My Car Quest

June 7, 2023

Design Critique: The Murray T.50

A V-12–powered, $3 million three-seat hypercar that echoes the glories of its predecessor.

by Wallace Wyss –

So here you have Gordon Murray, a successful designer whose McLaren F1, was once the belle of the ball in race inspired street cars, coming back with his own and revealing the supercar from his firm, Gordon Murray Automotive. It’s only been like, what, 30 years?

Murray T.50

That’s like hiring some actor who won the Oscar for his portrayal 30 years ago and asking them to come back and knock another one out of the ballpark.

Murray T.50

Well, I don’t know how it does on the track but visually it appears to be as significant in modern day as its McLaren predecessor was in its day. The engine is a Cosworth-built V-12 rated at 654 horsepower and has a redline of 12,100 rpm. The car is light on it feet—only 2174 pounds, but oddly they don’t claim a top speed. Suffice to say that it has more potential to top 200 mph than anything else on the market.

He has the advantage of his new car being priced about one tenth of what his McLaren F1 value is on the collector market today.

Here’s my take:

FRONT It seems more Lola T70 in inspiration that the McLaren F1. It is surprising the bonnet has no scoop or vent. It is even more surprising not to see a humongous front spoiler.

Murray T.50s

SIDE Like many other current supercar designs, distinguished only by the beveled “running board” being black instead of body color. Very surprising not to see humongous scoop atop the rear fenders like most mid-engine Ferrari.

Murray T.50

REAR Here’s the controversial part for me–there’s a big fan in the back, I would say at least 15 inches in diameter, and it’s not down in the middle but poking up a bit above the rear deck line. I would criticize this since it’s such an industrial looking piece–that they disturb the rear deck with it bulging out of it but then I realize who the designer is. Murray is the same man who uses fans to make his race car designs hug terra firma.

Murray T.50

I hate the blocking out of the fan and the whole rear foot of the car body, all around but I think it’s necessary because all that industrial kit is needed and the only solution to minimize its intrusion into a smooth body is to blacken it out.

Murray T.50

So in a YouTube video Murray explains the car, he explains how it picks up air going underneath the car and propels it out the back, in order to get the car sucked lower to the ground with its huge full width wing. Murray is saying “I don’t need wings–all my aero work is done without wings.”

I like the round Ferrari-like taillamps if only because they look Ferrari-ish. The exhaust pipes are very high up–you think there’d be a law against that–some kid walking by would get a face full of soot if you start it up among pedestrians.

INTERIOR Three seats and central steering is not a new idea – Pininfarina made a one off street Ferrari like that in the Sixties but since this is Murray’s second time round in that, he got it perfected. Wonder what the ladies will say abut the driver’s seat being a different color than the subordinate’s chairs? He owns the idea, so to speak. The flip up-and-forward doors are needed in a car so low but not pretty when open like gullwings. The absence of a big ol’ screen is remarkable for its absence but hey it might never work as well as a Tesla’s, so why bother? This is a car in a whole different league.

Murray T.50

Murray T.50

Car and Driver explains that a more modern mechanical bit made the further development of the fan feasible;

The big difference over the F1 is the arrival of active aerodynamics through a 15.7-inch, 11.4-hp, 48-volt electric fan that can spin at up to 7000 rpm to vary levels of downforce by removing the boundary layer from the car’s underbody diffuser, but also can reduce drag by creating a virtual longtail behind the car. (We’ve already done a technical explainer on the system here; it is much more advanced than the vacuum fan of the infamous Brabham BT46B Formula 1 car designed under Murray’s leadership.) This means that the T.50 doesn’t have to carry any large wing elements. Murray’s claims for the fan’s capabilities are impressive: up to a 50 percent increase in downforce, a 12.5 percent reduction in drag, and cutting 33 feet from the braking distance from 150 mph.

Now, at what point could be the end of the hypercar era? It will be difficult for another auto maker to come up with a model that, technically, can match the T.50. And still sing the sweet song of the V-12.

Murray T.50

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a historian with 18 cars books to his credit. He has been a guest lecturer at the Art Center College of Design.


Murray T.50

Murray T.50

Photos compliments of Gordon Murray Automotive.

Design Critique: The Murray T.50
Article Name
Design Critique: The Murray T.50
It will be difficult for another auto maker to come up with a model that, technically, can match the Murray T.50. And still sing the sweet song of the V-12.


  1. michael roehrs says

    absolutely beautiful clean classic design, no gimmicks, spoilers who spoil..oh so smooth, just brilliant gordon murray. my most fav super car by a mile…..

  2. I love this car and I wonder if it will appreciate like the McLaren F1 has done.

    Apparently they are sold out.

  3. Oh to be able to get your hands on one. Good on the owners who drive them in the manner intended, even if only at 50% of their capability. I suspect though that most will sit in hermetically sealed isolation awaiting a bonanza investment return. Shame on them.

  4. I hope we will see some in person, at least at shows.

    I was wondering how difficult it is for the driver to get in and out? I remember watching my friend who owned the Bizzarrini Manta get in and out and it was a struggle.

  5. SKIP HINOJOS says

    12,000+ RPM. THAT HAS TO BE NOISY??

  6. I’m guessing the fan is to pull heat out of the engine bay , not ground effects

    • Maybe it does some of that but their press release says;

      “The T.50 takes road-car aerodynamics to entirely new levels with Murray’s ground-breaking design significantly enhancing the supercar’s ground-effect capabilities. To achieve unmatched aerodynamic performance, the car’s 400mm fan rapidly accelerates air passing under the car, forcing it through active boundary-layer control ducts that form part of the rear diffuser.”

      • In the past you needed skirts on the sides that touched the ground. The cars were run on racetracks that had very smooth surfaces. I wonder how he achieves that.

  7. Butch Jocson says

    Instant classic! V12 & very light in weight! If I have the money I would have ordered 2. One for myself & one to recoup my investment!

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