Creating Two-Pedal Setup: Limited Buyers, Low Cost
Following the reveal of the GMA T.33 Spider, Gordon Murray has gone into detail regarding why this vehicle is solely available with a manual gearbox and why its sibling coupe will no more be getting the option of an automatic transmission as promised in the beginning: as it would have been overly pricey and there were not sufficient buyers who really desired it.
The below video from Top Gear explains that the original decision to offer an automatic transmission of some sort seemed to be the right one at the beginning because Murray felt the lineup needed a broader audience; perhaps worried that people might view the T.50 and T.33 in the same light and therefore be unenthused by the prospect of a manual gearbox. But as it turns out, the majority of buyers were only interested in a manual transmission. Those who expressed the need for an automatic were only doing so due to “leg problems” (injury, disability, et cetera) which prevented them from operating a manual.
“I take full responsibility,” Murray declared. “I was of the opinion that with three variants of the same model, that would make for 300 cars. The T.50 is a completely different beast and will always be our flagship, so it had to be as extreme as possible, thus a manual transmission was the only option. But with the other 300 cars, I thought we should make it more accessible and offer a paddle shift box. We invested several million in its development, but if only three people end up buying it, that’s a million pounds per car – you don’t have to be a mathematician to see that it doesn’t add up.”
Murray expounds, a former Lotus Evora outfitted with the advanced paddle shift transmission existed at one point, yet it didn’t seem to meet the criteria for continuing development.
Thankfully, only “two or three” individuals were interested in the automatic, and of those, two of them just wanted it due to issues with their clutch legs. Everyone was very understanding, and those who did not prefer the manual had their deposits returned.
When talking to Harry Metcalfe of Harry’s Garage in the video below, we discover that the color seen in the reveal photos was apparently based on “a photograph of a kingfisher” and that the windscreen design seen here will be modified slightly to make a bigger roof opening, which Murray claims will make the car look slightly better as well.
Concerning pricing, Murray elucidates why the T.33 Spider is estimated at £1.89 million (approximately $2.4 million), up from £1.37 million/$1.8 million for the coupe – this being due to raw materials and components rising in cost by 40% from when the coupe was declared.
Further tantalizing information was also divulged – that the GMA T.50s Niki Lauda is not weighty enough for the Le Mans, bearing a total kilogram weight of 852 (1,878 lbs). Normally, LMP1 cars usually weigh around 1,100 kg/2,425 lbs. It has been suggested that, with enhancement of its hybrid system, the car would potentially be able to make up this difference with little-to-no additional mass. Although, a new development program must be followed in order to make this happen. As well as this, GMA are collaborating on a smaller GT-like supercar project which could see the T.50s going head-to-head with existing models such as Aston Martin’s Valkyrie. Fingers emphatically crossed!
GMA has always been adamant that the T.33 platform would spawn three distinct models, and as predicted, the third T.33 will be a “more focused” version of the existing supercar. It will still be street-legal, unlike the T.50s Niki Lauda, but its design will be more oriented towards performance. If GMA’s first three cars are anything to go by, the hardcore T.33 will surely push the boundaries even further, and if it features the same unit as the T.50s, then this variant of the T.33 may only have two pedals.