Yet, on closer inspection, it becomes evident that the Simurgh is no ordinary car among the impressive lineup in Doha. The windshield sealing is uneven, and visitors can’t open the doors since the interiors remain unfinished. However, the most remarkable aspect of this car is its origin: Afghanistan, a country grappling with the challenges posed by the Taliban’s rule over the last two years.
Named after the mythical Persian creature with the head of a dog, the claws of a lion, and the size to carry off an elephant or a whale, Simurgh is the result of a five-year endeavor by a team of 30 people led by Entop’s CEO, Mohammad Reza Ahmadi, who also serves as the chief engineer and designer. This project faced numerous delays due to the pandemic and the collapse of Afghanistan’s economy following the Taliban’s takeover.
While Afghanistan’s treacherous mountain roads typically favor rugged four-wheel drives and SUVs, Ahmadi’s vision was to create something unique. “I want to build something to put my country on the map again,” he stated during an interview in Doha. “The Simurgh represents the heroes and art of Afghanistan. An SUV won’t be the same.”
This supercar, powered by a four-cylinder engine, made its debut late last year. It garnered widespread attention in January when a video of a previous version, then known as Mada9, went viral after being shared by a Taliban spokesperson. The video depicted a crowd of former insurgents admiring the vehicle.
This striking image contrasts sharply with the backdrop of a country facing poverty and one of the world’s harshest human rights situations. The Taliban’s restrictions on women, including bans on education, employment, visiting public parks, using gyms, and traveling long distances without male companions, are well-documented.However, Ahmadi aims to present Simurgh as a symbol of a different side of Afghanistan. Despite the challenges, he and his team managed to bring the car to Doha for its first international exhibition, thanks to crowdfunding efforts that raised $130,000 from more than 45,000 supporters.Entop’s next ambition is to secure €30 million (approximately $49 million) to refine the Simurgh and prepare it for entry into Le Mans, the renowned 24-hour endurance race in France. “We plan to start sales after the Simurgh has been through Le Mans, where it can be tested and prove itself,” Ahmadi revealed.
At the Geneva Motor Show, one of the automotive world’s most prestigious events, Simurgh has captured the attention of onlookers. This sleek supercar, draped in an all-black paint theme, claims to be the brainchild of 30 Afghan engineers and was built within the confines of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. While the car is powered by a four-cylinder engine sourced from a 2000 Toyota Corolla, technical specifications remain undisclosed.
In terms of design, Simurgh boasts sleek LED headlamps flanking a compact front grille, a sharp front splitter, large black alloy wheels, flared fenders, a sculpted side profile with a generous air intake, sleek LED taillights, and a bold rear diffuser. Its swooping roofline adds to its distinctive appeal. The car is also equipped with pushrod suspension. Notably, Entop has outlined plans to potentially equip the Simurgh with an all-electric powertrain in the future. While the car remains in the prototype stage, the manufacturer acknowledges the need for substantial financial backing to transform it into a production model.
As of now, the manufacturer has not specified a timeline for commencing production.