Gordon Murray is now 75-years-old but shows absolutely no sign of slowing down. In fact, quite the opposite; the man is on a mission. The objective? To get back the simplicities that make driving such an enjoyable endeavour. Sickened by the trends the automotive industry has been throwing itself at over the last few decades, Gordon and his team and Gordon Murray Automotive are determined to prove the industry has got it all wrong.
Their first vehicle unveiled a while back, but still awaiting customer deliveries, was the T.50. A car unashamedly inspired by one of the all-time greats; the McLaren F1. A car fathered by Murray some 30+ years ago. The technology has changed significantly since then, but Gordon is determined to prove that the recipe needn’t.
His lightweight, driver-centric approach that was so key to the success of the F1 is at the heart of the T.50 and this new T.33. Gordon admits this car is a cousin of the T.50 with it sharing a lot – on paper at least. But it’s certainly no cut-price special still costing £1.4m.
Gone is the Formula 1 inspired ground effect fan the T.50 pioneered, although a lot of the lessons learned from the development are implemented here. The T.33 is also devoid of huge wings and other aero apparatus usually seen adorning even the most basic of vehicles nowadays.
Taking styling cues from the 60s cars Gordon grew up clamouring for, the T.33 completely bucks the current trend for super sharp and aggressive lines. Save for the one sharp crease that runs the length of the car, from headlight to hip, the T.33 is an incredibly smooth design. Short overhangs, stacked headlights and an accentuated role hoop reminiscent of a Porsche Targa scream 60s, whilst crisp details and finishing touchings avoid the T.33 looking too retro. It’s 2022 after all.
The powerplant is the same Cosworth-designed V12 albeit tweaked from the full-fat T.50 version. They’ve done more than simply cut power, however. Thanks in part to a lower rev limit (still a frankly ridiculous 11,100rpm) the 4-litre motor has an even wider torque band than before producing 75% of torque from just 2,500rpm.
On the surface, the T.33 has a rather poor power output compared with most modern machinery at 607bhp, but that’s entirely the point. You don’t need anymore. Particularly when the T.33 weighs in at 1090kg dry, it’s hardly going to be slow.
Perhaps surprisingly, the T.33 will be available with a paddle shift. Given the marques philosophy, this does seem like a strange decision, but with the purpose of the T.33 to be a much more usable, all-around vehicle it does make sense to offer one. However, Gordon has admitted of around half the cars already pre-sold (there will only be 100 available by the way so be quick) only three customers have opted for the flappy paddles despite the promise of instantaneous shifts.
Even with the cost and rarity of the T.33, every effort has been made to make it as usable as possible. A scuttle height the same as the F1 ensure panoramic levels of visibility out the front and a ludicrous hinged rear quarter panel reveals luggage space that, combined with the frunk, totals 280-litres. The T.33 also operates on relatively normal Michelin Pilot Sport 4S’s and Murray promises yet more mundane when it comes to service costs and intervals. Any barrier that would normally stop a customer from using the car on the regular has been broken down.
As exciting as GMA is, it’s painful to watch vehicles seemingly so perfect be completely out of reach for pretty much all but the uber-rich. I can only hope the success and attention GMA is drawing will make other manufacturers take notice. No pressure on the Lotus Emira, but right now it seems to be the only hope.