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Old 11th December 2012, 19:33   #1
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Default Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story.

Buying Experience:

Choice of color:

For most of the evaluation period, I was quite sure I would go for either Mist Silver or Rocky Beige. Toreador Red was actually my last preference. It's only in the last few days when I happened to overhear an animated conversation about did-you-check-out-the-new-red-thar that I changed my mind and decided to go for Red. Perhaps Beige or Silver would have been a better choice in case I was planning a lot of OTR's or Jungle Safari's. But then the more I thought about it - this was probably the closest I would get to a two-seater red convertible


Pre-owned vs. New:

I was quite keen on buying a pre-owned Thar considering the fact that I intended to spend about 2L+ on mods, and there were quite a few good specimens available in the market. Only problem was that (due to demand and supply disparity) they were being sold at quite premium. Was not really making sense to buy 1.5 year old 14,000 kms driven Thar that was only 1-1.25 Lakh cheaper than a new one.

Dealer & Test Drive Experience :

My first call was to Bhasin Motors, and I spoke to some senior guy in Sales. Basically, they did not have a Test-drive vehicle so I then turned to Koncept Motors. From that day till the day I called them again (2 days giving down-payment to Koncept), no one from Bhasin Motors called me again - although they had my name and cell no. with them.

In my first call to them, Koncept Motors promised me a Test Drive but did not send a vehicle on the committed day/ time. Once I made a call to their Sales Head - they were quite prompt and sent a vehicle to my place - I did two test drives, spread over a two week period. The objective of the first one was to familiarize myself with the vehicle - since I intended to buy a pre-owned one at that point in time.

First key input here for prospective Thar owners : Do NOT judge the Thar by your Test Drive. In stock form, unless you are really passionate about the looks and its off-roading ability, you will end up hating it, or at least will be left with a strongly negative opinion (deservedly). In fact, only after I did one or two test drives in basic modded vehicles (tires and seats upgraded) did I finally decide to go with a Thar because those used vehicles helped me conceptualize their potential.

Second key input. The Thar engine smoothens out after the first 1000 kms. I personally was not aware that these things are still applicable to modern day vehicles but yes, my vehicle at 1500 kms on the odometer is much much smoother than the day I bought it.

Anyhow, back to the dealer story. Two days before making cheque payment to Koncept, I called Bhasin Motors for an alternate quote. They did not give me a better price, but this time did an aggressive 2-day follow up.

Once I gave an advance to Koncept Motors, my loan clearance took time because of which I could not take delivery for about a week. Within that week prices went up! But as I had made payment against a vehicle already in stock (and not in transit or yet to be dispatched) I was able to close the deal at old price. It helped me negotiate the closure since Shri Durga (a third dealer for Mahindra) had given me in writing that they were still ready to sell the Thar to me at older price since they had it in stock. Koncept Motors did not want to lose the deal to Shri Durga. Bhasin Motors on the other hand, had a vehicle in stock but were not ready to sell it at old price. To this date, I am amused by their indifference to the sale. Although, by that time they had already lost the deal.

Delivery, etc. was quite smooth. An interesting sight I cannot forget - the dealership washing the interiors of my Thar with a water hose. Afterall, it is a Jeep - 20 mins and all the water had drained. Lack of carpeting helped.

Nothing else noteworthy to mention. Overall, Koncept Mahindra us highly recommended.

I bought head and tail lamp grille, centre console, and SA roll bar as accessories from the dealership. Extremely overpriced but good quality stuff.

Summary
I bought my Red Thar CRDe 4x4 in the last week of October 2012. At an ex-showroom price of 6.9 Lakhs, it was just short of 8 Lakhs on road.

The Thar:

Its funny how you meet people, discuss the Thar, and they have happened to capture the fine nuances of the Thar in a casual Test drive/ observation. That is when you know they have read the Thar review on TBHP. That is how comprehensive it is.

A sincere note of thanks to Khan_Sultan and Tejas@periompl for the baap of all reviews here > http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...ve-review.html (Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review)

Special thanks to Rajith for his offline support.

Also to everyone whose thread I closely watched but may not have interacted on (DKG,Amolpol, etc.) before going ahead. A few of them are below ..
Disclaimer to my Review

I have very poor knowledge about Jeeps, or Mahindra's. Apart from the Thar, I have never driven any other Jeep, or any other Mahindra, or even a Tata vehicle. I have never gone offroading, and the only time I drove a gypsy was something I rented in Goa. The only SUV I have really driven is the ML that we own.

But then like they say, a Jeep is not an SUV. And an SUV is not a Jeep.

However, in order to add value to the readers of this forum, I have done the best I can, by stacking up my opinion next to those on the official review. And there are quite a few difference of opinions, which may make for an interesting read.

HERE WE GO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
What you'll like:

• Retro Jeep styling. Butch design & image
• Solid combination of engine, gearbox & chassis
• Oodles of power & torque for effortless highway cruising
• Nippy power steering & zero turbo-lag make light work of driving in the city
• Comfortable ride quality. Stays compliant even on bad roads & jungle trails
• Manual 4x4 shift. Offroad competency will exceed needs of most owners
• A Jeep with warranty, parts & labour support from authorised service stations
Plus,
1. Engine immobilizer and AC now come factory fitted.
2. An absolutely awesome base vehicle to modify.

The ride is definitely NOT comfortable with the stock rear leaf-spring suspension. An hour plus, even on nice city roads, and rear passengers are likely to vomit. The little undulations on smooth roads that one didn't know exist, those will really throw the passengers around - and all the while they would be trying not to hit the roof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
What you won't:

• Cheap, appalling interior quality. Fit, finish and rough edges are a let down
• Absence of air-conditioner & lockable hardtop make the Thar impractical for daily use
• Complicated front IFS has offroad limitations. Expensive to repair if damaged
• Driver ergonomics messed up (pedal position, off-center steering etc.)
• Nervous steering feel over 100 kph
• Limited potential for offroad modifications due to independent front suspension
• Inconsistent M&M service support & understanding of 4x4 Jeeps
The interiors are not great. But honestly, it didn't matter to me. Whatever I didn't like - I changed, or re-upholstered, or upholstered. Now I am quite happy with the interiors. Any better, and it would kind of lose that Jeep charm.

AC is now available factory fitted. But yes, hardtop is a must to reduce vibrations, noise pollution, general dusty Indian weather, and for lockability factor. If you plan to use this like a daily drive or for any practical purpose at all - you will eventually HAVE to go in for a hard-top. So that cost has to be factored in. As of now one has the very efficient (but not good looking) Bimbra hard-top or the one by Performance Auto (which needs body modifications) up here in North India, or the Hyderabad Hard-top down South.

Complicated IFS. I don't know about why it is technically complicated as I am not an offroader, but I do understand that considering my current usage it is unlikely to get damaged and if it does get damaged, atleast M&M will be able to fix it for me. And that is a relief. What I can tell you is this - the IFS keeps my wife happy, and THAT is a BIG thing.

The serious off-roaders can always plonk in a CRDe engine and suspension raise into their fixed Axle MM/CJ's.

Expensive to repair. Perhaps yes. But then nothing about the Thar is Cheap. Except everything, except the price.

About driver seating (including pedal position) are fine for someone my height (around 5'5"). To be honest, I never noticed the off-center steering wheel beyond the first 5 minutes of ownership. But yes, the seats are pathetic. All of them. So I did the best of what I could - changed all the seats.

I cannot comment on the post 100 kmph steering feel too much. Perhaps my tire upgrade (from 235 to 255) has improved things. But I am due to do a Jaipur run shortly - so will be able to share more on highway behavior post this.

Fortunately for me, the Koncept Mahindra guys have done some modification R&D of their own on the Thar, so they were quite knowledgeable and helpful when I went in for my Brake upgrade. More on this later. But yes, I conceptually agree with Khan_Sultan, that this would pose a problem and my example is just an exception to the rule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
The wide-opening doors make for a comfortable entry and exit. Climb into the Thar, and the first thing you notice is the off-center steering wheel that forces you to hold it with your hands slightly toward the left. I liked the feeling of spaciousness in the cabin, as well as the commanding view from the driver’s seat. If you pull the seats all the way back, there is acres of space for both, the driver and the co-passenger
The seating position and view from the driver's seat is absolutely awesome. You will be higher than any other civilian vehicle on the road .. Fortuner, Innova, etc. included.

It is a little bit of a pain to climb in (considering that the OE side-steps were ugly and I threw them away, replaced with side bull-bars.) I typically use the steering wheel to pull myself in, whereas the passengers use the handle on the dash.

You will notice that the passenger side bar is slightly lower than the driver side one. Again, this has been done to keep the wife happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
On the flip side, it's tricky to find a perfect driving position. If you slide the seat behind, you'll be stretching out for the steering wheel & gear lever. If, instead, you slide the seat forward, you will have to uncomfortably bend your knees:

There is no place to rest your left leg while driving. The lack of a dead pedal, curves on the sides of the footwell and an intrusive 4x4 lever are to blame here. You have no option but to uncomfortably rest your foot in front of the clutch. Or ride it!!
Above will not be applicable if you are not tall. Both my feet are quite comfortable with the drive side space situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
Overall interior quality is a BIG letdown. The pictures really don't do justice; you have to experience the Thar in person to realize how cheap they are. The moment you look at the dashboard, you refuse to believe that a manufacturer in today's age will give such shoddy interiors in a lifestyle vehicle. All the enthusiasm & excitement I had after appreciating the Thar from the outside, gives way to disappointment on the inside. It's not just the design that's an issue, but also the pathetic quality of parts used. At 6 lakh rupees ex-showroom, without an air-conditioner & hard top, the Thar isn't cheap. Yet, it's bettered by 3 lakh rupee hatchbacks in terms of interior fit, finish and quality. If ever there is a 'recall' on cheap interiors, the Thar will be on top of the list.

Mahindra needs to get its act together and focus on giving a lifestyle product the quality that it deserves.

The front seats have a long fore-and-aft adjustment range. No legroom issues even for those over 6 ft in height. The cushioning is adequate, though under thigh support is poor. This leads to fatigue of the right leg & foot over long drives. Back rest support is strictly average. Thankfully, the headrests are adjustable for height. The awesomely supportive seats of the erstwhile Mahindra Classic would be well-suited to the Thar:
100% agree with the above. However, there is a lot of scope of improvement. I will be posting pictures of my Jeeps interiors in a few days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
The position of the left indicator stalk takes the cake!
Using this lever has never posed any discomfort in my past 2 months of ownership, and I have reasonably large hands. But yes, it does look kind of uncomfortable in this pic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
Music player console is an obstruction
Not an issue anymore.

I was forced to relocated the Stereo Head Unit once I fitted the Mahindra Centre Console. But the new position is fine as I typically have it connected to the iPod and use the remote for changing volume/ tracks. Pictures will come in a few days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
The glove-box has pathetic build quality. It's held together by a plasticky rivet and pops out at the slightest force. No, its not lockable either
Words cannot do justice to how much I hate the glove box. The rivets keep breaking and so I have to be very careful while opening the glove-box (opening with one hand and supporting the base with other, else all contents fall down) The least they could have done is provide a decent lockable glovebox.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
Lockable toolbox under the passenger seat is welcome
Yes it is. I have got nice foam fitted inside and used it for keeping the HU, keys, etc. when I went to the mall but with the Hard Top now in place, I will be converting it back to a ToolBox.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
gaps & hacksaw-cut plastic parts disappoint. You wonder if these will cut your fingers one day...
Seatbelt roller mechanism is not protected (or closed). Wonder how long it will last with all the dirt, mud and muck from OTRs. Flimsy plastic cover just pops out when the seatbelt is being rolled:
The carpeting, etc. that I have got done has definitely improved things. I will put up some pics soon so that we can figure out whether its possible to fix these issues post purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
The rear seats. One behind the driver is shorter than the other. No ways can they (together) accommodate 5. Best fit is 3 passengers at the rear. I suppose many Thar owners will replace these with a single forward-facing seat:
The protruding springs, from the underside of either seat, are a safety hazard. Be cautious else you will get hurt:
The rear seats are useless -most likely been given to meet 7 seater criteria. Also, the side facing seat behind the passenger seat, prevents the passenger from pushing his seat completely behind. Another reason why these rear seats were quick to be discarded from my vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
Wonder how long the flimsy window roller will last. It takes some effort to roll the windows up. Do this 10 times a day and you are done with your daily quota of exercising:
Replaced with power windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan_Sultan
The roll-over bar's height is below the B pillar and thus, in the event of a roll-over, the vehicle's weight won't come on it. The roll bar is attached to the B pillar with an improvised bracket to prevent vibrations:
This particular roll-over bar costs 12.5K (discounted) as a Mahindra accessory. Quality is not that great. But yes, it fits within the soft-top and the bracket helps reduce vibrations to a large extent.

Last edited by GTO : 25th December 2012 at 13:03. Reason: Adding your review post right below the opening post
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Old 11th December 2012, 19:33   #2
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Default Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

I was happy with the Accord, and life was good. But it all changed when I drove the Mercedes C63 AMG. Man, the exhaust note was insane and the way the red leather seats completely sucked you up – yummy!

In retrospect I am amazed by how quickly I fell out of love with my Accord. I mean it was a nice car, low profile tires, angel-eyes, FFE, and the works – but suddenly it seemed too wannabe. It handled like a ship, had automatic transmission, and wasn’t the fastest or most comfortable car in the garage anyways. So I stopped caring about it as much as I used to (yes, I am guilty of the sin) and never really drove it anymore.

So this was the genesis of my search for another car - I had a modest budget – 15L for a pre-owned car or 20-23L for a new one. I had my sights on a pre-owned Audi A4 3.2L for 17L – but succumbed to parental pressure and had to let it go. They were of the opinion (and I reluctantly agree) that the car should look low key - so Audi’s, BMW’s and Merc’s were ruled out. I quickly realised that an ideal world (in which RWD petrol performance sedans were available under 25L) did not exist so I resigned myself to the fact that diesel was the way to go. But after owning an Accord, the Skoda Laura L&K or even the Superb didn’t seem like much of an upgrade. The Passat was nice – but bland.

This is the part where I mention my problem in life – I just cannot drive a stock car. My OHC and Accord had been suitably modified, but where do I go after the Accord. A performance sedan is something I aspire for, but right now this was way out of my league. Every other car was just too much of a compromise.

Somewhere somehow someone mentioned the Thar. I had seen a few around (and had stopped and stared unabashedly, like every hot-blooded male) – but had never really imagined I would ever buy one.

The threads on TBHP made matters worse. It was evident that I would need to spend major time and money to get the Thar up to par with what I felt it should look and perform like. I just was not ready for that kind of time investment – so out went the Thar – no Thar for me. And next day I read about some gentleman deciding to see the forest instead of the trees – and I liked what he said – so Thar it is again. It was a crazy sine wave for a couple of months.

Anyhow, the one truth that I have realised is that every Thar has a story behind it. This thread is about my Thar, and this is my story. And I am a below average story teller.

I have learnt a lot from this forum, thank you all for helping me take the most illogical and craziest decision of my life. .

I look forward to some good times with the Jeep. For me, this is a start of a whole new journey.

Here is a basic photograph of my Thar. It's not what I hoped my opening pic would be. But perhaps mods will be kind enough to let me add a pic of my choice to this post at a later date.

Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold-dsc_0015-copy-copy.jpg
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Old 11th December 2012, 19:36   #3
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Default List of Mods in 1.5 months / 1700 kms.

  1. Tires replaced with 255/65/16 Yokohama Geolander A/T-S, and 16x8 Alloys
  2. Rear Suspension replaced with Composite Fibre Leaf Springs
  3. Single Diaphragm Brake Booster replaced with Dual Diaphragm Booster derived from Scorpio MHawk
  4. SA Roll Bar connected to Targa Band
  5. Front and side facing rear seats upgraded to those of first and third row respectively, from Toyota Innova. Also, complete floor carpeting and upholstery redone.
  6. Custom fabricated side and rear steps.
  7. Horn upgraded. Power Windows, Central Locking, and Cigarette lighter added. Plus basic Alpine components with Pioneer HU.

Coming up in next 10 days is a removable FRP Hard top from Bimbra.
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Old 11th December 2012, 19:54   #4
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Default A few more pics ..

Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold-dsc_0020-copy.jpg

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Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold-dsc_0022-copy.jpg

Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold-dsc_0033-copy.jpg
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Old 11th December 2012, 20:09   #5
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Default re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

Congrats Manveet!

You have the right idea. Thar is a true lifestyle vehicle. You can continuously modify and make it most suited to your taste. For Offroad usage, it doesn't have significant advantage over old school Jeeps. But on-road it is a beast. You can easily surprise high-end cars on the highway.

I love your seats, it is giving me some ideas.
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Old 12th December 2012, 02:52   #6
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Default Re: List of Mods in 1.5 months / 1700 kms.

That Jeep in red looks astonishing, I for one, wouldn't strain my neck for a passing by Mercedes or Beemer, but the Thar can easily grab my undivided attention. One unique 4*4 where personality talks more than figures and features.

Only the chosen ones enjoy a Jeep, the rest hallucinate in their chauffeur driven S classes and Maybachs.

Please give us a plethora of Travel stories utlizing the monster you have at your disposal, take it to the himalayas as soon as possible.

Also, please find the time to elaborate on the expenses you've incurred while customizing the monster, if you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post
[*] Rear Suspension replaced with Composite Fibre Leaf Springs .
Is it something to do with the torsional strength/flexibility or something else?
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Old 12th December 2012, 05:42   #7
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Wink re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

@manveet : There is bound to be a lot of applause for your ride on the forum mate. It looks absolutely amazing. The tires are eye catching but the rear seats take the cake!!

I hope you must have planned a whole lot of other modifications on your ride apart from the ones you mentioned . Hope you take the beast for a long jaunt pretty soon .

Happy motoring !
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Old 12th December 2012, 07:00   #8
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Default re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

Congrats on your new ride.
The alloys and tyre combo makes your Thar mouth watering. The interiors looks great and purposeful. Please share more pics of your interiors.
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Old 12th December 2012, 09:48   #9
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Default re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

What a Red Hot Thar! Looks even more hot on those wheels. Nice mods too. Do share the details of costings and more detailed pics. Guess the front bumper with guard and winch will come in soon with the kind of mods going on.

This is a novice Q. What is the benefit of the Rear Suspension Composite Fibre Leaf Springs vis-a-vis OEM ones?

Are the rear seats from Innova working out well? Seems like the whole assembly with folding up mechanism is fitted in. The seats are undoubtedly superior on comfort. Hope it does not hamper the seating and one does not bump head against the rooftop. Also, with the hard-top coming in soon, I will think this could be a major factor.
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Old 12th December 2012, 10:16   #10
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Default re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

That is an awesome looking beast. Can you share / PM the total landed cost including all the mods (esp AC/hard top/seats etc).
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Old 12th December 2012, 10:24   #11
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Default re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

Manveet, this is a gorgeous vehicle. Subscribing to this thread so that I can follow all mods.

A request - please do share where you get the mods from. Also, any pictures from the modding process would be droolworthy.

Congratulations on your new ride. It looks awesome.
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Old 12th December 2012, 10:32   #12
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Default re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

Last edited by GTO : 12th December 2012 at 14:20.
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Old 12th December 2012, 10:33   #13
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Default re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

Congrats on the new Thar.

Can you please post more pictures of the interior ? Specially how the rear seats are mounted.

Regards.
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Old 12th December 2012, 10:42   #14
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Default Re: List of Mods in 1.5 months / 1700 kms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post
I was happy with the Accord, and life was good. But it all changed when I drove the Mercedes C63 AMG.
========
Somewhere somehow someone mentioned the Thar. I had seen a few around (and had stopped and stared unabashedly, like every hot-blooded male) – but had never really imagined I would ever buy one.
========
Anyhow, the one truth that I have realised is that every Thar has a story behind it. This thread is about my Thar, and this is my story. And I am a below average story teller.
Wow, from Accord to a THAR. That speaks volumes about the passion you have. Am sure that the Thar will always bring a smile on your face when you drive it. It's a pleasure to drive it in the city.


Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post
  1. ===
  2. Custom fabricated side and rear steps.
    ===
Cool. nice list of mods you have planned. Do share pictures of the side steps you plan. Also, what do you plan to do for the flimsy door openers, pads, etc. Am sure you would have thought of making them look the part as rest of the vehicle.

Again, congrats and wish you many many happy miles on the Thar
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Old 12th December 2012, 11:26   #15
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Default re: Never thought I'd buy a Mahindra Thar! My Jeep Story. EDIT: Now sold

Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post
I am amazed by how quickly I fell out of love with my Accord. It handled like a ship, had automatic transmission, and wasn’t the fastest or most comfortable car in the garage anyways.

So this was the genesis of my search for another car. This is the part where I mention my problem in life. I just cannot drive a stock car. Somewhere somehow someone mentioned the Thar. I had seen a few around (and had stopped and stared unabashedly, like every hot-blooded male) – but had never really imagined I would ever buy one. And next day I read about some gentleman deciding to see the forest instead of the trees – and I liked what he said – so Thar it is again.

I have learnt a lot from this forum, thank you all for helping me take the most illogical and craziest decision of my life. I look forward to some good times with the Jeep. For me, this is a start of a whole new journey.
Dear Manveet - THANKS YAAR! .

You have once again proved that "Thar CRDe can compete with mainstream passenger cars and win"! You have made my underlined statement come true for the "n"th time. Honda Accord? It had to handle like a ship! It looks like a ship even standing still. I look forward to your comments as you progress with your Thar to make it one of the best in the country. The seat color combination looks superb, I wish I could do such things in production. All the best!

By the way, with the tandem booster, the LSPV setting value changes. Please get this information from Rajith in Bangalore, he has done this work on his Thar so he knows the exact value. Rajith - please.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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