Gordon Murray’s Revolutionary Truck Isn’t

The Global Vehicle Trust OX is being hailed as a great way to get trucks to parts of the world where that can be difficult. And that’s cool. I’m no expert on the developing world, but easy access to 1,900kg of carrying capacity sounds like a pretty good idea. But a revolutionary idea it is not.

Often considered the rarest of all Volkswagens, the EA489 Basistransporter beat the truck’s designer, Gordon Murray, to the punch by about 40 years.


Shipped around world as a knock-down kit, the Basistransporter was Volkswagen’s vision for cheap, utilitarian transportation.

The Global Vehicle Trust is calling their OX the world’s first flat-pack truck, which may be technically true, but the Basistransporter was also a torn down kit that could be packed compactly and assembled wherever it was sent to.

In Mexico, where most of the Basistransporters were built, it was affectionately known as the Hormiga (Spanish for ant, because it’s small, but lifts a lot) these things are, apparently, still pretty common.

Global Vehicle Trust OX by Gordon Murray (4)

I have no doubt that the OX is a refined design. Apparently six of these can fit in a 40ft high cube container, and it can haul about twice as much as the Hormiga, but these are improvements, the type of advancement you’d expect after 40 years.

At any rate, I won’t begrudge Murray and Sir Torquil Norman (who founded GVT) their excitement. They’ll doubtless do good with the OX, but maybe next time they won’t call their design unique when it so closely resembles a design that Volkswagen thought of in the ‘70s.