- Rendering: GMA

We need to talk about the GMA T.50...

The last great analogue supercar... or a pointless attempt to recapture a bygone era?

40w ago

5.8K

We've all heard about Gordon Murray's attempt to create another McLaren F1-style supreme driving machine. An analogue, naturally aspirated supercar with a manual gearbox and aero technology derived from his experiments with fan cars in the 1980s. On paper, it seems like an absolutely formidable machine with its naturally aspirated 700 hp, 6 speed manual gearbox, RWD and promises of insane levels of downforce. It's the only real attempt to make something like the McLaren F1 again - it even has the F1's 3 seat, central driving position seating configuration! But is it a car that we actually need? Or even, a car that we actually want?

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Whether we actually need a car like the GMA T.50 around is a question pretty much nobody has been asking. Everyone has been fawning so much over its all-analogue McLaren F1 for the 2020s promise that nobody has really stopped, taken a look at the whole package, and asked one question - why? Why, Gordon Murray? Why do you want to recapture the glory of a car you made nearly 30 years ago? This, I think, is where the GMA T.50 falls into something that's bigger than the car scene as a whole...

"People are absolutely obsessed with a bygone era..."

The retro revival is everywhere. People want 80s themed things. Synthwave/retrowave. The Cure. Stranger Things. The revival of Dungeons & Dragons. VHS-styled grainy footage. People want nostalgia and it's not just a type of nostalgia they experienced, but also a nostalgia people who are in their teenage years to mid 20s/early 30s now experienced vicariously through their parents' record collections and favourite films. People are absolutely obsessed with a bygone era, plenty of them having never even lived through it! This may be controversial, but I'm going to say it... it sucks. It's a trend. It's going to look horribly dated in about 5-10 years. Part of that trend, unfortunately, is the GMA T.50 and I will explain why.

All-analogue supercars are a relic of the 80s and 90s. I'm sorry, but they are. No supercar you can buy now is analogue in the slightest. All of them have rafts and rafts of electronic aids. All of them have super fast automated gearboxes that can shift faster than any human ever could with their hands and feet. Some of them don't even have gears at all. Gone are the screaming V12s of old, to be replaced with smaller turbocharged V6s and V8s, hybrid systems and even forgoing internal combustion altogether. Cars are moving along. Evolving. Adapting. Changing, because they have to change. We're on the verge of a climate crisis. ICE technology is at a plateau. Nobody drives manuals anymore and a lot of people don't even know how to press a clutch pedal.

When placed into this landscape, the GMA T.50 feels like a weird attempt to bring back something old. It's the car equivalent of buying a Pale Waves album. Whilst it may musically be very good, there's not really anything in there that's modern or cutting edge. It's a nostalgia trip and a self-indulgent one at that. Its 700 hp would have been incredibly impressive 20 or 30 years ago, but now, when you can buy a Tesla Model S that has more power than that... it seems a bit tame, really. I know it's 700 hp you'll only be able to control with the seat of your pants, but in the supercar game these days 700 hp is commonplace. Nothing special at all. Maybe even boring.

With all that said, however, the GMA T.50 does have one trick up its sleeve that is genuinely modern and advanced and that's the aerodynamics. Although the fan car idea comes from the 1980s, it's done in a different way to maximise traditional aero rather than suck the car to the road. The 6 different aero modes offer a wide variety of possibilities too. If we go back to the Pale Waves analogy, the ultra-modern aero is like the ultra-modern production they use to translate their heavily 80s inspired sounds into your ears. It's the modern sheen that brings a concept that should have been dead 30 years ago into the modern era. It's a token to modernism that's needed. We can all see the dissapointing results of not doing such a thing in the relative failure of Billy Corgan's self-assuredly (and perhaps obstinately) retro interpretation of the National Wrestling Alliance, even though their weekly TV show is free to watch on YouTube, a modern streaming platform.

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This state of the art, crazy aerodynamics could yield some very cool results when the car is finally unleashed into the wild. Maybe it could even be something that's adopted in other supercars and hypercars down the road? It's a genuine possibility. The re-imagining of the fan technology could be truly, truly groundbreaking. It's something that we'll have to hold our breaths on though, as the T.50 is the first road car ever to have something like this.

So, is the GMA T.50 a car that's needed right now? In many ways, it isn't. It's an analogue car in a very digital world. It feels out of place. A fish out of water, if you may. But it's a fish out of water that's got one very, very cool trick up its sleeve and that's the multi-talented, fan-assisted aerodynamics. If there's one thing that the GMA T.50 will be remembered for in the future, it's probably going to be that. Otherwise, it just feels like a weird attempt by an old-school car designer to bring the 1980s into the 2020s. That's a bit of a shame, really.

Maybe the T.50 is just a prelude to more cool things GMA is going to conjure up down the line. Maybe Murray's going to have a crack at some kind of absolutely insane hybrid hypercar? A super light, super small, super sporty and super darty track weapon? A hyper GT? Who knows at this rate, honestly. The automotive industry has thrown us bigger curveballs in recent years.

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Comments (13)

  • Brilliant article Robert. I think that we need this car as this will be the ultimate swan song of the ICE.

      9 months ago
    • Like I said, I think people will remember it more for the crazy advanced aerodynamics than anything else. If the systems work I could see Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren etc. adopting the tech for their own cars.

        9 months ago
  • Never disagreed more with a perspective like yours Robert.

    This car is needed and the industry is in absymal state (the future) of bulky pointless cars that are not mean for anything but show-off, targeted to incompetent drivers and using technologies just for the sake of the fashion of the time, nobody needs an hybrid-plug in hypercar with a dry weight of 1.700 kg. The T50 is the kid that points to naked king of the industry and Gordon Murray showed that all the excuses for eliminated aspirated engines, lightweight and manual gearboxes are just excuses of builders accustomed to play safe.

      1 month ago
    • Gordon Murray's actually said himself that he understands why most supercars and hypercars are the way that they are because they're built by much bigger companies than GMA with more and more managers and more worry about profits and money...

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        1 month ago
    • Hi Percy, I'm not the one arguing the "impossibility" of modern manual super car or arguing that "without Turbo it will be impossible to achieve the performance and the emission targets .." these are the people of the automotive world.

      If...

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        6 days ago
  • 12,100 rpm. From 0 rpm to the limiter in 0.3 seconds. All up weight, 980kgs. The most power-dense naturally aspirated engine ever been created... and the fan is the only talking point? I understand where you are coming from Robert with your comments regarding digital vs analog. But flagship Breitlings are analogue. Private yachts are analogue. Sex is analogue. Im not saying that digital is worse, im saying that the experience of driving a car has as much (if not more) importance than how the car drives you.

      1 month ago
    • I published this article quite a while ago, Mike. You might want to read a more recent article that I wrote about this car:...

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        1 month ago
    • It’s not about nostalgia. It’s about engagement. Anyway you seem to have had a change of heart over the last 8 months.

        5 days ago
  • Just sitting and waiting for it to be unveiled.

      9 months ago
  • I agree with everything you say but if I could afford one, Murray would be holding my cheque right now!

      4 days ago
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