Gor­don Murray

Even the leg­endary de­signer fan­ta­sises about cars he’ll never own

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents - Gor­don Murray is one of the most in­no­va­tive au­to­mo­tive de­sign­ers of his gen­er­a­tion. He de­signed Gp-win­ning F1 cars for Brab­ham and Mclaren and the Mclaren F1 road car

Asub­ject that has al­ways fas­ci­nated me is the po­si­tion­ing of racing cars as clas­sics. There has been a huge in­crease in the value or per­ceived value of clas­sic cars in the last 15 years or so, but the racing car seg­ment has seen an even steeper climb in value, and I am ex­tremely in­ter­ested in the driv­ing fac­tors be­hind this trend.

As I have been in­volved with racing cars for most of the life, I ob­vi­ously fall into the group of clas­sic car lovers that see racing cars as more im­por­tant than road cars when it comes to clas­sic sta­tus, but I equally un­der­stand that many others are not re­ally in­ter­ested in clas­sic racing cars. The growth of interest in historic racing and the in­crease in the num­ber of or­gan­ised events has cer­tainly been a fac­tor and the grow­ing interest in cars with good prove­nance has been in­flu­enced by so much more avail­able lit­er­a­ture on the his­tory of th­ese cars, the driv­ers and their com­pe­ti­tion records. The very limited num­bers built of works team cars is, of course, an­other fac­tor when it comes to value.

I re­mem­ber in my early days at Brab­ham in the mid-seventies, the only chance we had of sell­ing the For­mula One cars was if they were cur­rent enough and com­pet­i­tive enough to be raced by a pri­va­teer team. The two- or three-year-old cars were not re­ally saleable. In to­day’s cli­mate an iconic racing car that achieved a high level of suc­cess at the hands of a great driver can com­mand quite stu­pen­dous num­bers. A Mercedes W196R driven by Fan­gio in 1954 achieved nearly thirty mil­lion dol­lars at auc­tion a few years back. This trend has now be­gun to fil­ter down to racing cars with more hum­ble back­grounds and to­day the lesser­known mar­ques and even spe­cials are in­creas­ing in value.

In a pre­vi­ous col­umn I wrote about my 1951 Cooper Mark IV, which I bought for nos­tal­gic rea­sons in mem­ory of my fa­ther. I have to hold my­self in check some­times when I see one of my all-time favourite racing cars for sale. A re­cent ex­am­ple was when I saw a Lo­tus 25 for sale and I had to give my­self a good talk­ing to – I’d prob­a­bly not be able to get more than one leg in a 25. As much as I’d like one, it’s bet­ter that th­ese cars are owned by folks who will look af­ter and race them so that many more peo­ple can experience the en­joy­ment of see­ing and hear­ing them in ac­tion. At the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed re­cently, where there were sev­eral of my Seventies Brab­ham Al­fas and Brab­ham BMWS, I had so many clas­sic car fans come and tell me how happy it made them to see the cars driv­ing up the hill.

There’s a group of cars that keep both clas­sic car camps happy – the Fifties and Six­ties GT cars and ho­molo­ga­tion spe­cials that can be en­joyed on both the road and the track. I’m happy to say that I en­joy cars from all three cat­e­gories – ev­ery­day road car clas­sics, pure racing cars and the GT crossovers – but I still lust af­ter that Lo­tus 25!

Murray’s 6”4’ frame means he can only dream of set­ting his in­ner Jim Clark on a Lo­tus 25

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.