Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Murray T25

CAR magazine has published more details of Gordon Murray’s radical new project, the T25 city car.

The designer has focused on two main issues, traffic congestion and real environmental impact. His view on congestion is that cars are too large, and often have a single occupant, as a result the T25 is tiny; 30cm smaller than a Smart car.

Murray has also taken a realistic approach to reducing life-time environmental impact. There are no window dressing much fanfared hybrid drives, but a ruthless focus on designed-in lightness, and the simplification of the production process. It appears to have paid off; the basic version will weigh only 550kgs, with a more realistic equipment level (inc music, a/c, ) adding around 50kgs.

The engine will be a small 660cc normally aspirated or turbo 4, mounted in the rear, and with an estimated 75bhp and 600kgs that’s a similar power to weight ratio as something like a MINI Cooper. Crucially, the interior will allow three seats, like the Toyota iQ, making it practical for a typical 1 parent + 2 rugrats using it as the second family car.

The icing on the cake is that Gordon promises to make it fun to drive; “bike-like driver involvement” as well as low priced. That is great to hear; with his track record this could be really special.

He’d have a letter of intent from me tomorrow, if it weren’t for one point; Murray will not build this car. It is intended to be sold as a full design plus production package to a major corporation, who will then make the T25, plus some planned successors, reality.

Murray is on of the most influential designers working today. In some ways he reminds me of Alec Issigonis; he is an iconoclast with a very clear vision, only works with a small team, and has little time for corporations and the marketing reality in which they operate.

I hope there are enough money men who share Murray’s view of the world to make it happen.


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