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!

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