How supercar suspension was dreamt up in a city pub on the back of a napkin

Mike Redshaw tells stories about his time as managing director of Redco

Mike Redshaw, managing director of Redco Precision Engineering company, has been involved in numerous whacky and wild projects. - Credit: James Dodds

It was a cold and windy night in the late 1980s when entrepreneur Mike Redshaw was trapped in a city centre pub.  

The founder of engineering company Redco, based in Vulcan Road Industrial Estate, Mike began chatting to a man he sat next to at the bar while he waited for a blizzard to pass.

That man turned out to be a Lotus engineer and in the following hours the boffins bumped heads and designed a suspension system for a famous Norfolk supercar.  

Mike, who founded his company in 1981 and remains managing director, said: "My girlfriend, now wife, worked at the Woolpack pub in Golden Ball Street.

Mike Redshaw pictured with one of his high tech machines mills

Mike Redshaw founded the company in 1981 - Picture: Mr Redshaw with one of his high tech machine mills - Credit: James Dodds

"I looked outside and the weather was atrocious, it was a blizzard. 

"Back then I drove an old TVR, rear-wheel drive, so I knew I wouldn't be driving home. 

"I ended up chatting to a guy up at the bar who turned out to be a Lotus design engineer. 

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"So we sat there, must have been two to three hours - six or seven pints down - and ended up designing part of the then new Lotus Elan's suspension for a few years before they stopped making them. 

"There ended up being dozens of bits of paper and beer mats which had designs scrawled all over them." 

And since then the company has gone from strength to strength.  

Mike explained: "It started out as Riddle & Hobb before becoming RH Plastics and then at the start of the millennium we became Redco."  

Mike has dealt directly with the likes of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in helping safeguard their East and West atrium premises. 

He was also involved in providing prototype parts for the Thrust2 team in their bid to break the land speed record - which they held from October 4 in 1983 to September 25 in 1997 reaching a whopping 666.483 mph. 

Turning over £2.5million in 2021 the company is looking ahead to another bumper year. 

The Leeds native added: "Covid was kind to us. During the pandemic we created the initial designs and made hundreds of the plastic screens seen in local taxis now. 

"We're investing in two more £200,000 machines and hoping to hit £3 million by the end of this year."