Gordon Murray, the brain behind McLaren F1 & Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren, has designed a vehicle that is far from a supercar but, in his own words, “ranks above anything else I’ve ever done.”
The utility vehicle is designed with an intention to provide services in developing and underdeveloped nations. The vehicle can be easily folded into a box and can be transported to the desired destination and after reaching the destination it can be reassembled.
The OX truck can be unboxed and assembled by three people in not more than 12 hours! Six such trucks can be shipped in a single 40 foot container.
The main considerations for design are: the vehicle should be affordable, easy to ship, easy to service & maintain, durable & reliable, all terrain capable and economical to run. Striking balance between all these parameters isn’t that easy as few parameters are inversely proportional to each other. Achieving an optimal balance between all these parameters is a commendable job.
The fully-assembled truck is a highly capable off-roader despite lacking all-wheel drive. Powered by a 2.2-liter 16v Ford PT22 diesel engine producing 100 HP and 385Nm of torque, the OX can carry more than 1900kg of cargo, with a load volume of 247 cubic feet. It can also be configured to seat up to 13 people, or carry eight 44-gallon drums or three Euro-pallets. The driver sits in the center of the cab like in McLaren F1, with a passenger seat on either side. The center-steer configuration means the truck can be used in right-hand drive or left-hand drive nations without any mechanical changes.
Gordon Murray says the OX program is “undoubtedly one of the most interesting and challenging” projects he has undertaken in his 45 years of career, including his years in F1. Given the cost, durability and capacity requirements and the flat-pack design of the OX design mandate, we can understand why Murray calls it “a fascinating and stimulating journey from concept to prototype”.
Global Vehicle Trust(GVT) founded by Sir Torquil Norman is the organization behind the development of the OX truck. GVT approached Murray for the design. Sir Torquil Norman is a British businessman who previously founded Bluebird Toys company. Norman was originally inspired by the 1980s Africar book.