Mahindra Trail Ride


The CJ-3B is definitely the world's Jeep, and nowhere in the world is it enjoyed more than in India, where Mahindra & Mahindra continued to build high hood Jeeps until a few years ago.

Here's a selection of pictures from some offroad trip reports posted on the 4x4 Excursions section of the Team-BHP.com web forum in India. Forum member Deepak, a car collector who loves offroading in his Mahindra CJ-3B, describes several trips near Hyderabad, India in 2009.

With a population of over 4 million, Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh in central India, and the sixth largest city in the country. It's also a hub for high tech industries and for the Telugu language film industry known as "Tollywood" (see Mahindra Jeep Stunts on CJ3B.info.) So there are quite a few smart young Jeep fans interested in rebuilding classic Mahindra flatfenders and taking them into the beautiful countryside.

I've included quotes from Deepak's commentary on the photos, some of which were taken by his friend Shams.

Bharat's early Mahindra CJ-3B with "WILLYS" on the grille, beautifully restored with a military look and plenty of accessories, is followed by Deepak's Mahindra with "JEEP" stamping on the grille, also finished in military style.

Deepak comments, "You have to be careful as most of these trails have rocks and even the speeds at idle in low can end up damaging your undersides. I think on two occasions I misjudged and the CJ-3B diffs got stuck on rocks. I had to reverse and find the right attack line."

"Bharat is simply amazing. He runs a garage and on a Friday I noticed a CJ-5 stripped bare; the body was in pieces being painted. The rolling chassis was ready but everything else still lay in pieces. On Monday the entire Jeep was fully assembled. I was flabbergasted. I can dismantle and reassemble an entire car, but putting it back in two days? And the man does not cut corners. His eye for detailing is faultless."

"Watching the classic Jeep in action you cannot help but admire the vision and technical excellence of its designers who half a century ago designed a masterpiece of an offroader. The axle articulation of Jeeps is simply a delight to watch."

"I had to be extra careful to not smash the footrests on rocks. Shams had suggested I remove these. I told him I had to leave them on as my 80-year-old mum intends to come offroading! The minute I reached home she reprimanded me, saying 'Why didn't you take me along? You know I love the outdoors.'"

On another trip, Deepak's 3B and two other Jeeps: Wadood's Mahindra MM540, and Zakir's sharp Willys CJ-3A which has been rebuilt in 2WD and was unable to get past some of the rocks. Behind the 3B is Abhinav's Suzuki Gypsy, built in India by Maruti.

When the group finds the lake they were looking for, the Gypsy with its snorkel is first in the water, followed soon by the Jeeps. Deepak says, "Now I know what those slats in the side of the body near the floor were meant to do. Efficiently evacuate water as soon as it comes in!"

"The lovely secret lake nestled in the hills amidst a forest. There's something special about this place. Would love to go there and camp for a day or two."

Not long afterwards, Deepak's mother did indeed head out with the boys. He says, "She's been one of the few lady drivers in Hyderabad since the late 40's. She used to drive big Jeep Cherokees when she worked for the USIS."

"That smile on my mother's face speaks volumes about 1) the lunacy of the whole exercise, and 2) her amazing zest in turning every experience into a positive one. I was dreading what the monkeying around would do to her but she simply held on like a rock and no matter what the position of the car she stayed put. Wow! I wonder how many 80-year-olds go offroading in India?"

The next month, a few other Jeeps join Deepak and Bharat as they set out for the trails of the Narapur forest.

Deepak tries to take a shortcut and finds an unexpected rock.

A few other minor problems are easily solved.

Watching is almost as much fun as driving.

Great to see a bunch of high hoods together on the trail. Thanks to Deepak for the photos. The full story with lots more pictures is at the 4x4 Excursions section of the Team-BHP forum in India. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 27 March 2011 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond