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Pontiac of the Month

gscherer78ta's 1978 Trans Am

2019 February
of the Month

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Car & Driver: A Flat-Pack Kit Truck from the Man Who Brought You the McLaren F1 Supercar

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gallery-1473169416-global-vehicle-trust-ox-by-gordon-murray-3In many parts of the world, the qualities required for a desirable vehicle are simply that it be cheap, versatile, easy to maintain, and tough as nails, and this boxy cab-over-engine truck concept definitely fits the bill for rugged locales such as those found in Africa. Meet the OX, a modular truck that assembles like IKEA furniture, designed by the man who came up with the legendary McLaren F1.
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Called the Global Vehicle Trust OX, this “flat pack” truck brings the dream of GVT founder Sir Torquil Norman one step closer to reality, as he’s made it his mission to provide the developing world with cheap, reliable transportation. The task of creating a unique lightweight truck for this humanitarian program landed on the desk of none other than iconic car designer Gordon Murray, who came up with these prototypes.

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The flat-pack format—also known as a knockdown kit—is not new. Certain carmakers have used it in the past to avoid local taxes, but this method also pushes down the costs by making these vehicles really easy to transport. GVT claims it takes three people less than six hours to build the kit truck in the U.K. prior to shipping. Six of the trucks can be packed in a single 40-foot shipping container, while it’s said three skilled people can assemble an OX in approximately 12 hours.

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The fully assembled truck is a highly capable off-roader despite lacking all-wheel drive. Powered by a 2.2-liter diesel producing 100 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque, the OX can carry more than two tons of cargo, with a load volume of 247 cubic feet. It also can be configured to seat up to 13 people, carry eight 44-gallon drums, or accommodate three European-spec pallets of cargo. The driver sits in the center of the cab—McLaren F1 style, natch—with a passenger seat on either side; in this case, the advantage of the center-steer configuration is that the truck can be used in right- or left-hand-drive nations without any mechanical changes.

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Not only does the OX have ample ground clearance and very short overhangs, it also features a tailgate that detaches to double as a loading ramp. The rear bench-seat bottoms also have a dual purpose: Their long “egg crate” frames can be removed and placed under the drive wheels to help the OX traverse soft ground.

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Gordon Murray says the OX program is “undoubtedly one of the most interesting and challenging” projects he has undertaken in his 45 years of car design, including his years in Formula 1 racing. Given the cost, durability, and capacity requirements of the OX design mandate, not to mention the kit design, we can understand why Murray calls it “a fascinating and stimulating journey from concept to prototype.”

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Now, all Sir Torquil’s company will have to do is raise money to complete testing and turn this project into salable vehicles.

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This story originally appeared on Road & Track.

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