Gordon Murray: The Automotive Rockstar


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Gordon Murray is a renowned designer of Formula One race cars and the famous McLaren F1 supercar.

With the recent formation of his own company, Engineering Guru and Automotive ROCKSTAR, Gordon Murray, is turning his attention away from sound barrier travelling hypercars and towards radically packaged cars for everyday use….. for now, not forever. 🙂

Gordon Murray Design Limited was launched yesterday July 4, 2007 and has been established at Stonebridge Wharf on the River Wey at Shalford. Finance has come from US investor Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) and the UK-based Caparo Group. The directors include motor sport designers and engineers such as Barry Lett and Frank Coppuck.

Murray himself began designing race cars in his native South Africa back in 1964. Five years later he moved to the UK, and spent the next 35 years working for Grand Prix teams – first Brabham and then McLaren, where he devised the McLaren F1 (Type 22) road car seen below.


The company’s first project is called Type 25 (because Murray has already designed 24 cars in his career, not including variants). Type 25 is a city car whose main benefits are light weight, cheap manufacture and low running costs. The company describes it as “a new start in small vehicle design” and aims to use small size, lightweight materials and simple design to cut cost, consumption, congestion and whole-life emissions, including those emitted as it is built.

The first prototypes will be running within two years and the design will be sold or licensed to a major manufacturer to be built in large volumes. Helped by low fuel consumption and tax breaks, running costs will be a quarter that of an entry-level Golf, he claims.

In an interview with UK’s Car Magazine, Murray expressed his intention to develop highly radical and efficient cars for mass production. “My passion lies in small, light, strong advanced vehicles,” said Murray, “The next project will be a personal transport thing. The vehicle is so radical that you’d have to let people try it in everyday use.”

Possibly the greatest insight into what has driven Murray towards a consumer/environment friendly initiative (for a change) was this statement: “My passion is packaging, if you want to make something that takes a step forward or helps people with congestion and the environment, it’s all about packaging. What we’re selling is a whole new vehicle architecture. We’re going to prove that you can significantly reduce emissions over the whole life cycle of the vehicle, but still have fun driving it and still feel safe.”

Please NOTE: This car and Gordon Murray’s initiative is all about developing a brand spanking new ARCHITECTURE. Sometimes an underlying architecture goes unappreciated and unnoticed when a new product or service comes to market.

This car will come with a bunch of incentives on things like tax and parking that mean that within four years you’ll pay off the purchase cost with the savings; it’s not just fuel. Murray basically said “the car is free after four years, and if that’s not an incentive I don’t know what else to do. I’ll go back to racing!”

With 14 mostly ex-McLaren employees, Murray’s new design and engineering facilities can handle three major projects.

3 Major projects with 14 people. If this doesn’t scream ROCKSTAR then I don’t know what does.

Next year Murray will start work on his second project, a sports car ready by 2010 and which he says will match the McLaren F1 for engineering purity and driver focus but at a fraction of the cost.

The new company will build this car itself and it will bear Murray’s new mermaid logo, inspired by the Murray clan crest.

In almost complete contrast, the company’s next plan is to develop a new supercar, which has already been in development for four years. Practically the only similarity with Type 25 is that it will be light, and will therefore produce high levels of performance with a relatively modest power output.

The layout of the car remains secret, but Murray has said “It doesn’t bear any relationship to a normal motorcar at all,” he says, adding that the vehicle is shorter than a golf cart. The way you sit, the way you get in and out, the way you load the luggage are all different.”

Other Achievements
Earlier in his career designed and built the first ever composites facility for race cars, which included the detailed design of the autoclave, oven and cooling system. He also designed and built a complete wind tunnel facility including the building, rolling road and control system; the tunnel was the first in the industry constructed from composite panels.

His patents include a close-couple transmission, mass damper suspension, oil tank construction system, automatic brake cooling system, aero centre-of-pressure control system, and 3-seater layout. His firsts in Formula One include pull rod suspension, onboard timing, carbon brakes, dry sump gearbox, carbon chassis panels, ground effect aerodynamics, air locks and pit stops.

He was recently awarded an honorary professorship by Durban Institute of Technology, his alma mater, where he first studied mechanical engineering and as a student won the Arthur May prize for gaining the highest marks in his final year project, which was the design of a 4-stroke engine.

Notable Cars Designed By Gordon Murray
Caparo T1 – Wikipedia
McLaren SLR – Wikipedia
McLaren F1 – Wikipedia

No matter how small or radical this new car will be, expect full non-biased coverage of it here at CarZi. 😛

[Source: Wikipedia.com, RoadandTrack.com, carmagazine.co.uk, carkeys.co.uk, cartoday.com]

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2 Responses to “Gordon Murray: The Automotive Rockstar”

  1. Gordon Murray Sketches His New T25 City Car | CarZi said on July 3rd, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    […] Gordon Murray is a renowned designer of Formula One race cars and the famous and ultra wicked awesomeMcLaren F1 supercar. Today he unveiled some sketches of his new “City Car” named the T25 which will be an ultra lightweight eco-friendly car aimed at the masses in the UK. […]

  2. Gordon Murray - Reflections on the Acura NSX | CarZi said on November 23rd, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    […] Gordon Murray is a renowned designer of Formula One race cars and the famous and ultra wicked awesome McLaren F1 supercar. This is a translated reflection on the ACURA NSX by the Automotive Rockstar Designer himself. […]