The Car, According To Gordon Murray

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The New York Times’ Wheels blog recently convinced Gordon Murray to answer a few questions posted by its readers. With the journalists safely out of the way, what followed was a broad, frank and fascinating conversation about the future of the automobile. Sure, there are questions about the past, like how he would update the McLaren F1 vis a vis Veyron and company. Carbon fiber brakes, admits Murray, but he “wouldn’t envisage any other change.” He’d much rather talk about his current project, the T.25 city car. It’s a plastic-bodied attempt at “the next iconic city car, from a styling point of view, as was the 1957 Fiat 500 and the 1959 Mini.” The inevitable question comes: “Why do you want to work on this type of car now, after building the worlds greatest supercar? Murray appears to have been thinking about this thing for a while. “I have built performance cars all my life, and their time, unfortunately, is pretty much over. What we’re working on is a car for the future. It has been a gradual evolution of thought, which started in the summer of 1993 when I was stuck in traffic jam on the way to work.” And he swears it’s for real. “Building an ultra-light but safe and efficient car at a very low cost and sales price requires the exact same lateral thinking and philosophy we applied to the McLaren F1.” And the rule book does seem to have been thrown out. The T.25 has been designed to “to accept any powertrain or fuel,” and Murray claims his firm “can license out our manufacturing process whether we undertake the engineering work for the program or not.” Working with speed freaks (and T.25 investors) Caparo to develop low-cost composites, Murray hopes to kill enough weight and friction to get 80 mpg on a European combined cycle. “The design,” he says, “is small, low-cost and efficient. If this comes close to living up to its potential, it’s going to be a big deal. Given Murray’s history, it’s got as good a shot as any other modular, poly-powertrain, lightweight, iconic city car currently in development. Seriously, read the whole thing.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Campisi Campisi on Sep 13, 2008

    I absolutely love dirt-cheap economy cars. Such is why whenever I try to imagine what my imaginary car company would build and market to the public (don't judge my imaginings; you've all done it), it's always low-end and unique. I await the T.25 with baited breath.

  • Nappyrash Nappyrash on Sep 13, 2008

    Gordon Murray has always had the right ideas conceptually and is well respected in the UK

  • Scott Miata for the win.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X On a list of things to spend my time and money on, doing an EV conversion on a used car is about ten millionth.
  • TheEndlessEnigma No, no I would/will not.
  • ChristianWimmer If I want an EV then I’ll buy an EV. For city use a small EV with a 200-300 km range (aka “should last for a week with A/C or heater usage”) is ideal. But I only have space for one daily driver and that daily driver also needs to be capable of comfortable long-distance cruising at high speeds and no current EV can do this without rapidly draining its battery charge.
  • SCE to AUX I prefer original, no matter what the car is. If the car has some value, then an electric drivetrain lowers its value. But if it's just a used car, why spend a fortune to install an electric drivetrain?