The Gordon Murray T.33 Spider Lets You Hear That 11,100-RPM V-12 Even Better

gordon murray automotive t33 spider
The T.33 Spider Lets You Hear the V-12 BetterGordon Murray Automotive

You can thank America for the Gordon Murray Automotive T.33 Spider. Unlike the center-steered T.50, GMA decided to fully homologate the T.33 for the U.S. market, at a cost of $35 million and counting. "As we promised never to do more than 100 of any model or variant, we would have to make more than one variant to make 33 viable," Murray tells Road & Track, "or charge £5 million a car, which is not viable anyway."

So, GMA decided to make three variants of T.33, in batches of 100. This is the second, the T.33 Spider. “It's pretty obvious if you look at the standard sort of format with supercars, the second one was going to be some sort of open car,” Murray says.

Dynamically, GMA wanted the T.33 Spider to perform as well as the coupe, so the company settled on a car with two removable carbon-fiber roof panels that could be stowed in the front trunk, a la a Porsche Carrera GT or 918 Spyder. Practicality should be better than those cars, as the T.33 Spider also has two pannier-type lockable luggage compartments on either side of the engine.

gordon murray automotive t33 spider
Gordon Murray Automotive

The chassis of the T.33 coupe and Spider were conceived at the same time so that each would be as strong as the other. It’s built around Murray’s iStream Superlight technology, where an extruded aluminum tube frame runs the length of the car, to which carbon fiber panels are bonded to make up the passenger and engine compartments. Murray says there’s a bit more material in the rocker panels under the doors than in the coupe to help with rigidity, but also notes that GMA is targeting a weight increase of just under 40 pounds compared with the coupe. That translates to a targeted dry weight of 2443 pounds, which should be closer to 2600 pounds filled with fluids.


The T.33 Spider also makes the same amount of downforce as the coupe, most of which is generated underneath by diffusers behind each front wheel, and a large, stepped diffuser at the back. A deployable rear spoiler helps balance everything out, and Murray says the aerodynamic performance is basically the same roof on and roof off. The rear roll hoop supplies extra rigidity and, of course, safety. Above it is the RAM-air intake for the 4.0-liter V-12, which draws in air through four throttle bodies. With the roof open, Murray says the driver won’t be able to hear the exhaust over the sound of the combustion happening just behind them. There’s also a small glass wind deflector that can be dropped with the roof on, allowing more noise into the cabin.

gordon murray automotive t33 spider
Gordon Murray Automotive

While the bodywork is different from the A-pillar rearward, the rest of the T.33 Spider is much as it is in the coupe. The V-12 produces 607 hp at 10,500 rpm and goes on to an 11,100 rpm, figures that are shy of the GMA T.50, but by any other standard are incredible. The T.33 coupe is offered with a paddle-shift sequential transaxle, but most customers went for a six-speed manual, so the Spider is a manual-only affair. The transaxle is mounted transversely to keep the car’s length in check and to help concentrate weight towards the center of the car.

Suspension is by aluminum double-wishbones all around with coil-over passive dampers, and rear suspension attached directly to the transaxle, as in a race car. The T.33 also uses GMA’s novel electro-hydraulic power steering system with an electric pump that provides assistance at low speeds and disengages once moving. This delivers best of both worlds in terms of maneuverability and uncorrupted steering feel. Tires are off-the-shelf Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, because Murray wants replacements to be cheap and easy for owners. They measure 235/35R19 up front, and 295/30R20 in back, and naturally, brakes are carbon-ceramic.

Murray doesn’t really consider himself a convertible guy, though he thinks this might be changing. He’s owned a series-1 Alfa Romeo Spider, an Austin-Healey “bugeye” Sprite, and a ‘57 Thunderbird for some time now, and he recently added a Lotus Elan Sprint drophead to his impressive classic-car fleet. “I haven't really been a spider person, and it's largely because in the back of my mind, I've subconsciously thought of them as cruisers, heavier, worse aerodynamics, worse torsional stiffness,” he says. “So, when we decided to do an open car, we got the team together and I said, ‘Listen, guys, this has got to be a serious motor car.’”

We have no reason to doubt him. At £1.89 million before taxes ($2.36 million at today's ecxhange rate), the T.33 Spider is a fair bit more than the £1.37 million before taxes (around $1.7 million). When we spoke to Murray last week, he said around half of the Spiders are already spoken for, so if you act fast, there’s a chance to get your name on the list.

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