How to build a GMA T.50: Gordon Murray’s nerd’s guide to his £2.5m, 650bhp hypercar

How to build a GMA T.50: Gordon Murray’s nerd’s guide to his £2.5m, 650bhp hypercar


If you’re spending £2.36million (plus taxes) on Gordon Murray’s new T.50 V12 hypercar, you get more special treatment than your usual car dealership. So, join us in the first of a two-part series as we spend a day in the life of a T.50 customer, getting the guided tour of Professor Murray’s brand-new production line from the ex-F1 supremo himself – and get hands on with some of the T50’s beautiful lightweight components. Keep your eye out for Part 2, coming soon! Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here.Want to share your views with the team?

over the next two films i’m getting the ultimate murray customer treatment a guided factory tour from the professor himself and then the chance to spec my very own fantasy t-50 so follow me gordon thank you very much for having us back down to your headquarters welcome to god murray automotive we’ve seen this room before but i think it’s worth just talking about what’s so special about the kind of space you’ve created here and what customer who’s coming down here to spec a t-50 is actually going to get to see well this room’s all about a little bit of our history and heritage so it’s set in the sort of mid-60s where i started designing my first car and we’ve we’ve recreated this actually but a lot of the stuff in here is original so i come from a racing family my dad used to race motorbikes before the war he was a motor mechanic so i i grew up watching him uh working on racing cars this was all in durban south africa and then i i got the from about five or six years old i never wanted to be anything but a racing driver so eventually had to uh build my own motor car and uh this is it this is the gordon murray this is this is t1 this is where it all started i built this in 65 and and then went racing in 67 and 68 and then i did with some success and then i decided that um the center of the universal my two loves music and racing was the uk so i jumped on a cargo boat and went over i came over here already to the uk i remember you telling a story that with this car you had to borrow money off your mum and your brother my brother and my aunt for your aunts pay for components to pay for the webers because they were they were 60 quid the whole car cost 200 quid and the weber’s was 60 quid so so we can say that you absolutely started from the bottom from the ground up of the car industry to then arrive where you now have possibly the greatest collection of lightweight cars in the entire world which we’ve got the highlights of just in here yep let’s go and have a look hopefully you’ve already seen our hour-long guided tour of gordon’s gorgeous lightweight car collection elsewhere on the top gear youtube channel as well as jack’s super detailed walk around off the t50 but when gordon’s team pulls the covers off as they will for every customer who can make it over for a factory visit it’s a breathtaking moment so for a customer who’s come down they’ve seen the whole collection this is the first time they’re ever then seeing their future indeed their future purchase in the yup in the metal in the carbon and what are their first impressions what are they what are the gasps what are the things they say as soon as the coffee we’ve had universally everybody has said wow it’s just so much better in reality than it is in videos and pictures okay a hundred percent of the people have said that so far and it’s true actually so they comment on the size because the thing for me is seeing it now and that’s the second comment the second comment is it’s so tiny yeah it is well it’s porsche boxster what what are the details that they’re they’re looking at is it the cameras well after they got over the the shape you know because you it’s true actually you don’t get in the photographs and even the videos you don’t get this this shape here you really don’t you know um and then it’s the size and then typically we open the door for them and we show them the interior and we get a similar reaction i mean it’s just been it’s it’s it’s been fascinating actually how sort of shocked people are when they see it in 3d for the first time but we should explain what we’re looking at here this is a this is a styling model this is absolutely right this is this is a show car yeah this actually weighs i think two and a half times as much as the real car that’s the heaviest car in the room so yeah but if we wanted to look at uh well where t-50s for real are going to come to life then that is just next door just next door we’ve got the pre-production line next door and we we’re building all the prototypes here so we the lovely thing is after seeing the car for the first time we can actually take people and show them the real car off to you please so this is pre-production oh wow this is something i mean immediately this orange screams mclaren f1 lm to me the limited edition well that’s actually our heritage orange orange it’s a flat color there’s no mica or metal in it it’s one of our color schemes so this space we’re in now this will eventually be effectively the production line yes we’ve got a short a short production line next door where the guys are building the um the xp cars validation prototypes and the pre-production car so xp is experimental experimental those are the ones that do all the hard work you know like all the durability and corrosion crash and heat management cold hot all that stuff i mean the f1 the famous one was xp5 which that was the one that you took to wear a lesson and did that’s right 241 miles an hour how many xp cars does 250 have uh we we’re building 12. wow three of them get crashed and naval sacrifice yep and then we do um a small amount of validation prototypes which are the homologation cars and then we do a couple of pre-production cars to do the absolutely final quality orders so the reason why we moved xp production to this building from shelford where our prototype shop is is because these guys have now been learning from xb9 onwards they’re learning the process of putting the car together so they’re getting really good early learning on how the car goes together so you can guarantee the quality controls exactly you can have the finest materials and the finest brands you need and already i have to say the um the build quality is very very good even on the xb cars can we take a closer look at sure this one here so is this this is xb10 xp 10 and this is this is going off to nardo i think next week this will be doing high speed testing though it’ll be doing all sorts yeah yeah all right this is the first time i’ve been up close to a car that’s not the the styling model so immediately i’m thinking there’s a lot of luggage space in here i mean it’s it’s a famous luggage it’s an amazing amount of luggage space actually included in the price of the car there’s uh four suitcases two each side and they come you know once again uh with the color matching the interior if that’s what the customer likes uh they have the chassis number on them which is what i did on the f1 and uh that’s all included in the price and just glinting over here is this is this actual gold that isn’t gold at the moment we’re trying three different uh materials because now in 30 years the the radiation protection materials have got much much better gold is still the best we’re using that one on xp 10 we’ve tried another two as i say if we get a particular hotspot that that console will go to the 18 karat gold again i have read once it was six thousand pounds worth of gold oh it was nine thousand nine thousand sorry in each mclaren f1 yeah so would this need less in 92 wow so 92 prices yes let’s carry on having a walk around so this on the show car cost this was just painted black now we can see this is actually that’s a really important thing so ev everything you can see on the show car that’s black is actually carbon everything at all this car and usually we’re trying different uh levels of gloss and satin on all the prototypes this can’t usually has gloss over the spine normally you only get gloss where it touches the touches the glass so it matches the glass everything everything mechanical is usually the satin but we offer the cars are so bespoke we offer anything you like so you can have anything satin anything gloss we also offer 10 different levels of tin tint included in the price so someone wants a really glossy cardboard match there yeah by design this is tint level three by design we’ve knocked this right back if one is black basically yeah this because there’s so much carbon out there now when i did the f1 it was the world’s first carbon car so that’s nice mobile phone case and you can get carbon fablon to stick on things you know so what we’ve done is um by design we’ve knocked this back however the customer can order any level of tint right now since this is the first time i’ve been up close to one that’s in build can we just kind of look down the front yeah sure but one really interesting point if you remember at the launch i was trying to explain to people how the fan worked and what the fan did and for a bit of fun we’ve got this is actually a pitot tube in the side of the mirror so this measures the static pressure the air going past is a little electronic transducer in there and then on the diffuser on the kick point we’ve got one measuring the dynamic pressure or the low pressure if you like so when the driver selects an aero mode on the aero switch the left hand screen pops into arrow and you can get a live readout of the of the downforce you’ve dialed up or not depending on what you selected this is true aerospace stuff isn’t it and you’ve actually got a piece of the diffuser over here that you can take a look at in a minute and yeah sure see if this is where the car’s reading air on the outside of the car what’s actually going on underneath it yep so hopefully this is an angle that an owner will never see if they’re too fast yes upside down we’re looking at so there’s underside of the diffuser here aren’t we that’s right so this is the whole rear floor and it’s all one molding it weighs 12.4 kilos and it has to take up to 800 kilos of downforce and normally the diffuser is very very gentle because the air won’t follow it but these slots here are where we pull the air out um the boundary layer and the dirty air if you like the fan pulls those and gets rid of it which forces the air to follow this very steep curve and this little kicker here helps as well that right there is the other side of the pitot tube so that’s giving you the low pressure readout against the static pressure pressure and now and our computer turns that into a downforce figure and that’s being beamed to the driver yep on the dashboard they always know how much restriction they’ve got and how much they’ve called for because they can select different modes yeah of course i mean it’s just a fantastic component in itself yes it’s a lovely piece of carbon fiber um we’ve got a duct here yeah that’s for engine bay cooling and cooling the isg on the front of the crankcase oh really yeah let’s do with the hybrid system yeah okay yeah it’s a gorgeous component but one that just criminally people never really see it so interesting to see it in the production facility and actually let’s have a look around it yep most car makers don’t want you to see inside their factories but things are very different if you’re paying 2.36 million pounds plus tax for one of gordon’s cars okay so we’ve emerged into what looks like a kind of state-of-the-art race car production facility what are we what are we now looking at so this is what we call our pre-production line but this is not the final production line but this is where the final production line will start and then it will run right through the building the the team here is building the last three prototype cars validation prototypes and pre-production prototypes so every car they put together is a learning process about the way the car goes together what happens at each station mostly to quality control okay but but it does give the customers we bring them in here and it gives them an opportunity just to see the the beauty and the parts if you like in the engineering i mean there’s not a gram left anywhere on any of this stuff you know the suspension’s all forged aluminium even though normally you wouldn’t forge something unless you’re making 5000 cars a year just for 100 cars we forged it because it is lighter and better quality at the other detail too i mean normally for 100 cars you’d have a header tank and you just weld the tube onto it you know you wouldn’t go to the pressing bits that have flared like this just for 100 cars but that’s the attention to detail it looks like a really expensive downhill mountain bike frame you’ve got that kind of looking exactly mentally strong but also as little material and the analysis tells us all the material we don’t need and we get rid of it i mean a good example is this bracket we obviously didn’t need that bit in the middle so we’ve got a hole yeah even though it’s only it’s only that thin we machine a hole in it and that’s your eye spot things yeah we could lose that certainly in the early days we’ve probably caught all that now but yeah you talked a lot when we spoke about t54 about mass track and this is where you literally track the mass of the car and the target was to get 980 kilos eight eight nine eight six is a target all right six do you know where you are on that we’re still we’re we’re definitely still under the thousand where we are exactly this week i i don’t know though it changes week by week yeah wow buy a buy 100 grams there 100 yeah and we go customers are invited to nose around the production line to pick up components and to pour over the lovely details that might be forever hidden out of sight once each car is completed this is a fully trimmed passenger seat okay our car seats are always really heavy this is absurd i mean it honestly feels like a sort of like holding a bare carbon shell that lays out yeah i mean comfortable honestly the attention to detail is uh pretty good sometimes even carbon fiber ducting is too heavy so that’s an hvac duct now i don’t mean to be in any way rude but this does look like a big piece of polystyrene it’s it’s foam it is literally foam that’s what because it doesn’t need to be carbon fiber for hvac and carbon fiber is too heavy and this does the job asked of it absolutely so the lightest material used it just weighs nothing literally i’ve never this is the only part of the car which i could probably afford but it does feel like something you might have got your chips in i’m sure it’s incredibly uh motorsport approved indeed and then we’ll just look at this um a good example of us developing our own technology for this car normally a 12-volt battery for a supercar this size would be about 18 kilos something like that this is developed from scratch and this is a 12-volt battery the 48-volt battery a cooling system a control system uh an inverter and a charging system in this box and that’s 13 kilos and it’s the entire electrical part all in one and we’ve done that like that because if anything ever goes wrong this is an easy part to swap out on exchange really so it’s not purely that it’s a lightweight thing it’s also about services it’s all it’s about servicing yes um there’s so this car is such a low-cost car to service i mean the the first major service is is actually cheaper than a bmw or a mercedes-benz is it really yep there are bmw mercedes and sort of servicing prices but it’s one of the things with the f1 wasn’t it it had a motorsport style bag tank in it yeah and that was infamous that whether you drove the car or not yeah that perished it had to be replaced we’ve got an expensive life aluminium tank on this one for example and if something does go wrong you don’t have to take the engine out which you did on an f1 so we’ve really thought about servicing we’ve done our own fly-off handbrake mechanism which is again even that it’s beautiful you can see where weight’s been taking out a work of arch the red button the ejector seat on the end criminal that it should be that’s why it’s lovely bringing people in here right let’s go look at a few bits so um we’ve had to go to brand new technology and materials in some cases to uh to save weight but we’ve got a few bits here they just give you and we show customers this um a little bit of an insight into how the lengths we go to so for example the door handle would normally be an aluminium casting which is which is what this is a casting is quite difficult to control the edge the edge here for getting the leather in the right place but it’s also relatively heavy yeah so we’ve gone to a structural 3d printing process where we’ve got a very thin skin on the outside with a honeycomb aluminium on the inside to support the skins which is that and and we get that and this is the result i mean that’s ridiculous it feels like if i let go of it it would just hover in mid-air when you handed me that i thought oh this doesn’t feel that heavy but this is yeah this doesn’t feel like it’s made of metal anymore no it feels like it it’s about the same way as a pair of sunglasses yeah that’s absolutely spot on and then this multiplied across an entire supercar well it gives you you’ll only get exactly you’ll only get a thousand kilo car if you do this everywhere and you can’t think about expense because a couple of these are 800 quid but they s but they save 200 grams but isn’t it interesting that like with all great engineering it often ends up looking beautiful as well as being functionally spotted absolutely and all of this looks i mean yeah i’d quite happily mount that at home on the wall yeah this is the the top of the gear linkage channel that’s right that’s a carbon molding yeah so it’s absolutely right weighs nothing that’s the door closing handle this is gonna be quite strong then because the door is on a gas strap obviously that’s made the same way yeah i mean it feels like it’s sort of a biscuit doesn’t have any weight to it at all i mean like what else do i recognize here now that’s the heaviest bit on the car i was just going to say as i picked that that is heavy on purpose we tested three different weights and it’s because on a really fast manual change a really rip through manual change you’ve got to overcome the synchro cones and we’ve got as high as four cones on first to second gear and that feels quite notchy and that is heavy on purpose we tested three weights that’s the heaviest one which is one we’re going to use only heavy part on the car and that overcomes that synchro feel yeah on a fast change because you really don’t want to be shifting when you’ve got a classes if you want attention to detail again you’d look at that and you’d go well the mermaid there is a is a nice little graphic sticker and it’s lacquered over that’s machined aluminium and it’s that deep and it’s in inlaid into the gear knob and then hand polished yeah that’s great i didn’t want a sticker i wanted a solid aluminium mermaid now only we know that um but that’s the level of attention now you are just showing off but that is a beautiful thing i love the idea that there is somewhere in the t50 component that is heavier than it could have been yes but it’s heavier for a very specific purpose to give you a more pleasurable gear shift that’s right which is kind of what half the car is all about it’s about analog sensations that’s absolutely right and we’ve got switch gear here and i know you’re very particular about switch gear not having play in it and not feeling like it could rattle these we just developed and developed everything here is aluminium there’s no plastic at all but because it’s it’s not plastic we can’t we can’t shine the light through to light it up so it’s got a little back light a flood light here that lights this and it looks beautiful at nighttime because all these are floodly but that’s we went for expensive camera that was the inspiration yeah a really high end to develop and tool these and the central switchback 1.3 million pounds later we’ve got the feel we want 1.3 million for some switches i mean yeah it does have that lovely the tactility the hard stop even turning the lights on feels like you’re in something quite modest sporty but again doesn’t it doesn’t weigh anything no that’s and that’s all aluminium it’s quite beautiful it feels like a really sort of a military-grade pair of binoculars i mean this is really aerospace it’s not automotive really you know so when you go to these companies and say hello i’m professor gordon murray i’d like you to develop some switches for a supercar so what do they say is that a fundamental company most people rise to the occasion that company’s been fantastic you know we’ve got exactly the haptic feel we we want another example this is the central switch pack now this would normally on any other car this would be a plastic injection molding and painted painted black or painted with aluminium paint this starts life as a billet of aluminium that thick because i didn’t want any joints so this and this is machined down to a millimeter thick and these are all machined details stiffening ribs which again is aerospace really again it plays an odd trick on your brain when you reach out to grab something your brain’s already registered oh that’s going to be that weight then it almost floats up but it’s the quality too you know the signature as well that’s a lovely little detail engine start button will live just there and that will live just on top of this and then the chassis plate bolts on these four little two millimeter two millimeter titanium with each car be individually numbered yep there we go one of one for each person that’s lovely that’s a gorgeous piece as well and then things like the um the gear change components this is the cross gate before the so when you go across the gate this is the rocker that operates the cable and the gear lever and this are machined from solid titanium so they start off as a titanium billet you can see the machining lines yeah just in it but yeah it looks like a kind of high-end piece of climbing equipment i suppose just another gorgeous piece i see we’ve got these gears down here yeah so i asked extract for i asked extract for some bits out of the gearbox because the a high-speed bevel this is a transverse gearbox so you’ve got to have a bevel set which runs at engine speed have they dressed these up for you to customize they polished them i was going to say because that is they polished them very shiny but this is this is the finish you have to have on the gears because these these will be ground and hand lapped because these run at 12 000 reds have run at engine speed to change direction for the um for the transverse gearbox but even those are beautiful components yeah everything about it is gorgeously detailed and uh rod at the end there yeah this this here is a on the car the chassis stops about where the springs are um because we bolt this as you can see we’ve got the suspension directly to the transmission casing so we don’t need chassis back there and um i had to get and the diffuser hangs out the back so i had to get 400 kilos a side of load from the diffuser back to the chassis so this rod bolts on a clevis with a six mil titanium bolt at the top and a six mil titanium bolt at the bottom and this takes 400 kilos unless it couldn’t be any light if it was made now tissue and this is again it’s just worth stressing this is a totally bespoke piece this exact component i’m holding here would never turn up in another car or whatever there’s nothing on the f1 i didn’t have the budget i had on this obviously on the f1 we use carryover light switchgear and stuff this car doesn’t have one carryover component not one riff counter again no plastic so this is an aluminium dial all the little markers are machined aluminium the needle’s machined aluminium and the hubs aluminium and because again you can’t every car on the planet’s plastic so you back light it this is monochromatic and it’s flood lit from the top and it looks fantastic at night so once again you know it’s it’s all aluminium no plastic no metal costs a fortune to develop but only the best and the rev counter itself has that had to be somehow specially developed that they can keep up with this incredibly different actually i was worried we’re going to wind the spindle off with the aluminium needle trying to kind of do the revs but in fact it does okay fantastic that’s what you have to do to get a piston to do 12 000 revs it’s not much of it yeah again it just weighs nothing it’s a really organic kind of form for this and it’s like it’s sort of a fossil almost yeah yeah again weighs nothing a gorgeous piece about the world’s sexiest paperweight really and the the valves to get to get the revs again the valves are titanium but they’re also hollow to take weight out this looks more like some sort of very high-end kitchen utensil yeah they are and the ultimate i mean to show you the detail we go to so there’s 900 fasteners on the car uh studs and bolts basically and they’re all titanium there’s no steel they’re all titanium and we do the usual trick that everybody does we reduce the head down one size but on top of that we machine a bucket out of the top of every bolt every single one which is an extra machining operation but just saves another 100th of a gram on each bolt and if you’ve got 900 that makes a difference that’s how you get down to below yep thousand kilos the story on the f1 was always that an engineer had to come to you and justify using a washer justify using the stronger bolt is that the same here well the team that’s i don’t need to do that anymore it’s instilled in the team got them well trained yeah and nick hoyle who was the chief chief engineer on this chief designer his he you know that’s instilled in nick so he was running around chasing hundreds of grams here and there and everywhere i’ll give you that back before i put it in my pocket now a recognizable component to a layman yeah but what’s what’s special what makes sense okay so we had a target of around two kilos for the steering wheel complete with the electrics fitted and the magnesium rim that everybody else uses it just wasn’t getting that getting the job done basically so we bit the bullet and we tooled our own uh carbon wheel and this is uh 800 grams the whole the whole wheel complete with all the switch gear on it wow i know that you’re fastidious about the steering wheel should be slender yep shouldn’t have a big overstuffed rim weird lumps and then you’ve got a slight flat bottom on it but that’s the only concession to it and then here we have the paddles main beam on the left and beat the horn on the right yep indicators here and then that’s the left-hand screen control and that’s the volume control that i i don’t like wheels with lots of stuff all over them so i’ll try to keep it to an absolute minimum yeah that feels spot on it just feels really refreshing not only that it’s light but it is slim and usable thank you very much there’s a rear end here it’s just a beautiful thing i mean it’s just you know it’s got to go down as the greatest v12 i think is the orange i know orange is your heritage color oh yeah so t-50 um are they all gonna have that t-50 all have orange cam covers 50s is um red okay tesla of course and uh and then each time we do a different version of the engine project two has got a different color again project is yellow oh right yeah so every time we do a different version of the engine um because 50s engine is very different from this and project two is quite different as well um see that’s the spotters guide they’ll be able to tell which engine they’re looking at just from the color of the heads yep here we can see the mounting points to the back of the gearbox again these components enormous but really beautiful yeah so these are all forged aluminium again hollow driveshaft which is why they’re that diameter they’re a thin wall tube which is the lightest way to go this engine this whole unit comes out for major service as you see it here comes out really quickly as well we try to think about servicing all the way through this is this is used as a system to mount the engine into the the chassis that i had on the f1 so you’ve got two bolts here that bolt into the monocoque and then you’ve got two 10 mil titanium bolts here and that’s the whole back end of the car held in by those and on top of the weight of the engine and the g-force over bumps this diagonal tube here takes all the cornering forces wow so that’s just in here of the whole car so this this little tube mounts the whole this whole everything you can see here and manages that weight but it also takes all the cornering forces and that little 10 mil titanium bolt takes every single gram of cornering force yeah so when you talk about making the car easy to service the one of the innovations on the f1 was to have this modem into it yeah you could anyone could fly in the world and download the diagnostics what’s what’s the deal with the tv well that’s moved on now so with each car comes a diagnostic tablet you can see an ipad with the car yeah and then any problems you can just do it straight off there and we can just pick up the phone and we can sort it so they won’t be having to fly cars back here we’ve got service centers in several spots around the world and we’ve got a lot of approved workshops all around the world yeah as well and what about the brakes we’re just well we’ve got an exposed break yeah so the caliper looks again like it’s had loads of materials we took the lightest caliper we could from ap and then we did another stress loop on it and we post machine it as well so if you look here that’s like swiss cheese now so these holes everywhere are drilled out and machined out afterwards and that that saves another 800 grams on the car so you took the supplier’s lightest caliper and i made it made it lighter yeah yeah and then is the disc is this a standard disc no this is the new brembo cmm r i think it’s called and so it’s the latest performance material we went for a mechanical handbrake because it’s 2.8 kilos lighter than an electric one and i don’t like electric handbrakes anyway it’s a beautiful bit of kit right i’m now really ready to go and make one more very own i think let’s go inspect one okay join us for part two when we get into the dizzying array of paint and trim and attempts to spec our very own t50 in front of its actual creator no pressure then you

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