• Mar 3, 2010
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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice for a student project.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Side pipes give it away.
      The FJ has those triple wipers, so I can see a dual wiper conversion looking funny, like it does here.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Logic would suggest that a Saudi university would pick the most opulent vehicle they could as the model for their project. Still, I guessed a Mitsubishi Outlander. I'm available to freelance anytime guys.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It looks like a fatter Nissan Armada/QX56
      • 4 Years Ago
      I grew up in Saudi Arabia, and based on their love for the GMC Yukon/Chevy Tahoe, I would've guessed that. I didn't expect the G-Wagen at all.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Whats with the 5-lug Panasport lookalikes, and where can I get a set for myself?
      • 4 Years Ago
      so they started with a $100,000 car
      nice school
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yea, and they only rebodied it
      • 4 Years Ago
      Given the upright windshield (interior hardpoints, right?), I'd guess FJ or H3... Given the fondness for Toyota trucks in the Middle East, I'd probably lean towards the FJ.

      Side swinging tailgate? Check... It's an FJ
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lots of people have guessed FJ, but my first thought was H3.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Galindenwagen! I rule! :D Kinda followed, Saudis like their Mercedeses, and they started with an SUV...So...Certainly wasn't going to be an MLK350 lol...
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's Geländewagen (as in cross-country vehicle), "Galindenwagen" is just nonsense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am curious about the origins of the KSU students responsible for this project and how this affected their reaction to the design problem. From the results, I would guess they were largely students from the Arabian Gulf countries, designing for their own diverse but interrelated cultural backgrounds. Maybe it is the upright formality of the grille, suited for royal conveyance. Or the head and taillights like the eye slits of a Niqab head covering.

      I wonder what a group of European, or American, or completely diverse group of students might come up with in a similar design study. Or how this group might design a solution for a Western environment. In any case, I hope they all earned A's!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, it certainly doesn't win any beauty contests, but it's a really really awesome project that I'm sure these students will remember forever. I love the rear overhead wipers. Way cool.

      I went to an Ivy League school, and still we had nothing like this...
        • 4 Years Ago
        " you're sitting there in your engineering class...."

        Engineers do NOT design products. Designers do. Autoblog FAIL.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nissan already had a car called Gazelle. The old S12 chassis.
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