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World’s first flat-pack truck revealed

Legendary automotive designer, Gordon Murray and Sir Torquil Norman, have revealed the world’s first flat-pack truck, a low-cost all-terrain vehicle for the developing world.

THE OX is the world’s first flat-pack truck, and is the brainchild of Sir Torquil Norman who founded the Global Vehicle Trust (GVT) five years ago with a mission to help people in the developing world by providing cost-effective mobility.

The OX has been “designed specifically to tackle a host of transport challenges, and to undertake crucial daily tasks, such as collect drinking water and transporting grain, fertilizer or building materials. It is unlike any other vehicle and has no direct competitor – whether from a concept, performance or pricing point of view,” GVT said in a statement.

When Sir Torqui established the Trust five years ago he entered into an agreement with Gordon Murray to design a vehicle based off his iStream production principles. Sir Torquil’s brief to Murray called for high ground clearance, excellent approach and departure angles, large wheel movement, a multi-purpose layout and a three-person cab. Around AUD$4million has been spent on the project so far.

The Ox is around the same size as a small to medium car, like the Hyundai Elantra, yet can carry 1900kg more than any other dual-cab 4×4 ute, is two-wheel drive only, runs a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel from a Ford Transit and a six-speed gearbox, has a central driving position to get around left- and right-hand drive markets, can carry 13 people in the back or eight 44-gallon drums, and three people in the front.

But that’s not all, the tailgate can be detached completely from the OX and rotated lengthways to double as a loading ramp. The rear bench seat bases also have a dual purpose. The long ‘egg crate’ frames can be removed from the vehicle and used as ‘sand ladders’ under the wheels to help the OX traverse challenging soft ground. The Oz runs all-coil, all-independent suspension, with the parts identical from side to side.

Reportedly, it takes three people less than six hours to create the flat pack in the UK prior to shipping, and six of these flat packs can be shipped within a 40ft high-cube container. Assembly labour, according to GVT, “is transferred to the importing country, where local professional companies will be employed to assemble and maintain the finished vehicles. Three skilled people can put an OX together in approximately 12 hours”.

Sir Torquil Norman said: “My inspiration for the OX goes back to seeing the ‘Africar’ project of the 1980s. This project shares some of the aims of that vehicle, but its execution is radically different. OX was just a dream six years ago, but it is now a realistic prospect for production with working prototypes that have completed a comprehensive testing programme.”

Professor Gordon Murray said: “The OX design and prototyping programme is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and challenging I have undertaken during my 45 years of car design, including my years in F1.

“The added challenge of a flat-packed vehicle design over the already tough targets for cost, durability and weight saving made for a fascinating and stimulating journey from concept to prototype.

“The most satisfying elements of the project for me are that the OX will make such a difference to so many people and that it has no competitor in any part of the world. It has been a privilege to work alongside Torquil to make his vision a reality.”

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober