S Coming a full circle!
SEVENTY-ONE YEARS AGO MAHINDRA & Mahindra, well Mahindra & Muhammad as it was then called, kicked off its automotive journey with assembly of the Willys CJ-3B, from CKD kits imported from the US. The Civilian Jeep was such an apt vehicle for our country that over the decades various iterations of the CJ – stretched out, with diesel engines, steel bodies, luxuries like disc brakes, air-con and what not – have formed the backbone of not just Mahindra & Mahindra but our country. And last month Mahindra took the CJ back home, launching the Roxor in the US, assembled in Detroit, from CKD kits imported from India. Talk about things coming a full circle!
The Roxor is based on the Thar, which itself is not that far removed from the venerable CJ. Actually it looks almost exactly like the last-of-theline CJ-7 with nearly the same length and just three more inches added to the wheelbase. It is designed to tug at the heart strings, of that there is no question. And it remains true to the CJ roots with a steel body bolted on to a ladder-frame chassis, live axles, leaf springs, no doors, bonnet clamps, classic flat fenders, roll-on soft-top, and with almost similar horsepower as that very first Jeep assembled in India. Even Jeep does not make such an authentic jeep. It is so basic that it doesn’t even have a windscreen. In the US the Roxor is not road legal and will compete with the likes of the Polaris RZR ATV in the recreational side-by-side market – hence the cap in output of the Thar’s diesel engine and a limited 70kmph top speed. But you can order it in a, frankly ridiculous choice of 900 colours. And, as we’ve seen with the Thar, it will embarrass quite a few 4x4s with its go-anywhere capability.
It just shows what great brand custodians we Indians are. What is Royal Enfield doing if not milking their British heritage and harking back to a simpler, slower, less-sophisticated and more laidback era? Look cool and take it easy, bro. The Roxor is exactly in the same mould. America’s heritage (unwittingly) preserved in India and now shipped back to relive the good old days. Only thing left is for Force Motors to take the Gurkha back to Germany and remind them of what the G-Wagen originally was!