Legendary car engineer Gordon Murray has revealed exclusively to CAR Magazine that he is working on eight new cars. Seven are lightweight, low-emissions cars based on his radical new iStream manufacturing technique, and the last is a new supercar that he says will have ‘an enormous amount in common’ with his iconic McLaren F1.
You read CAR’s first full appraisal of the T25 in the new September 2010 issue of CAR Magzine, out on 18 August. We’ve a full six-page feature on the T25 and you can see the full photoshoot by John Wycherley (tasters above).
Murray unveiled the first of his eight planned products, the T25, at the Ashmolean Musuem in Oxford at the end of June. The three-seat city car is so light – around 600kg – that it gets 100mph from its 51bhp 660cc Mitsubishi engine, and emits just 88g/km of CO2. It’s so small – around 30cm shorter and 20cm narrower than a two-seat Smart – that two can fit in a lane and three nose-out in a parking space, and Murray claims running costs are so low by comparison with a conventional hatch that the purchase price of around £6000 will be recouped in four years.
Gordon Murray Design and iStream
The T25 and six other cars under development use iStream technology, Murray’s entirely new way of constructing cars that sidesteps the need for the biggest, heaviest, costliest and most polluting parts of a car factory. Simple steel tubes form a frame to which the engine and suspension are mounted, with the stiffness coming from the plastic composite panels bonded to it.
Murray says car factories will be radically smaller, cheaper and less polluting as a result. He doesn’t plan to build the cars himself, but will license iStream to existing car makers or non-automotive brands such as Sony or Virgin. He admits that the recession has delayed the project by around a year, but that the first licensing deal should be signed in six to nine months.
So what’s next after T25?
All of Murray’s original designs have been given a ‘T’ number; the SLR was T24. The T25 may not be the first iStream car to make production, as five of the other six are all being developed for clients actively examining using iStream. They are:
• T26 A version of the T25 city car concept for a potential Japanese customer
• T27 The electric car being developed in conjunction with British electric-drive specialists Zytec, with half of the £9m funding coming from the UK Government. Based around the T25 but with extensive modification to make this a bespoke, no-compromise EV. 700kg and price around £12,000
• T28 A bigger iStream car; a full four-seat design study being conducted for a major car maker
• T29 A version of the T25 with petrol power but with the design ‘stamp’ of another major car maker
• T30 A iStream city car that will meet US Federal crash regulations, and thus have a larger footprint than the T25. Commissioned by a US client
• T31 Another electric-powered iStream car
• The Gordon Murray supercar ‘I’ve got one left in me and it’s formulating quite nicely. We’re all still racers here. We’d love to do it and we’ve talked about it internally quite a lot and our investors are keen, but first we’ve got to get ourselves established and get one or two major iStream licences under way.
‘It will be quite a shock to people. It won’t be another 1200 kilo, 1600 kilo or two-tonne supercar trying to go 260mph. It will be the total antithesis of that, very limited in volume and it won’t be a million pounds. I’ve already got someone lined up to look after the customers and the aftersales.
‘It will have an enormous amount in common with the F1; not in cost but in the driving experience and as a piece of art. That can only come from a tiny team, and I have the F1 team here.’
>> See the full six-page feature on Gordon Murray Design in the new September issue of CAR Magazine out on 18 August