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McLaren F1-inspired 'Gordon Murray Automotive T50' revs to 12,100 rpm and has a fan that sucks the road

A screaming V12 engine, clean design and an H-pattern manual transmission -- the T50 is no nonsense in the best ways.

Gordon Murray Automotive T50
Gordon Murray Automotive

This is the Gordon Murray Automotive T50. Few cars deserve such a direct introduction, but this one is special.

This is a middle finger to modern supercars, a cold shoulder to electrification and a bear hug for the naturally aspirated internal combustion engine. It's the second coming of the McLaren F1, a supercar yours truly hung on his wall as a child.

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The T50 came to light years ago after Professor Gordon Murray signaled his intention to bring about a spiritual successor to the F1 -- the crown jewel of his career until now, perhaps. On paper, the professor delivered in every way. Powering the T50 is a 3.9-liter Cosworth V12 engine that's totally bespoke and shares no part with anything else.

With the big V12 onboard as the sole unit powering the supercar, there's 654 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque available. Those aren't modern-day supercar numbers, but GMA digresses. The T50 isn't about chasing top speed records, it's about feeling the power in the best ways. The engine revs to a stratospheric 12,100 rpm and while drivers shift power via a six-speed manual transmission (outfitted in an H-pattern at that), there's only 2,174 pounds of mass to move, thanks to carbon-fiber construction and the lightest road-going V12 ever made. It's a ridiculously low vehicle weight that will make 654 hp feel like a whole lot more.

As we learned in the past, this is also Murray's latest dabble with a fan car. The rear touts a nearly 16-inch fan that helps move air depending on the drive mode selected. If the driver wants more downforce, the fan will jump into action. Less drag for greater speed? No problem, thanks to the fan. And more power? Sure, a V-Max Boost driving mode pushes total output to 690 hp.

The fan enabled Murray and his team to focus more on a clean design, rather than implement dozens of vents, ducts and other aerodynamic trickery so many supercars rely on. While the fan does its work, onlookers gaze upon a simple design Murray said will remain fresh for decades to come. To be fair, it's a little generic, especially at the front. But, the T50 isn't supposed to be an angry supercar meant to beat drivers up. It's approachable, fast and even houses enough luggage space for daily usability at 10 cubic feet. "Grand touring" and "supercar" rarely mix well, but the T50 aims to do both.

The "drama-free" design does house a few nostalgic nods, though. The headlights, which seem widely out of place in an era of thin LEDs with lots of angles, are a direct nod to the McLaren F1. Old school in appearance, they house LED rings that serve as daytime running lights and turn signals. Dihedral doors harken back to the days of yore and accentuate the exterior's spinelike element that focuses on the fan in the rear. This isn't a large car, either. It's about the size of a Porsche 718 Boxster. Sometimes, good things come in small packages.

Every driver's seat will be molded to fit each individual owner.

Gordon Murray Automotive

If the mechanicals and exterior scream no nonsense, the cockpit doesn't tone it down -- it doubles down. There are no screens, stalks or anything of the like. Instead, GMA focused on "purity." The F1's signature three-person, fighter-jet-style cockpit returns with the driver front and center, and after sliding under the butterfly-style doors, it's all about fine materials. The pedals and gear shifter, essential elements to this kind of car, come from solid aluminum and titanium, respectively. GMA's goal was to make these elements into fine art, essentially. Milled pedals with laser etching and personalized seat fittings for customers certainly qualify for that sort of description.

All essential controls find a home on the three-spoke steering wheel, or on the central arm. The rotary selector for the infotainment, engine start/stop button and the driving mode selector are the only big ticket items available. Remember, it's about the drive. Keeping that in mind, every display is analog with no screens at all, and all icons come in one, back-to-basics flavor: white graphics on a black background.

The time are changing. Emissions regulations continue to push automakers into electrification whether they like it or not. We may be in a golden age of horsepower, but simplicity can be in short supply these days. That's why the T50 is important. It's Murray's greatest-hits album meant to send nostalgic sounds through a hypothetical stereo. Just 100 individuals will put a T50 in their garage, to the tune of $3.08 million each at current exchange rates. Each one will be completely unique to the owner, and each owner, well, they'll have something really special to hold onto.