Friday, May 28, 2010

Radford de Ville

Harold Radford spotted an opportunity in 1963. While rich folk like opulent and luxurious cars, a lot of them live in cities. And not all of them want Rolls Royces. The obvious solution, then, was to retrim the Mini in a manner that befitted the cash-rich classes.
The Mini de Ville was available in three spec levels: de Luxe, Bel Air and Grand Luxe, each offering various degrees of customisation. Leather seats, electric windows, shag-pile carpets, posh walnut trim, Speedwell-tuned engines - the sky was the limit.
In '65, the de Ville GT was added to the line-up, providing one of the most noteworthy and downright useful alterations on offer - a hatchback conversion.

The ultimate evolution of the de Ville came in 1967, when the hatchback at the rear was complemented by stacked headlights at the front, sourced from the Facel Vega. With a full-length Webasto sunroof, magnesium alloys, twin fuel tanks and a top speed of 110mph, it offered a truly upper-class package... but at a price. At the time, a new Mini Cooper S cost £850. The Radford de Ville mkIII? A cool £2500.