras also significantly aid this process.
Lifting the rear clamshell reveals the storage compartment located in front of the engine but behind the cockpit. Owners will have the option to specify bespoke Mason and Sons holdalls to maximise the luggage space. In any guise, however, luggage for two can be accommodated for road trips.
Ensuring comfort and practicality around town, with an optional lift for the front suspension available on the car, allowing it to easily clear speed bumps and other road furniture without damaging the car’s bodywork.
Technology – driver-focussed essentials, with minimal distractions
Whilst paying homage to the past, the Type 62-2 is equipped with the very latest automotive technology available. This approach is illustrated by the two wing mirrors, which, while visually referencing those found on the original car, feature compact yet powerful cameras mounted inside their housings. Inside the car, two small screens on each A-pillar display a live image from outside.
The rear-view mirror is also replaced by a camera, as no rear visibility would be possible with a conventional mirror – due to the solid rear panel. As the driver looks into the rear-view digital screen, they not only see a perfect view of the road behind but the rear wheel arches too, with a hint of the rear ducktail spoilers also just visible.
The cutting edge Kappa optronics rear view mirrors not only utilise the very latest automotive technology, providing drivers with a crystal clear view of the road ahead, they also dramatically improve the car’s aerodynamics, thanks to their diminutive size compared to standard mirrors.
All essential information is relayed to the diver via a high contrast 6″ TFT display mounted behind the steering wheel directly in the driver’s line of sight, it features a dash logger with Wi-Fi connectivity, 18 integrated LEDs and 14 digital switch inputs, which can be used for daily driving and customised to suit track days at the push of a button.
The car also incorporates the latest Bluetooth connectivity – connecting wirelessly to the driver’s phone to stream audio, which is played via a 5-speaker sound system.
Owner experience – the ultimate service for the ultimate coachbuilt car
Type 62-2 owners receive a totally bespoke and customised service from the Radford team. This begins with the first expression of interest and continues throughout the purchase, custom design and manufacturing process. That same approach will continue for the duration of vehicle ownership – providing owners with complete reassurance that their car will be cared for throughout its lifetime. Globally, Type 62-2 owners will have access to a global service network catering for the sale and service of Radford models.
Owners will be kept fully informed during every step of their car’s development, provided with the first sight of vehicle designs, engineering milestones and project updates. Moving closer to the car’s start of production date, owners will be invited to ‘co-create’ their vehicle to their exacting vision, liaising with Radford’s bespoke designers to ensure an utterly unique, coachbuilt, custom finish. They will also have the option of visiting their car during the build process if they wish.
Radford’s bespoke coachbuilding extends to all aspects of the car. Radford will work with owners to ensure that each and every owner desire on the car is met, this ranges from all of the interior finishes and unique paint colours through each part of the car’s design which includes surface changes to the vehicle bodywork to the power and performance of the car. Every Radford is totally unique and built exclusively for each owner.
Owners can choose to collect their car from Radford’s California base, Radford’s test track, or indeed, have it delivered to them anywhere in the world. Following collection, owners will be offered tailored experiences to continually enhance their ownership of one of the world’s most unique coachbuilt sportscars.
Production of the Radford Type 62-2 begins in late 2021, with first deliveries being made in Q1 2022.
Radford is a global luxury automotive brand with a British heart and soul, creating on-trend vehicles based on classic, timeless designs. It draws on the heritage and craftmanship of Harold Radford, the creator of countless bespoke vehicles, to offer owners opulent coachbuilt and personalised cars.
All Radford automobiles will be created around the company’s motto: ‘Design. Build. Drive’. The design is overseen by leading automotive designer Mark Stubbs. The build is taken care of by Radford’s second co-owner TV star, renowned car builder and automotive craftsman Ant Anstead. The drive is taken care of by company co-owner and Formula OneTM World Champion, Jenson Button who will track-test and meticulously tune each car to offer a superlative driving experience. This is all underpinned by leading business expert Roger Behle.