Radford bags John Player Special trademark

That's right – Radford is deadly serious about its deep dive into Lotus iconography

By Becky Wells / Thursday, July 8, 2021 / Loading comments

It’s a tricky thing, the ol’ law. Copyright issues, trademarks, not driving faster than 70mph; it’s hard to navigate. That’s the struggle Lotus has been facing since the Lotus Type 72D raced to five victories and a championship back in the 1972 Formula 1 season.

That’s because back then, those Formula 1 cars were coated in the John Player Special livery, recognisable with the back paintwork and gold highlights and lettering. But the trademark for such a paintjob remained with JPS, which made it difficult for Lotus to use it in its reinventions. The brand has often harked back to the iconic design of old, but could never fully embrace a homage model due to the contracts and paperwork.

However, that could be about to change, as the global luxury coachbuilding brand Radford, has finally acquired that US trademark, meaning the game is now well and truly on. “The acquisition of the JPS livery trademark is a clear statement of intent from Radford,” noted Dan Burge, CEO. “We are an emotive brand steeped in British history and heritage. Adding one of the world’s most iconic racing liveries to our armoury, reinforces that. We’ll be using this livery in various guises in the coming years, on future Radford models, which we can’t wait to show the world.”

Radford recently announced a partnership with Lotus, which means the design should definitely be an integral part of their next project together. ‘Project 62’ will be “ultra-exclusive”, being inspired by the Type 62, and is already in advanced developments. Hopefully they’ll now take a revisit to the paintshop, though.

The coachbuilder is part owned by our old friend, F1 champion Jenson Button, who says; “The John Player Special is, without question, one of the most iconic racing liveries ever to grace a Formula 1 car. For me, it conjures images of the ‘Golden era’ of Formula One racing, adorning cars driven by heroes such as Emerson Fitipaldi and Ayrton Senna. Legends that inspired me to want to become a racing driver.”

We look forward to seeing the whole retro Lotus business model take off from here.


  • Radford Project 62 confirmed as mid-engined

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