Radford Coachbuilders, led by Harold Radford, produced intricate and comprehensive coachwork for luxury British marques in the 1950s. Surprisingly, they also applied this formula to the Austin Mini in 1963 and called it the Mini de Ville. In many cases each car was different, but they all had feature-rich upgrades sometimes using bits from other British marques.
At the top of the range was the Grand Luxe which featured an entirely new interior. It included a custom walnut dashboard, an optional Webasto sun roof, Connolly leather upholstery, additional sound deadening and almost every available Smiths gauge. Furthermore, an electric window system by Piper Electric Ltd. was fitted which included switches on a new center armrest. The door panels were all-new including provisions for the electric motor, lights near the sill, new handles and wooden accents.
Bodywork was usually restricted to bolt on items, including Riley head lamp rims, Riley chrome strips and a Benelite grill with built-in Lucas 567 fog lights. Sometimes the rear lights were switched for Aston Martin or VW Beetle units. Both the front hood and trunk included automatic lights.
Engines were occasionally prepared by Speedwell or left as stock units. Tyically Radford worked exclusively on the Cooper and Cooper S models. Some cars were prepared for the Beatles including the George Harrison’s Mini prepared for the Magical Mystery Tour.
By 1965, Radford offered the ‘de Luxe GT’ which transformed the Mini into a hatchback. At the expense of torsional rigidity, the rear parcel shelf and bulkhead were removed and new upholstery was made to surround the twin fuel tanks on each side.