Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Q and A with One of the Best

After some time of remaining idle, Gordon Murray - engineer responsible for one of modern day's best supercars, the McLaren F1 - answered questions posted by users of the NY Times' Auto section. Some of these questions range from how he'd improve the McLaren F1 to compete with more modern supercars of today to use of turbine engines as power plants in the next generation of auto manufacturing.

However, one question (and more importantly, the answer) is very encouraging to hear from one of the world's greatest engineers/designers of cars that have been highly exotic, sparing no expense to achieve one single goal: performance. Here it is:

Q. How do you deal with the extraordinary differences across American cities? Take our two most famous: New York and Los Angeles, one a subway city and one a car city, have very different needs from personal cars. Can the same car work for these two cities and all the variations in between? Why?
— Posted by Lauren

A. I believe, as you do, that different cultures and city requirements will need different versions of a generic city car design. Our manufacturing technology is totally flexible in order to satisfy this requirement.

This reaffirms the tone Gordon took in an interview I was privileged enough to listen in to while I was at Art Center this past winter, in which time I was also very surprised to hear that someone whom you'd think was only concerned with high performance at any cost due to his background, and would assume he'd have the ego to boot, was actually very humble and embarking on his own project of a car that's much more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

His answer to this question above was also something he talked about in that interview and I think that the key word is "flexible". Rather than making new parts or using new technology for one specific part or one specific build as in the supercar world is going to make all the difference for ventures like Gordon Murray's and Local Motors' and their impact on how we manufacture automobiles and what we drive in general.

Again, when someone of this background recognizes that there has to be another way and puts forth his own efforts to do something about it, it's time for everyone to listen. Glad to see that even the elite of our business see eye to eye with our philosophy.

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