Fifty students from the King Saud University in Saudi Arabia worked on this Gazal 1 concept car from April 2009. It has now been presented at the Geneva Motor Show. The students worked in collaboration with Magna Steyr on the engineering side and Studiotorino for styling. Over 50 sketches were offered and the final one chosen in May last year. An Australian designer named Peter Arcadipane was called on to supervise the whole project.
Every aspect, from styling and engineering feasibility to a running prototype were conducted in both Riyadh city and Turin where Magna has its Italian office. The prototype will be unveiled in Riyadh some time this year to mark the end of the project.
The main brief was to create an SUV with certain classical undertones but modern at the same time. It would be based on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class in terms of chassis and mechanics.
As for the name, Gazal is a reference to the very fast Arabian Gazelle, an apparently extinct antelope identified with the Saudi Arabian area. Green is said to be quite popular with Arabian people so it became the main colour of choice.
The Gazal 1 styling model, presented at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show on the King Saud univesrity stand, is the result of the first "project" of KSU automotive engineering degree course in Riyadh.
The "project" management dedicated to fifty students, running from April 2009 within end 2010, totally cared by KSU docents was supported by external partnerships with Magna Steyr Italy for engineering along side Studiotorino for styling as mentors.
Academic lessons, covering all aspects of automotive development, including styling and engineering feasibility as well as the engineering and construction of the styling model and the first running prototype, were conducted in Riyadh in parallel to "on the job" training In Turin.
Within 2010 the running prototype will be presented in Riyadh and will signify the completion of the KSU automotive project.
Beyond the academic and technical aspects of the project, the experience provided a good opportunity for co-operation, cultural exchange and the development of new friendships.
The styling requirements given to Studiotorino by King Saud University and outlined in the first meeting in Riyadh on April 7th 2009, were very clear: this new SUV would be classical, contemporary and durable whilst avoiding short lived fashion and would to be based on the chassis and mechanics of the long wheel base Mercedes G-class.
Studiotorino called on the expertise of Peter Arcadipane, an Australian designer of thirty years experience in some of the best known Automotive design studios around the world, cooperating directly in team with the KSU students. Over 50 sketches side view proposals were presented and the academic body began a selection process which led to the final choice in May 2009.
Along side the KSU students and the supervision of teachers from the University, Magna Steyr Italy carried out the development of the digital surfaces used for the construction of the styling model presented at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.
The "environmental graphic study" only for the style sketches comes from the stage offered to Studiotorino by the I.A.A.D. design institute in Turin and their students, in optic of collaboration among schools.
The name "Gazal 1" and the colour green were selected by the university staff for their local significance. Gazal refers to the Arabian Gazelle, a fast, strong and particularly well adapted animal to the region and green being one of the most popular colours amongst Arabian people.