- Mar 3, 2010
Geneva 2010: King Saud University Gazal-1 is one whopper of a student project
We went to the wrong school -– Click above for a high-res image gallery
Imagine this: you're sitting there in your engineering class and the professor walks in and says, "You're getting a little project this semester. I'd like you to design an SUV. But not just any SUV, one that takes into account the environment and population of the Arabian Gulf. 20% of your grade is riding on it."
That's right, King Saud University (KSU) students in Saudi Arabia were asked to create a new SUV called the Gazal-1. If you're wondering, Gazal means "gazelle" in Arabic. Why you would name a hulking, International Truck-looking off-roader after a lithe, speedy and athletic mammal is anyone's guess. Still, you must admit, for a bunch of college kids, they did a fine job.
The big green truck here at the Geneva Motor Show is actually just a model, a styling exercise if you will. However, the Gazal-1 is more than just an engineering project. A business plan has been part of the Gazal-1 since the get-go. Are we saying that the KSU kids' truck will one day make it to production? Mostly likely no. However, KSU's reason for such an ambitious project is to "Promote the culture of automotive industry, to train young engineers who can participate in research and development." Those are some educational goals we can get behind.
Now comes the fun part. The KSU students didn't start with a totally blank slate. In fact, they were given an existing SUV to start with. They were then told to keep the original vehicle's wheelbase, track, mechanical bits and interior hard points. Obviously, the entire body was redesigned. So redesigned in fact that when asked what SUV underpins the Gazal-1, five out of five members of the Autoblog Geneva crew got it wrong. Make the jump to see if you're smarter than us. Warning: Don't make the jump until you've guessed what truck!
Answer: The King Saud University Gazal-1 is based on the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.