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red torpedo

Through the years

Where it all began...

We always believe in transparency, so we thought it was right to tell you the story of our business over the past two decades. There’s a number of twists and turns in our story so, I guess, we better start at the beginning.

Founder Bill Gordon, after much success growing businesses in Sales & Marketing services, decided he wanted to create a brand from scratch. He approached his designer friend in the US and created Red Torpedo as an underwear brand turned up to eleven, aimed at rocking the status quo with a badly needed injection of attitude. Immersed in the underground music scene that was so prominent in 2002, Red Torpedo was born and introduced as the “Kings of the Underworld”. With some marketing campaigns that pushed the boundaries, the brand created a stir and quickly grew.

Production started in early 2002 on the first underwear lines, dedicating themselves to offering a superior quality product with long term value – a core principle that still remains today.

Word spread quickly and soon Red Torpedo became a partner sponsor with Club NME, hosting some intimate gigs with (relatively unknown at the time!) artists such as Calvin Harris, KT Tunstall and Biffy Clyro! Bill imported an old 1962 Chevy in jet black which he took to gigs and events selling the kick-ass underwear everywhere he could.

The cockerel logo with its red comb became iconic and stood as our brand mark for a number of years. It not only represented the attitude of the brand but was also used significantly as a design device for our product development.

The polarized underwear market at the time had two types of offering, either cheap multipack that would last you a week, or ultra-high end that was so unaffordable, so by positioning Red Torpedo as that challenger brand there was a unique opportunity to do something different. As part of the 3-pack tin, a CD of unsigned artists’ music was included. This was a huge hit and really set the bar for what Red Torpedo could become.

Although our brand has evolved radically since the early days, we still produce high quality underwear lines today, with more to be introduced to the range in spring 2024.


After experiencing the “purest form of motorsport on the planet”, Bill fell in love with the culture and the community of Road Racing. He discovered that the offering of casualwear and merchandise was sub par so decided to create his own to build upon the underwear lines that had become such a success already. He almost immediately met Guy Martin who became our first ever “Red Rider”, with his charisma and challenger mindset, Guy was a perfect match for the brand.


Realising that there was much more opportunity out there, Red Torpedo decided it was time to expand the current offering. Production was moved to Portugal to a factory who’s ethical and sustainable values matched our own a factory we still work very closely with today. We started our line of T-shirts, including one featuring the now iconic Guy Martin’s Spannerskull logo, which was designed by one of Guy’s school friends (also called Guy!) who chipped in with some other amazing designs too.


Demand was crazy! The t-shirts were fast outselling the underwear and selling out faster than we could produce them. After sponsoring Guy Martin, our brand awareness rapidly grew alongside his stellar performances. Our Red Torpedo logo even featured on his race suit and the Hydrex team’s bike. It was time for more…


After some time spent on the drawing board, our t-shirt range expanded. Guy introduced us to one of his hero’s the legend that is John McGuinness MBE. We worked with him to produce some of our first full print t shirts, which sold out at the TT that year. It was time to raise the bar. Bill hired a couple of full time employees to help with the rapid growth of the brand, including our designer, Robin. Originally hired to help with the events, Bill challenged Robin to create 3 new designs as a bet and it’s fair to say they blew him away!


John McGuinness MBE officially joined Team Red Torpedo in 2010 as we created the “Red Riders”. After experiencing the overwhelming response from their fans, we knew we had hit on something special. We then set out to create a team of individuals who really shared our beliefs and our mindset. As demand continued to grow, we had to grow too, starting with investing in a new fulfilment centre in Glasgow and also launching our first women’s range!


Our fulfillment unit in Glasgow quickly became too small for us so we moved again to another, much bigger unit over the road. It was a large investment, but it was a statement - Red Torpedo was here to stay and ever expanding. We needed a proper base to work from and so we built our HQ. This was a significant year for new products and new designs too, including some inspired by our new ventures creating merchandise ranges for Ace Café London and Glemseck. Our wholesale business also really took off, and working with one of our new partners we brought along our Red Riders to a meet and greet event in Glasgow, with queues stretching down the street.


Red Torpedo was in top gear, producing some amazing designs across our ranges including new check shirts and women's vests. Our bond with the Red Riders grew ever stronger and we even sponsored Guy Martin’s new team, Tas Racing, for the season. Our brand was part of their livery and our exposure increased, reaching even more potential customers.


2013-14 saw the introduction of Conor Cummins as our latest Red Rider as well as our newest partnership with some of the most collectable and iconic motorcycle brands on the planet Vincent & Velocette. We brought out a whole host of new lines and even attended some salt flat racing in Burbank, California with our friends Henry Cole and Jay Leno.


Another superstar joins the team in the form of Lee Johnson. Photoshoots with him are an absolute blast and his creative input for his designs have made him a pleasure to work with. His recent venture through his YouTube channel has soared, helping promote the sport and show exclusive behind the scenes footage of what it takes to be a professional road racer.


Another superstar joins the team in the form of Lee Johnson. Photoshoots with him are an absolute blast and his creative input for his designs have made him a pleasure to work with. His recent venture through his YouTube channel has soared, helping promote the sport and show exclusive behind the scenes footage of what it takes to be a professional road racer.


Dean Harrison joined our Red Riders in 2019, which saw his Yorkshire Pistons emblem released just in time for him taking the Senior TT title. Additionally, Red Torpedo launched it’s first range of Waffle Tops which have since become a core part of our collections.


With the COVID 19 pandemic bringing a halt to our events and wholesale trade, we knew we had to evolve. All of the staff began working remotely and embarking on a project that would change the business for ever. Focus quickly turned to redeveloping our entire e-commerce platform and back of house systems which saw us move to Shopify Plus. This gave us much better data access capabilities and helped us to restore our consumer outreach. We’d built a platform for the business to grow from and the foundations for the brand to come out of the pandemic in a better place than before it.


2022 was another record setting year for Red Torpedo, with orders shipped to over 40 countries worldwide. New product development is underway for 2023 with some exciting new lines launching including new flannel shirts and embroidered polos joining the range. Red Torpedo is once again in top gear and continuing to raise the bar!


Our new branding launched in May 2023. This was a huge undertaking. We worked closely with an outside marketing agency to come up with our new logo & fonts and we are so pleased of the outcome. What better way to launch, than at the Isle of Man TT!