Gordon Murray Automotive – One last hurrah for the internal combustion enthusiast.

Electric cars are great, they are powerful, fast, easy to maintain and apart from range have no drawbacks. My beloved wife has an i3, it is incredible. Quick, relatively comfortable and when driven around town it feels like one of those deep-sea fishes evolved perfectly to its environment. It is the apex predator in the center of any European city. I really love it, I took it to the dealer last week and the result was as follows:

  • 190 Euro in servicing (done once every two years), including air filters and all that jazz.
  • A set of windscreen wipers for 30 Euro
  • Two sets of premium tires at around 500 Euro each
  • Windscreen washer fluid at 15 Euros every three months.
  • That’s it. My beloved spends that money and she is set. No taxes (at least in Bulgaria), no parking fees, no congestion zones, nothing. The i3 basically has it all. It is even soulful; you can even overpower the rear 175 section tires. There are absolutely no drawbacks to the vehicle, subjectively I even love the way it looks.

There is a reason why 250,000 people bought them, love them, and cherish them. You see the i3 is made by an automotive company, which spent the last century developing cars, this one just happens to be electric. It is “A CAR”., it feels like one, drives like one and creates an emotional bond with you because it has soul like one. There are no whoopie cushion simulators, burning fire yokes and so on… Elon Musk is a visionary and there is no doubt that he brought electric cars to the masses but his cars appeal to IT people because they are made by IT people. The inside jokes in Tesla are made to be laughed at by the same people who create them. It is just not me. What I am trying to say is that I want coffee made by a coffee nerd, bread baked by a bread nerd and a car made by a car nerd. Funny enough the 10-year-old kid who is an automotive enthusiast (all cars, internal combustion, hybrid, electric, hydrogen…) does not have a Tesla on their wall because they are just appliances. However, there is still a South African man in the UK, who has assembled a bunch of extremely clever people who have created a bunch of financially unviable cars with absolutely no practical purpose for anyone and yet this 77-year-old South African manages to find hundreds of customers at more than 3,000,000 Euro a car. Because it is a car made by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts, it is a shared emotion, it is a joy of driving like nothing else on the face of the earth. I did not do said 77-year-old man justice. This man is Gordon Murray – a genius, the one man who took on Formula one and single-handedly beat it by exploiting the rules multiple times. He also wears brilliant shirts. Gordon Murray, in the world of automotive enthusiasts is God, there is no one higher, there are many reasons for that, all the Brabhams between 1972 and 1986, and McLarens between 1987 and 1991 are just the start to the proof. The Light car company was an obscure peak into Gordon’s mind. But his Obra Maestra was the McLaren F1 road car. We have discussed this over and over again on our blog posts but the key word in the previous sentence is “was”. Last year Gordon Murray’s company, GMA, started production on their latest flagship – the T.50. We could speculate that the T.50 is nothing new, but this is not a bad thing. The car represents an idea that Gordon Murray had once turned into reality with the Mclaren F1. It was an incredible machine but according to Murray himself it was restricted. He then went and had a think about it for a good 32 years and what he came up with is simply stunning. You know how you get an obsessive idea in your head, and you hone it the same way a river hones a sharp rock into a perfectly round one? This is what Gordon Murray did together with his team. He had the idea of the perfect vehicle in his mind and although he loved the execution the first time, he wanted to perfect it and he spent all that time doing that. The T.50 is not about outright numbers. Gordon “Couldn’t care less about 0-60 (2.8seconds), top speed, etc.”

What he cares about is the fact that that the car is as close to his vision as possible with no regard for cost. Gordon Murray knew he didn’t have to build the T.50, after all he had already proven to the world everything there was to prove. At the same time, it was obvious to him that he had to build T.50 – with 2023 technology and with absolutely no restrictions. T.50 is the pinnacle of all things automotive. Knowing what makes its creator tick we can only expect the best – the first thing on Gordon’s mind is always weight – his cars must be super lightweight. T.50 delivers with a dry weight 997kg. It is not that hard to make a car light, but you need to compromise – you need to rid the car of amenities like A/C, quality sound system and everything that makes the creatures inside comfortable. GMA did no such thing – there were absolutely no sacrifices made – the sound system is especially designed to not weigh over 5kg. Do you know how impossibly hard that is? Every single bit of T.50 has been designed to perfection using only the best and lightest materials to be perfect. Once we know what Gordon Murray is all about, we already have an idea what engine he wants to use for the car. It was always going to be a V12 configuration but unlike the F1, T.50 and later T.33, have a bespoke Cosworth 3,994cc engine (relatively small volume not just today even in the 50s and 60s) which revs up to 11,500RPM with a 14:1 compression ratio, and producing 670hp… not an insane figure today when an Origami Lamborghini Urus has similar power but insane when considering the weight of the cars.

The Cosworth V12 unit is inherently balanced and even the lads at Cosworth’s abilities were pushed by the insane Durban native to squeeze a specific power output of over 160hp per liter. Just watch GMA test driver Dario Franchitti rev it out of a corner and you will instantly get a characteristic bump in the front of your trousers. The madness that is the V12 of the T.50 and T.33 is translated to the road via an X-trac bespoke 6 speed manual, H-pattern gearbox and on to the standard sized 235/35/R19 and 295/30/R20 wheels. This hints at something which makes the GMA cars what they truly are – they are also practical. Yes, you read correctly – I called them practical, because they both have relatively large luggage space and are no bigger than a Porsche Boxster. Every consumable on the cars including tires, brakes and fluids are relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire but they did not have to do that. These cars cost £2.8 million, and the owners clearly can afford bespoke rubber and servicing.

This is what sets GMA vehicles from the other hypercars – how far they are willing to go to make their products perfect. It is indeed not what you see in a product that really matters. T.33 is the “budget” version which has a “retuned” Cosworth V12 (yellow cam covers) and a more regular seating configuration of two seats side by side rather than the three seats with a central driving position of the T.50. Honestly, I prefer the T.33 as it is also slightly more minimalistic and simplistic in its design without being boring, but it is likely that if you can afford one – you probably have all of them.

T.33 does away with the kind of gimmick that is the fan at the back of T.50 which is there mostly to invoke nostalgia for Gordon’s middle finger to Formula one in the form of the Brabham BT46 from 1978.

Abrites is a diagnostic tool company, but we love cars, we love engineering, we love people who think outside the norm. This is why it is important for us to pay homage to the greats. GMA cars are not the fastest, they are not the lightest, they are not the most fuel efficient but what they are is perfect. This is what we strive for and just like GMA builds the best possible vehicles of a breed we soon will not be able to see we want to build the best possible tool for you. With utmost respect to the man who at 77 has the same creative energy as he did in 1978 – see you soon.