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Old 5th April 2005, 22:27   #1
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Default Where have the real 4x4's gone

"`In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men
were REAL men, women were REAL women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were REAL small furry creatures from Aplha Centauri.'"

- Douglas Adams - 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy'

addendum

"And large 4x4's were REAL large 4x4's"
- zaphod



Once in a while , I turn on the telly and flick through the channels , and sometimes on NatGeo or of of the other Science Channels, you see this wonderful sight of a Land Rover Defender or Landcruiser making it's way through the Sahara on some expedition.

Back here in India , we have some decent 4x4's - the Mahindra
MM540/550 series , the Classics (though I've heard that they were pretty unreliable) and the Gypsy - but here I'm not looking for a vehicle to go mudplugging in - I'd love to but where are the places ?

On the other hand , I do love the mountains , my family made a trip in our Armada 4x4 to Kalpa, Chitkul and up as far as Tabo, Sadly that extremely defective vehicle's steering failed and we had a godawful accident ..... I used a walker for 2 months and then a crutch for a year... (Note to self : Please kill the designers and engineers who designed that POS Armada)

Then apart from the twice a year jaunts to Manali or Mcleod , I have only been on one long trip - Delhi-Manali-Keylong-Leh and Back - all the way by the HP/JK RTC buses - cheap and fun - living like a backpacker , Floyd playing on the discman, cream burning slowly in the Rizla, whiskey in the glasses , a starry sky , a landscape out of a fantasy and the mighty river Indus meandering through the rugged mountains.

And now I want to go back , some of us schoolmates are planning a trip this June, but this time I want drive myself - cheaper than renting taxis up in the hills and far more freedom than busing it , and I need a mid sized 4x4 which is reliable, can be fixed easily and is large enough for 6 people and luggage (i'm not talking stuffing people sardine can style in a Qualis).

So before I settled on a Baleno, I looked at our neighbours '87 Landcruiser and an Embassy disposal '94 Patrol but was deterred by the cost and trouble if anything went wrong - especially in the middle of nowhere.

Then comes the Endeavour - Even if we could afford one at the moment , it's still not something you could take on a trip where you live like a stinking hippy, besides the $$$$ factor.

So I keep on wondering , why can't one of the car majors make a mid size 4x4 without the eye candy and fancy stuff - no leather, no stereo, no slick dash's , maybe even no power windows - stripped down interior, everything down to the minimum except the engine and the 4x4 ability - make it available with steel rims, take out the fake wood - whatever.

I want the Indian equivalent of the Defender - basic yet not too shabby.

And priced somewhere around the 7L mark .

So come on Toyota - get a new 4x4 ready on your IMV platform - not a carlike MPV Innova but a proper (and the looks matter , I'm ashamed to say) , rugged looking 4x4 .

Ford - strip down your endeavour or introduce the Ranger KingCab

Mahindra - I don't trust you , I',m sorry

Tata - You can do it - you once showed the Sumo Army 4x4 and it seemed like something I'd like.

The only one I can find which is the nearest to my requirements is the Tempo Trax Judo .... but I want something a tad more reliable .


So where have the proper 4x4's gone ? All we have are some rather dated ones or some rather 'plasticky' which you don't feel like
getting any dirt on.......

As a citizen of a land so vast and with such a varied terrain - I demand my birthright to have a affordable 'expedition class' 4x4 !

......musings of a lonely man wishing for the mountains.

zaphod

Last edited by zaphod : 5th April 2005 at 22:30.
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Old 6th April 2005, 00:04   #2
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Zaphod Beeblebrox.... "They jus dont make em like they made em before" @Kenny Rogers.
I guess in the mountains the most reliable transport for us "carbon based bipedal life forms" is ... our bipeds...

Cheers
Amitoj

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Old 6th April 2005, 01:07   #3
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Don't we all..........

Note from Moderator : Please do not quote entire large messages in your reply

Thanks

Last edited by Dippy : 6th April 2005 at 10:31.
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Old 6th April 2005, 10:22   #4
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You want a real 4x4? Get this:






Quote:
the Classics (though I've heard that they were pretty unreliable)
Kidding me, right? My Classic has done close to 110,000 kms to date with absolutely no engine work (Delvac 1 all the way). Its a 1997 build and is in far better shape (even mechanically) than my 1996 Esteem Vx. The simplicity of design ensures supreme reliability. The only issues are the small niggling ones but even these are not really frequent. This Jeep is my daily driver and spends less than a week off the road (in total) over a years duration.

Quote:
but here I'm not looking for a vehicle to go mudplugging in - I'd love to but where are the places ?
You just have to look for them. I have atleast 15 superb off-roading destinations within a 150 km radius of Bombay. All of these have been found through trial and error. Dont know about Delhi though.

The Endeavour, Sumo 4x4 and similar machines can only dream of the mud-plugging that the Classic and Gypsy are capable off.

Try the Classic, its a mountain goat. But you cant carry more than 4 with you. If you want to move 6 people : your best off-roading bets are in the Gypsy and the Tempo Trax Gurkha 4x4 (with Limited Slip Differentials)

Since you are into 4x4's, here is my Mahindra Classic Review (Mahindra Classic 4x4)

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Old 6th April 2005, 10:40   #5
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GTO,

How did that girl in the second photo get that Jeep to do that? That's like wheeling in a Jeep...
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Old 6th April 2005, 11:01   #6
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What about the Gypsy? I thought a version did have a 4x4 drive. Apart from the typical Maruti tin sheet body work, that is an awesome piece of work.
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Old 6th April 2005, 11:41   #7
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Its every petrol head's dream to own one of each of the following i guess

1. A mean no-nonsense off roader
2. A sleek sexy fast car
3. A small car for city run arounds
4. A nice big luxury sedan to be pampered in

Well might be wrong too. But as far as i know GTO has got the first two. Pretty sure most of them have. I have no:2,3 and so do shan, ice and a lot of other ppl here.

I am trying to buy a CJ second hand. Have asked my dad to present me one for my b'day. Hope to join the ranks of CJ owners soon.
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Old 6th April 2005, 12:01   #8
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Quote:
How did that girl in the second photo get that Jeep to do that?
Is it a girl riding the jeep as well?? But this pillion would have been thrown out of the jeep..
Well we have more Jeep lovers here in Kerala(With the kind of roads, expect it).. Get to see a whole lot of 4x4 classics with some real kool mods..
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Old 6th April 2005, 12:30   #9
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Quote:
Its every petrol head's dream to own one of each of the following i guess
WHAT! No superbike in the garage! tsk tsk tsk...

Well, I have something in-between 3 & 4 and something in-between a bike and a superbike as well! Need to work on number 1 & 2 now!
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Old 6th April 2005, 12:46   #10
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Quote:
WHAT! No superbike in the garage! tsk tsk tsk...
Totally and absolutely

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Old 6th April 2005, 12:59   #11
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Damn, GTO - that looks like fun - are those pics from the Great Escapec? I'd love to own a small 4x4 as well - I'm hope to buy an ex army mm540/550 - but unfortunately there doesnt seem to be any place around delhi where I can take it - bombay would have more places on the outskirts but due to the NCR with developmeant and a heavy pop.pressure there arent many places here - besides not many people here seem to be into 4wheeling.

If i wanted i 4x4 for pure offroading I would get a mahindra (army) or a gypsy (retrofitted with a diesel) - they'd be perfect - cheap, awesome offroad and easy to fix- but here i'm looking for a 4x4 meant for long trips - I guess the Trax is the only one which fits the requirements presently but I'm hoping for some of the other makers introducing newer mid and large 4x4's in a more utilitarian package .

But cheers to you for using a jeep the way god meant them to be.

zaphod
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Old 6th April 2005, 15:28   #12
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The only real 4X4 in my book is the Gypsy King. Had one for about 8 years and cherish every single one of them. The only issue was that you really couldn't put people in the back and go travelling around (unless they're undertrials), cause the rear suspension's a pain. Otherwise the Gypsy can pretty much take the pants off any one of these new so-called 4X4s.

Last edited by Rehaan : 7th April 2005 at 07:28.
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Old 6th April 2005, 15:29   #13
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Interesting review from BS Motoring for the Trax GAMA....

Trax Gama review

Last edited by Samurai : 16th April 2007 at 22:57. Reason: Fixing broken URL
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Old 6th April 2005, 15:42   #14
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Well... I have always dreamed of owning a Mahindra Classic. Was about to buy one.. but wasnt too sure if it was a proper classic or a regular jeep that was made to look like one. Still plan on getting a Classic sometime. The pics make me want one even more. Damn..
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Old 6th April 2005, 16:06   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity
Is it a girl riding the jeep as well??
Damn! you are right. I was thinking left hand drive. It has been 14 months since I am back in India, still once in a while it happens. Like if I turn into a deserted road, I suddenly wonder which side of the road I should drive.

Then I try recalling some busy Indian road by memory and check which side vehicles are driving. You might find it odd, just check with people who often drive in India and abroad. It happens a lot.
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