The Smati Turtle 1 is an "African concept car" created by Dutch artist/researcher team Melle Smets and Joost van Onna, who worked with the artisinal car-makers of Suame Magazine, Ghana, to create a killer junker for the African market. Suame Magazine is a neighborhood full of people who take apart scrap cars and rebuild them for local markets, removing the difficult-to-maintain electronics, expanding the cargo areas. The Turtle 1 took three months to create, and had its test-drive inaugurated by the Ashanti king.
Our research will explore the benefits and problems of nowadays mobility in West Africa and Europe. This exploration is not about inventing the car of the future but a reflection on contemporary society.
The dream car will be built according to the motto “Let’s make things simple” and satisfied the following criteria:
1. It is built in Suame Magazine, from locally crafted, refurbished and used parts from different brands of (discarded) cars;
2. It is robust and easy to assemble, re-assemble and repair;
3. It is a prototype of a car potentially fit for the African market;
4. It provides the driver and passengers with a superb experience of the landscape when driven;
5. It is built in a time frame of 12 weeks.
Source of inspiration is the Buafo (literal translation: carrying help), a pickup truck prototype developed in the 1970s as part of an effort by the government to create a home-grown car industry.