I will admit I never imagined writing the words Taliban and Supercar in the same sentence.
But, a few days ago, the Taliban unveiled the prototype of Afghanistan’s first locally developed supercar, manufactured by Kabul-based Entop. Known as the Mada 9, this car comes to us from a war-torn and dirt-poor country whose ruling militia are best known as fanatical religious thugs. That and treating women as third class citizens somewhere behind donkeys.
In any case, the Mada 9 was built by a team of some 30 (male) engineers from Entop and will also apparently be available in an electric variant. The Kabul-based firm plans to sell the new car in Afghanistan initially before taking it global. Taliban’s Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani unveiled the supercar at the Entop headquarters saying that the car will help in proving the commitment of Taliban regime to providing “religion & modern sciences for its people”. Bless his black heart.
The car’s price has not been revealed nor is the vehicle’s performance data or timeframe for mass production – and there are probably a few reasons or that.
To start with, the Mada 9 is merely a mock-up like you will see at a global automotive show where legitimate manufacturers display concept vehicles. These vehicles have engines and can be driven but they are not consumer road registerable and are a long way from being commercially viable. All the manufacturers do this including Ferrari, Aston Martin, McLaren, Lamborghini etc. and those guys know a thing or two about building supercars.
The Mada 9 does have an engine and Head Designer, Ghulam Haidar Shahamat said the engine was “powerful enough” to let the driver increase the car’s speed. Well yes, but only to a limited extent. Powered by a 1.8 litre Toyota Corolla engine, it’s little wonder that the performance figures haven’t been released.
As it is, the Mada 9 consists of a fibreglass body sitting on a ultra-basic tubular frame fitted with off-the-shelf suspension, wheels etc. To turn this into a viable passenger car of any description, never mind a supercar, will take substantial automotive expertise and money I doubt the Taliban can access or be willing to commit.
However, Entop chief executive Muhammad Raza Ahmadi says the Mada 9 is likely to have a name change before global release. He said “I think we should name it a Black Swan so that the historical memory of this nation will never forget that there is still hope no matter what they are going through.” My suggestion would be something we associate more readily with Afghanistan such as Bagram or Kandahar.
Who knows – perhaps a turban-headed Taliban waving an AK47 out the window yelling “Allen’s Snackbar” will appeal to a certain demographic.