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Professor Gordon Murray is not your average petrol-head

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Every petrol-head dreams of starting his own car company, building the cars he wants, the way he wants them. Now Gordon Murray has done just that.

But then, Durban-born Professor Gordon Murray is not your average petrol-head. Best known as a designer of championship-winning Formula One cars for first Brabham and then McLaren, in 1991 he moved sideways to create the iconic McLaren F1 road car, and in 2007 formed Gordon Murray Design, where he developed an innovative modular car-building process called iStream.

This was to have been the basis of a city car code-named T.25, and later an electric version, the T.27, in partnership with component manufacturer Zytec, but neither got beyond the prototype stage. Nor did the OX, a unique low cost mini-truck design for the Global Vehicle Trust, which was to have been delivered to developing countries in flat-pack form for assembly by the user.

So now Murray has announced the formation of Gordon Murray Automotive, a boutique carmaker that will take his designs into limited-run production, based on a new version of the iStream production system, as well as building vehicles on a low-volume basis for external customers.

The company's first car will be a flagship model carrying the new Gordon Murray badge, which will buck the current trend for ever more complicated and heavy cars, going back to the design and engineering principles that made the F1 so special. (A quarter of a century later, it is still the fastest naturally aspirated, street-legal production car in automotive history.)

2017 is a significant year for Murray, who turned 71 in June; it marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Gordon Murray Design, as well as its iStream technology, the 25th anniversary of the McLaren F1 road car and Murray's 50th year in vehicle engineering and design.

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