Timeless Mahindra: Adil Jal Darukhanawala on the history of the iconic jeep and how it is intertwined with a free India’s

Timeless Mahindra: Adil Jal Darukhanawala on the history of the iconic jeep and how it is intertwined with a free India’s
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Timeless Mahindra: Adil Jal Darukhanawala on the history of the iconic jeep and how it is intertwined with a free India’s

Timeless Mahindra: Adil Jal Darukhanawala on the historical past of the enduring jeep and the way it’s intertwined with a free India’s

The 75-year journey of Mahindra & Mahindra, that began off with the hardy jeep CJ-2A,is traced by Darukhanawala in his new e book.

Throughout his years rising up in Solapur, Adil Jal Darukhanawala remembers a number of household mates visiting them of their respective jeeps. Whereas the elders received chatty indoors, the youngsters had a subject day, hopping out and in of those fascinating automobiles that had no doorways to maintain them out, setting off on their very own make-believe adventures behind the steering wheel.

As he launched into his profession as an vehicle journalist 44 years in the past, there have been numerous events when he but once more gazed spellbound, admiring the wonders of the machine that was being manufactured by Mahindra & Mahindra Restricted (Mahindras) in India. The 75-year journey of the corporate that began off with the hardy Jeep CJ-2A is what Darukhanawala captures within the e book, Timeless Mahindra.

“The jeep is a jack of all trades and grasp of many. There isn’t any different automobile that may do all the issues {that a} jeep can,” Darukhanawala says.

The jeep was lapped up by each sector — from the defence forces and police models to rural transportation providers within the hinterland. All pictures excerpted from ‘Timeless Mahindra’ courtesy Adil Jal Darukhanawala

Willys Jeeps being assembled on the Mahindra & Mahindra plant, 1955.

The origins of the jeep return to World Conflict II, when the US realised the necessity for a sturdy automobile to serve them on the frontline. Willys-Overland turned the first producer, producing 6.4 lakh automobiles between 1941 and 1945. As a part of the Lend Lease programme initiated by the US authorities, the primary of two,000 jeeps arrived within the Indian subcontinent in Rangoon (now Yangon) to play their half within the Burma theatre and have been quickly deployed within the rugged terrain of Northeast India. The flexibility to carve out its personal roads was evident and it was important in securing the area in opposition to the advancing Japanese forces.

“It had a quite simple building and didn’t require a lot funding. That is among the fundamental the reason why it received the warfare,” Darukhanawala says.

A couple of months after the conclusion of the warfare, two gents, KC Mahindra (KC) and Ghulam Malik Mohammed laid the muse of Mahindra & Mohammed Restricted in October 1945. The excess jeeps have been left behind, given the price of transporting them again to the US and so they have been quickly supplied to Indian consumers who might afford them. The Mahindras, nonetheless, determined to start their very own meeting line after collaborating with Willys-Overland.

The necessity for motorised transport was evident, given the circumstances in an unbiased nation. Mahindra & Mahindra began operations in Mazagaon close to the port in Bombay (now Mumbai) and on 3 June 1949, rolled out the primary of the Willys Jeep CJ-2A.

“We had no roads on the time or the cash to make any. The jeep was a quite simple machine and will go anyplace, which made it appropriate for public transport. From the angle of nation constructing, the Mahindras did a whole lot of issues that have been greatest fitted to the post-Independence interval,” he says.

The M&M Kandivali machine store

The marriage baraat of the Prince of Kurwai with the Mahindra Willys MB

The Mahindra & Mahindra chairman drives the ten,000th jeep off the meeting line

As soon as Mohammed shifted base to Pakistan after Partition, the agency was rechristened Mahindra & Mahindra Restricted. Regardless of the rules put in place by the brand new authorities — a cap on the variety of automobiles manufactured every year and the pricing have been simply a few of them — the corporate regarded on the long-term future. They began investing in establishing amenities throughout Bombay, whereas additionally diversifying into tractors and trailers, and different companies.

The CJ-2A made method for the CJ-3A and CJ-3B fashions, the latter being the primary really ‘Indian’ Jeep that was lapped up by each sector — from the defence forces and police models to rural transportation providers within the hinterland.

“What Mahindras did with the fundamental CJ-3B mannequin is totally admirable, given the circumstances on the time in India. And that platform in its essence and make-up has served the corporate so far as 2007-08 with the Mahindra Main,” Darukhanawala says.

Sivaji Ganesan


With the models unfold throughout Bombay proving to be a logistical nightmare, there was a realisation of the need to have one main facility that might deal with all of the wants of the corporate. In 1962, they lastly arrange base throughout 137 acres in Kandivali, which continues to be an essential cog of their manufacturing story even at this time. From 1,175 automobiles in 1953, the manufacturing jumped to 21,660 in three a long time after the market progressively began opening up, with the jeep additionally catering to international markets akin to Africa, the Center East and Southeast Asia. An impending rise in the price of petrol after the 1971 warfare with Pakistan led Mahindras to begin work on their very own diesel engines, which proceed to energy their automobiles even at this time.

“The essential jeep chassis was kind of the identical — it was solely lengthened, widened or shortened in subsequent fashions. The Hurricane engine, transmission and the whole lot from the wheels to the joints remained just about the identical till the ‘90s. So there’s a large ecosystem in place which makes spares nonetheless obtainable, which is why you see them flourishing in rural India even at this time,” he says.

The Mahindra Jeeps continued to play an essential half within the wars fought since Independence. If these exploits weren’t sufficient, it attained cult standing after it featured in Bollywood hits akin to Haqeeqat and Aradhana. Its reliability was additional established after jeeps began dominating automotive rallies within the early ‘80s. There on, its rising legend introduced developed fashions just like the CJ340, the Commander collection, the Armada and the Traditional to city markets. Whereas the Bolero modified the fortunes of Mahindra within the rural setting, the Thar in 2010 birthed a brand new technology of adventurers in cities and cities throughout India — a tribe that continues to develop every day.

Himalayan rally, 1985

Adil in a Mahindra jeep

“Over time, there was extra publicity to international vehicles and bikes within the nation, which led people to aspire to not simply commuters, but additionally off-roaders just like the Thar. Fanatics began craving for extra and a rising crop of expertise throughout the firm began working in direction of making it accessible to them,” Darukhanawala observes.

His e book is dotted with gems akin to how the jeep was christened, detailed insights into the expansion of Mahindra and its favorite child, nostalgic tales from the various wars and rallies, and engaging pictures that reveal the journey of an attested workhorse that continues to blossom amid aficionados. Nevertheless, via all of the years, Darukhanawala has by no means had the chance to personal a jeep. All that’s set to vary within the months forward, on condition that two years in the past he acquired a 1952 CJ-2A that’s at present below restoration, and awaits the supply of the just lately launched Thar subsequent yr.

“Each have their very own charms, one a classic and the opposite a every day runner that gives consolation. I’m just about straddling throughout the lineage — the place it began off and absolutely the trendy model of the identical. However my larger headache within the time forward goes to search out parking area in my driveway,” Darukhanawala says, chuckling.

Timeless Mahindra | 332-page giant format hardbound with mud jacket | Value: Rs 5,400 | Revealed by DJ Media, Pune.

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