With a naturally aspirated Cosworth V12 that revs faster than the speed of light and a literal fan affixed to the back, Gordon Murray Automotive’s T.50 is a special hypercar. And while it was built to be somewhat civilized on the road, it’s really tuned to be a joy on the track. The McLaren F1 designer recognized the need for a truly daily supercar, so he made this: the T.33.
At first blush, the T.33 seems like a T.50 lite” While the T.50 costs $3 million, the T.33 is priced at an affordable $1.85 million. And where the T.50 tips the scales at a featherweight 2,173 pounds, the T.33's creature comforts land it at 2,403 pounds. Not that that’s anything anyone should complain about, considering that’s pretty much dead even with a new Miata.
But elsewhere, the T.33 makes fewer compromises than you’d think. Of course, there’s no fan. But there is still that gem of a V12, with all its 3.9 liters. It’s been “retuned rather than detuned,” Murray slickly told Top Gear, now hitting a 11,000 RPM redline and developing 607 horsepower in the T.33, unlike the 653 HP of the T.50. Also, unlike the six-speed manual-only T.50, the T.33 can be ordered with paddle shifters. Not that anyone is doing that at the moment — the designer told Car & Driver he’s pre-sold half the run of 100, and so far only two customers have opted against the H-pattern.
Here’s what else he had to say about the powertrain, again courtesy of Top Gear:
Murray says carefully, the changes encompassing modified cylinder heads, completely new camshafts, variable valve timing, and reworked engine mapping. There’s also a new ram induction intake, a new exhaust system, and the engine mountings and cooling are all specific to the T.33. “I’ve always wanted to do a motor car where the airbox is fitted to the engine like a Seventies Formula One car,” Murray says. “On the T.33 it moves independently of the car even though it overshoots the roof.”
Speaking of, that airbox is a nice addition to one of Murray’s classically unfussy designs. The guy’s been outspoken about the aesthetic garishness and showmanship of modern hypercars, and every time he says as much I raise my arms in emphatic endorsement. The T.33 draws lots of inspiration from classics like the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale — a car that Murray lists among his all-time favorites. You can see it in the unbroken, wraparound canopy of the cockpit and engine cover, and the soft haunches with barely any defined edge to them. There doesn’t appear to be a flat or mostly-flat surface on the entire car.
I’d contend the front is a little featureless and generic — the headlights remind me of the Ferrari California, Jaguar CX-75 or even the Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta. It’s a little dated, a little early 2010s, but at least it isn’t plotting ways to eat you with its five jaws.
We know Murray can make an excellent driver’s car, so personally I’m more interested in why the T.33 is so good at the everyday routine compared to, say, an Audi R8. Another excerpt sheds a little light on that, though not enough:
We weren’t able to sit in the T.33 but Murray is zealous about analogue and expensively engineered switchgear and even more fastidious about delivering the perfect driving position. What he doesn’t like, though, are touchscreens, although there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. A flood-lit, 120mm diameter rev counter takes centre-stage, and the aero, lights and air con controls are arranged round the driver. There’s 280 litres of luggage space, room for six decently sized cases.
280 liters translates to 9.8 cubic feet of cargo room, and in the T.33, it’s split between three compartments: a frunk and two side areas, just ahead of the rear wheels. The C8 Corvette has 12.6 cubic feet of combined space, for comparison.
I know it’s of absolutely zero consequence to anyone who can afford one of these things, but I’ll give $100 to the first T.33 owner that publishes a year-long review. However, my condition is they better use the damn thing. Pick the kids up from school in it; take it on every agonizing trip to and from the yacht. Somebody needs to evaluate these claims. It’ll be a minute until that’s possible though, as deliveries won’t begin until 2024.