What’s on Gordon Murray’s Mind.
If you don't know who he is, please read wikipedia . This page seeks to capture (as of Jan 2017) as many point on his thought processes when designing cars, and his thoughts on cars in general. His direct quotes are in green, and the sources are listed below.
His obsession with weight:
“The big frontier is weight. I have always been into light weight, it’s just that now I have changed from racing and high performance to cars that everyone can enjoy.” - Goodwood Q&A
“I’ve always liked small cars, and I’ve always been an advocate of light weight. Personally I have always driven small, light cars. My everyday car has been a Smart ever since they came out. I started with a 4-2, and for the past eight years I’ve had a Roadster. That’s what I like, and that’s all I need really.” - Vehicle Dynamics International Interview
"As a designer, i've fought weight all my life. The only thing that counts against you every second the car is moving is weight. Doesn't matter whether you're cornering, accelerating, braking, steering, whatever you're doing that counts against you... the one thing you can't change is the laws of physics no matter how clever you are. You can disguise weight but you cannot change the laws of physics. You'll never get transient handling with a heavy car that feels like a light car." - Podcast with Chris Harris
How he defines types of cars:
1. Road Cars - designed to be used and enjoyed on normal roads
2. Track Cars - designed for reliability maximising lap times on track
3. Collector Cars - engineering technical exercises
Note: It is plausible that he considers the 2015 McLaren P1 a technical exercise which puts it in the collector car category.
“McLaren P1 is 180 degrees away from what the McLaren F1 set out to do. The F1 was a pure driver’s car, a piece of engineering art and also a car you could use every day." - G.Murray , Goodwood Q&A
His checklist when designing road-cars:
1. Size or perceived size, check if car is intimidating to drive.
2. Ergonomics; primary and secondary controls, pedals.
3. Luggage capacity, cabin storage.
4. Driveability, slow traffic engine characteristics, overtaking.
5. Ride and handling.
6. Ease of parking.
Cars he owns or has owned:
"Ten cars, all of them under 900kg.”- G.Murray , Goodwood Q&A
???? Lotus Eleven
1964 Hillman Minx
???? Fiat 500 (classic)
???? Frogeye Sprite
???? Renault 4
1970 Lotus Elan
???? Ford Cortina MkI
1991 Honda NSX
1992 McLaren F1
???? Porsche 550 Spyder Replica
2003 Smart roadster
2018 Suzuki Jimny
2017 Renault Alpine A110
"The Elan styling is perfectly balanced and works from every angle. The packaging is sublime and it is still unreservedly the best sports car I have driven." - G.Murray's favourite car, Credit Suisse Interview
Among old cars, the (original) Lotus Elan is the ultimate, better than the F1. We tried to get its delicious steering feel in the F1 but we just missed it.
- G.Murray , Goodwood Q&A
Modern cars he admires:
"The purest new sports car for me is the Ferrari 458. And the best is the Porsche Cayman S." - Goodwood Q&A
“If you look at the [Mazda] MX-5, it’s great fun and a nice roadster, but it’s not an out-and-out sports car. The Toyota GT86 is great but relatively heavy." - Autocar Interview
"The (Renault) Alpine (A110) came along and i thought right that's the first car i've seen that's relatively light. If that car was 150 mil narrower (from 1798mm to 1648mm) and had a manual box it would be the perfect little sports car" - Podcast Interview with Chris Harris
On doing one more supercar:
"I have a hankering to do one more supercar, and I wouldn’t have unless these one-and-a-half-tonne hybrid monsters hadn’t come out. I would have left it with the F1. But now there’s a point to be proven: that you can still do a great driver’s car with an internal combustion engine and pure engineering."- G.Murray , Goodwood Q&A
“I definitely have one supercar left in me, and the team wants to do it too,” he says. “It won’t be anything like the cars you see at the moment – the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, Porsches, Bugattis or the McLaren MP4-12C – it will hold all the values the F1 had, but it will be in a completely different direction which ignores horsepower and top speed. As the F1 was a swansong for the 20th century, I’d like to do something for the 21st century." - G.Murray , Vehicle Dynamics International Interview
“Some buyers convince themselves they need the big numbers, and they won’t choose our supercar, but more people see beyond that, as they did with the F1. We didn’t sell the F1 on top speed. We didn’t even do a top speed run until we stopped selling the cars because I didn’t want to – it was never part of the agenda. I like to think most people bought the F1 because it was the pinnacle of engineering at the time, using modern materials, and was also a pure, pure drivers car and didn’t pretend to be anything else." - G.Murray , Vehicle Dynamics International Interview
“A lot of supercars now try to be all sorts of things. They try to be well-engineered, with all the latest trick suspension and electronics. They try to be track day cars, and they try to be status symbols and that goes with a lot of baggage – size, complexity and weight. I don’t want to do any of that rubbish, I really don’t. I just want to do a pure, pure supercar again, like the F1 was. And I think there are enough people out there to move in a different direction again. I’d like the next supercar to point the same direction change the F1 did in 1992.” - G.Murray , Vehicle Dynamics International Interview
Here is a seminal article on his philosophy:
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