Over 15 Million Engines and Transmissions
According to founder and supercar visionary Gordon Murray, it took a deep breath plus a $33 million investment to make his company's T.33 supercar meet all requirements to be street legal in the U.S. Its first car, the 641-hp T.50 that revs to a stratospheric 12,100 rpm, isn't, and it will instead be brought in under the show-or-display provision, just like Murray's landmark first supercar, the McLaren F1.
The sizable extra investment means Gordon Murray Automotive's second car, the marginally less extreme 592-hp T.33, meets all of the lengthy Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), including all crash requirements. Creativity and novel solutions are not rewarded, and the T.50's center driving position is a no-go, which is why the T.33 has a standard two-seat arrangement. Both versions of the 4.0-liter Cosworth V-12 that power the two cars meet U.S. emissions standards, but drive-by noise and crash requirements are two key areas where the cars differ from a certification perspective, according to CEO Phillip Lee.
We talked to Murray and Lee at The Quail, an event during Monterey Car Week where many a supercar purveyor was in attendance to capture the attention of the notoriously wealthy attendees, who might just decide to buy one on a whim. This was the first time the T.50 and T.33 were shown in the U.S., and GMA also announced it is opening a U.S. headquarters in an unspecified location in eastern Florida that will be up and running in 2024.
That coincides with T.33 deliveries, which will also start in 2024, following a switch to a new production facility that will take place in 2023 after T.50 production has ended. Yes, the company is literally picking up and moving all its equipment from its Dunsfold, U.K., plant just down the road to a new facility in Windlesham, which will be roughly a three-month process.
Murray says that the company will limit production on each of its cars to no more than 100, and both the $2.5 million T.50 and $1.9 million T.33 sold out almost immediately. But there will be more opportunity to buy one of Gordon Murray’s wonderfully obsessive supercar creations, as he says they have another two cars in the pipeline, and a product cadence mapped out well into the next decade. How obsessive? In addition to the incredibly light weight, mega revs, and supreme focus on the driving experience, they didn't stop there. Murray says "every single thing on the motor car of the car is a piece of engineering art, even stuff owners will never see" and then citing an example of spending more than 12 months and £1.3 million ($1.5 million) optimizing the feel of the analog knobs and eradicating slop.
Even supercars need to spread out the cost burden, with Murray suggesting that if they had done only the 100 T.50s that the price would need to be £10 million apiece, or nearly five times more expensive.