Why Flat-Pack DIY Trucks Could Take Over the World

Don’t look for them on the shelves at Ikea.


Photo: Global Vehicle Trust

Personal mobility is as critical a need in the developing world as in the U.S., but it remains out of reach for many people. With this in mind, the Global Vehicle Trust commissioned ex-McLaren designer Gordon Murray to devise an affordable machine with high ground clearance, excellent approach and departure angles, large wheel movement, a multi-purpose layout and a three-person cab.


The result is the Ox, a truck that can be flat-packed, six to a shipping container, for shipment to developing countries—all at a relatively minimal cost.

Photo: Global Vehicle Trust

The compact, 3,520-lb. Ox is aptly named, as it can carry an astonishing 4,180 lbs. of payload in its bed. That can include 13 people or eight 50-gallon drums.

Photo: Global Vehicle Trust

The clever design includes a tailgate that detaches to function as a loading ramp for the cargo bed and bench seat bases in the bed that can be used as traction ladders for the Ox to drive its way out of slippery conditions. 

Photo: Global Vehicle Trust

The Ox uses a 100-horsepower 2.2-liter diesel engine to power its rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. Though it is only two-wheel drive, the Ox has been engineered to perform as well as, or better than, a four-wheel drive vehicle across a range of surfaces.

Photo: Global Vehicle Trust

The constraints of this project were so great and the innovation needed was so great that despite its proletarian purpose, Murray says he regards this as one of his toughest design challenges. “The OX design and prototyping program is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and challenging I have undertaken during my 45 years of car design, including my years in F1,” he said. For reference, Murray designed the McLaren F1 three-seater sports car for the street.

Photo: Global Vehicle Trust

“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,” he said.

In case you doubt recipients’ ability to assemble the Ox upon delivery, check out the resourcefulness of these men in reviving an old, dead car.


The Global Vehicle Trust’s goal is to raise enough money to provide one Ox for every African village. Hopefully they’ll send extra allen wrenches and a few spare nuts and bolts, just in case.


Dan Carney