SIR TORQUIL NORMAN
Torquil Norman studied law and economics at Cambridge and Harvard. He went on to work as a banker for over 10 years (1957-1967), at J.P. Morgan and Company in New York and at Philip Hill, Higginson Erlanger’s in London, followed by a further five years as general manager of Mineral Separation Ltd, a large industrial holding company, with particular responsibility for their smaller companies.
From 1973 he became the chief executive of toy manufacturing company, Berwick Timpo Ltd and, between 1980 and 1996 was executive chairman of the successful Bluebird Toys plc, which during the years from 1980 to 1995 grew from zero to sales of almost £100m.
Torquil Norman has been involved with a wide range of charitable enterprises including the Roundhouse Trust, Airborne Assault, The Fleet Air Arm Museum and the Tavistock Clinic Foundation among others.
In 1986, Torquil and his wife Anne, as parents of five children, founded the Norman Trust, a charity to support children and young people.
After retiring from Bluebird Toys plc, in 1996 he bought the famous old railway engine shed in Camden, the Roundhouse, through the Norman Trust. Over the following 11 years, in addition to its own contribution of over £7million, the Trust raised over £30 million to buy the building and its adjacent car park and refurbish the entire complex as a centre for young people from all backgrounds to work in a wide range of the arts from music and theatre to all modern media
including radio, TV production and other skills.
The Roundhouse Studios have since worked with around 40,000 young people and the Roundhouse main space has become one of London’s most popular centers for entertainment and education.
After retiring from the Roundhouse he devoted two years to writing the well regarded book ‘Kick the Tyres Light the Fires’ about the way Britain was being governed – and should be governed. Since then he has devoted his time to the OX project with Gordon Murray.
PROFESSOR GORDON MURRAY
Professor Gordon Murray CBE is CEO & Technical Director at Gordon Murray Design. Gordon Murray was born in Durban, South Africa in 1946 and gained a Mechanical Engineering Diploma from Natal Technical College.
He designed, built and raced his own sports car (IGM Ford) in the National Class in South Africa during 1967 and 1968.
In 1969 Gordon moved to the UK and joined Brabham Formula One team as technical director, winning two world championships (1981 & 1983) during his 17 years with the team. Gordon joined McLaren Racing as technical director in 1988 and three consecutive championship wins (1988, 1989 & 1990) followed. 1990 saw Gordon move away from Formula One, after 50 Grand Prix wins, to enable him to concentrate his efforts on establishing a new company for the Group – McLaren Cars Ltd.
The Company’s first project, the F1 Road Car is still regarded as the world’s best engineered car. A racing version won two world sports car championships and the Le Mans 24-hour race on its first attempt in 1995. McLaren Cars then completed several other successful projects culminating with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren programme.
Gordon left McLaren in 2005 to set up his new company Gordon Murray Design Limited. The new British company operating from Shalford in Surrey aims to be the world leader in automotive design and reverses the current industry trend for sub-contracting by having a complete in-house capability for design, prototyping and development. The company will remain compact and focused and will undertake automotive and other engineering programmes in an efficient and innovative way.
Between leading the pioneering redevelopment of The Roundhouse venue in North London through his charity, as well as writing a book, Sir Torquil Norman was pondering the world motor industry’s obsession with supplying heavier and more complex cars to a large portion of the world’s population.
Through the foundation of the Global Vehicle Trust (GVT), Torquil Norman pursued his ambition to help people in the developing world by providing cost-effective mobility for communities to undertake crucial daily tasks, such as collect drinking water and transporting grain, fertilizer or building materials.
The GVT briefed world-renowned automotive engineer and designer, Professor Gordon Murray CBE, on a unique humanitarian programme to create a lightweight truck for the developing world.
A COLLABORATION BEGAN…
“The OX design and prototyping programme is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and challenging I have undertaken during my 50 years of car design, including my years in F1!
The added challenge of a flat-packed vehicle design over the already tough targets for cost, durability and weight saving made for a fascinating and stimulating journey from concept to prototype.
The most satisfying elements of the project for me are that the OX will make such a difference to so many people and that it has no competitor in any part of the world. It has been a privilege to work alongside Torquil to make his vision a reality.”
Professor Gordon Murray CBE
CEO & Technical Director,
Gordon Murray Design
PROTOTYPING AND BUILD
The GVT has spent over £3 million bringing the OX to the working prototype stage and it is now seeking active partnerships to take the project through to a production-ready status.
Extensive component selection, benchmarking and testing and was undertaken by the GVT’s partners to ensure that OX will cope with all of the environments that it is likely to be put to work in.
The prototyping stage of the OX development has seen four versions built: XP1, XP2, XP3 and XP4. The latest prototype showcases the evolution of design and the engineering effort that has been put into making the OX a truly ground-breaking vehicle.
A full testing programme has been successfully undertaken throughout the development of the OX, including rigorous durability and reliability trials at the renowned Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, UK and at the IDIADA Test Facility in Catalonia, Spain.