Cars from the South: Turtle-1 and Gurgel

In the world as we know it, cars are designed and often manufactured in the Northern hemisphere. European automobiles are typically used for about a decade or two, and then commence a second life time of usually several decades in Africa. The opposite, however, also seems to be possible. Tijs van Boomen will present Turtle-1 on September 26 in Paradiso, Amsterdam. He describes how artists Melle Smets and Joost van Onna worked in an open air car workshop in Ghana, drew up plans for a new car and assembled it, from existing second-hand parts, in 6 weeks time.


That the developing world is able to make cars that are actually way cooler and more sustainable than our ‘normal’ manufacturers, was already proven in the 1970s, in Brazil. The ultra-light Gurgel series featured fibreglass body work, a VW Beetle chassis and an edgy design. Production stopped before the end of the millennium, but some examples can still be seen in the streets, like the G15 above.

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