A closer look at the cars that inspired Murray to build the legendary McLaren F1.
Gordon Murray needs no introduction. If you're reading this, you'll know he's responsible for the McLaren F1. The South African-born automotive giant will forever be associated with what was arguably the first hypercar, but he also worked on a slew of other magnificent vehicles.
Obviously, you want to know what Murray has in his private collection. What cars inspired him to build the F1, which will consistently rank on any decent top ten most excellent vehicles of all time list?
Now we have an answer, thanks to Jonny Smith's Late Brake Show on YouTube. Murray has a new garage, which he calls his Car Cave, and he took Smith on a quick tour of the cars he deems good enough to keep around.
Surely, any decent car collection includes the latest, greatest McLaren? Nope. You won't find the new McLaren Artura here, probably because it weighs too much. Murray's collection is a celebration of featherweight champions instead of 1,000-horsepower machines. Porsche recently proved that a car doesn't need more than 500 hp if appropriately engineered.
"There are 35 cars under 900 kilograms," says Murray. That's 1,984 pounds in American. Murray is so obsessed with the weight that each car's plaque has its mass printed in bold, in a larger and brighter font than the engine specification and horsepower rating.
The collection starts with several city cars that Murray admires, like the Hillman Imp. The central theme is a lightweight body, space inside for four, and a small engine. Naturally, this part of the collection includes a Fiat 500 and the original Mini.
Murray also takes a closer look at the Brabham race car that put him on the map. The budget for the entire Le Mans entry was roughly $5,700, and Murray was paid roughly $280 to design it.
We don't want to spoil your viewing pleasure, so we'll fast forward a bit to the more modern stuff and Murray's obsession with Abarth. Murray obviously played a big role in the Mercedes-McLaren SLR's development. It's a flawed car, but we tend to forget it's an engineering masterpiece.
Back to Abarth. Murray recently took delivery of a 2000 Spider, which he hasn't driven yet. He can't wait, however, because it's going to oversteer like crazy. In case you're wondering, the Spider weighs 1,268 lbs, and its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces roughly 250 hp.
Murray also makes it quite clear that he still likes scaring himself. We respect that, especially considering the man's resume.
Other highlights include the infamous Porsche 550 Spyder. The three pedals had to be moved three inches back to accommodate Murray's lanky frame. In his Lotus 11, the pedals had to be moved seven inches back.
One can't talk lightweight and not mention Lotus. Murray has owned an Elan for more than 20 years. The collection also includes a Formula 3 car, the Elite, and the evergreen 7. Murray mentions that he enjoyed the Lotus era up to the Europa twin cam.
Thankfully, Murray won't be hiding this collection. The entire collection was moved to a new building so Murray could show it off to crowds. He mentions school kids specifically, and that's a splendid idea. What better way to inspire the next Gordon Murray than showcasing all the cars that helped him achieve greatness?