The Flat-Pack Truck

The Ox, a flat-pack off-road truck, is the kind of thing that could be a good money-maker in primitive parts of Charted Space… like, say, the Empty Quarter.

The flat, assemble-on-site construction means that you can pack more vehicles in the hold, and the low level of technological knowledge means that the locals can run it themselves. Coupled with the low price, and you can get some decent demand growing: demand that you ship would gladly serve, in return for a reasonable fee to make it worth your while.

I can see certain captains make shipping such goods their own private money tree. Since poor, out-of-the-way worlds are, well, poor and out of the way, it could take quite a while before competing captains figure out why his ship always makes it through the hard times… if they ever figure it out, that is!

From Fox News:

The OX: A flat-pack truck that could change the world

[…or several dozen worlds, in Traveller…]

Meet the Ox, the world’s first flat-pack truck. It’s an all-terrain vehicle that’s been designed by an F1 ace to be low-cost and able to tackle the world’s toughest environments.


The Ox is a multi-purpose truck that can carry 13 people, 1,900kg of cargo and even double up as an ambulance. The aim is noble, to change the lives of millions of people in developing countries.

To save on delivery costs, it arrives in a flat-pack. It takes three people under 12 hours to assemble it with a toolkit of just 40 spanners. If you can handle an IKEA chest of drawers, you should be able to build a truck.


The Ox is packed with great design features. Like the centralized steering wheel, so it works in countries that drive on the left and right.

Or the plywood panels that can be assembled with just one Allen key. Drivers can add engine fluids from the cabin.

The tailgate comes off to form a ramp for heavy cargo. And the rear seats double up as sand ladders in case your vehicle gets stuck.

“It’s the lowest cost off-road vehicle in the world,” said Murray.


It can drive through 75 cm depth of water and has a very wide track to ensure excellent stability on badly rutted roads. It could be air dropped into a disaster zone and assembled on site. “The world cannot afford to make a mess of this,” said Barry Coleman from Riders for Health.


About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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5 Responses to The Flat-Pack Truck

  1. Andrew says:

    A good design for a Traveller style ship-carried truck. David Drake in his ‘Reaches’ series has some starships carrying vehicles like this – bolt together, simple interior fittings, simple diesel/all fuel motor. Something any starship deckhand can piece together.

    What is interesting is that even the real one can be up-armored with Kevlar or UHMD panels (or even metal at a greater weight), creating a cheap armored truck. Replace the cheap glass with clear bullet resistant panels and voila, insta-insertion vehicle, which looks just like any other crappy truck.

    It is a great way to save space in a starship hold (maybe not weight, but definitely volume.)

    This design (folding, self assembly, etc.) would work for both wheeled and tracked vehicles.

    Same for Air-Rafts. Grav platform is a grav platform, but customizable panels for enclosing the passenger/cargo area or stake bed or such. Hmmm. Many ideas (one campaign I was a player in my former marine character had pop-up and bolt-on armor panels added to his air-raft.)

    Curiously, during WWII, the US shipped the Jeep-in-a-Crate. Wheels, windshield , steering wheel, and seats were dismounted and placed in the back area or around it. All packaged, with tools for assembly and the vehicle issued items (pick, shovel, axe, jack and so forth, along with storage bags, rag-top and frame, oil for motor and empty fuel can. After the war you could order them from various Army-Navy stores (ads conveniently located in many magazines) and have the crate shipped to you. Some assembly required, only tool you really needed to begin with was something to open the really nice heavy-duty crate.


  2. Alvin Plummer says:

    I like the idea – and David Drake will always have a certain place in this civvie’s heart!

    (Way, way, wayyy back, it was his fine short story “The Warrior” which vividly drove into my skull that the good guys DON’T always win. A lesson better learnt in fiction first, rather than be first taught in the fires of real life!)

    I love the Jeep -in-the-Crate idea: so sweet!


  3. Andrew says:

    Oh, to be able to buy a boxed-jeep. I sometimes have dreams about helping little old ladies clean out their garages way after their husband died and coming across a strange crate. Is it a box of Garands, maybe a mortar, a Jeep, or Arc-of-the-Covenant?

    Army surplus stores. Hmmm. Wonder what the Imp-Mil does with its leftovers. What type of deals will you find at ‘Admiral Akbar’s Surplus Barn and Museum’? Or what one can get from the local base’s Defense Allocation Office (the place that they get rid of stuff they don’t want to ship back to the Depot.)

    Heck, can you even imagine what a group of scruffy adventurers would do if they found that lost supply base from the 3rd Zod war? Or the section of the current supply base that still has stuff from the 2nd Imperium (or so it seems, or, then again, maybe they are…)


  4. Andrew says:

    Ha, just thought of something about my comment from above.

    One adventurer to another.

    #1. “Hey, I just got this really good deal at Admiral Ackbar’s Surplus Barn and Museum.”

    #2. “What the heck is that?”

    (wait for it)

    #1. “It’s a TRAP!”

    Thank yew, thank yew….


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