Friday, January 30, 2009

Indentifying Mahindra Classic

There are so many queries about Jeeps, many folks turn to me asking for information about the Mahindra Classic. In fact many people think the word classic jeep is meant for the older jeeps. But the term Mahindra Classic is itself a product name and here is the information how to recognize a Mahindra Classic for those who wanted to own the precious and the last produced short wheel base Jeep in the world.

As many as people tried to fake the Classic model with Willys CJ3B, M&M CJ3B, M&M CJ340 and M&M CL340 (not a classic) by adding the stuffs to look like a original Mahindra Classic jeep.

  1. Original classics are CL340 DP - Classic 4WD (Not CJ340)
  2. Chassis number of CL340 DP/4WD starts with CL340DPCLS4....
  3. Produced between year 1996 and 2000 (The first batch of CL340 DP/4WD (M&M Classic) rolled out in Q3 1996 and the last batch of CL340 DP/4WD was in Q2 2000, could be used in conjunction with the RC book)
  4. Suspended pedals for gas, break and clutch (Other jeeps will have floor mounted system)
  5. Front wheel got Disc break (I bet no other jeeps got prior to this)
  6. 1996 to 1997 models came with spokes wheels (Wire wheels) and then Alloy 96-99 Models came with spoke wheels, the alloy wheels were an option from 97-98.
  7. Chrome plated 2 piece Front bull bar(actually the bull bar and cover to the bumper are 2 pieces not like the replicas)
  8. Filmsy dash board with colorful indicator lights
  9. Little wider track than CJ340s
  10. Single lever 4WD operations with KMT-90 gearbox (Old jeeps got shafts for 4WD options plus one for normal gears)
  11. Rear seat setup came with forward facing seats like Willys MB or CJ2A
  12. A nicely designed roll over bar with a little bend towards the sky on the center of the middle pipe.
  13. Seat belts on the rollover bar
  14. Idling speed switch on the dash board
  15. Right to left wiper arms
  16. Plastic Rear spacers are bit wider than the MM540 type spacers (one on the read mudguard)
  17. Front rear spacers with a carving for small side indicator (the smallest side indicator than in any jeep)
  18. Originally availed Red, Black, White and Dark Metallic Green colors
  19. Mesh(or insect shield) on the grill without a hole for bonnet knob (available for MM540)
  20. Front tow hook on the right side
  21. Side view mirrors (OVRM) setup from front of windshield with 4 screw mount each side, inside of the 4 wholes in windshield protected with a rectangle metal plate for extra support. (Not seen in any other CJ3B variants)
  22. Extra Plastics for the location between fascia and the bumper with Mahindra written on it and neat plastic cover for the windshield joints.
  23. Company fitted bucket seats
  24. Ignition key on the steering column with steering lock
  25. Lamda free wheeling hubs as seen in the Maruti Gypsy
  26. Center mounted spare wheel brackets on the tail gate (all other Mahindra models to have it on one side of the door)
  27. Three screw sun wiser attachment on the windshield like MM540
  28. Servo assisted break operations (booster break)
  29. The Emergency break or the Parking break on center of body tub between passenger and driver seats.
  30. The air filter inside the engine compartment was fitted on the left side (passenger side) firewall, as to give space for the servo booster of break assembly in the right side (driver side), hence the air filter intake tube in Classic runs over the engine from left to right.
  31. A prominent logo on the sides of bonnet saying “CLASSIC" and 4x4 on both the sides of rear of body tub
  32. The diesel tank got a fancy cap which had 5 distinct circle kind of design and it was made in France
  33. The diesel tank got a fibre cover to hide from under the passenger seat in the interior
  34. Additional plastic corner covers for front and rear bumbers were made available as extra options from manufacturers
  35. The hood (soft top) had a distinct model compare to other Mahindra vehicles, the model was almost as same to the Tiger top brand of USA. It had 2 piece metal frames one is static and one is foldable with 'Y' shape. The top was also came with soft door wich is not rollable (seen in the previous mahindra models), the doors have also got zipper top portion to look like window which could be rolled down.
  36. The headlight of Mahindra Classic also got a grill which is not common in other Jeeps, it was added to the Jeep's face with 3 bolt nuts.

Allow me to take some time to post pictures for each point wherever possible to identify the Classic.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thiruporur - mud drive OTR

It's been some time now to write about a offroad that the Explorer had, though a week back I was in the Jawadhu and did the complete offroad in reverse, I didn't write about it as the blog is already seen many posts on Jawadhu front.
Last weekend We had a small OTR(25 Jan 09), It was in the afternoon which started at about 3 p.m and ended by 8.30 p.m We guys met at sleepy looking hotel in the end of IT corridor a place called hotel Harish in Padur on Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai. After all of us assembled the convoy of Jeeps headed to Thiruporur the same location chosen for the offroad this weekend, it was a new terrain for me but not for the other Jeepers who were with me.We had couple of Jeeps, Gypsies and Mitsubishi L200 as part of the convoy. After a few kilometers of on road drive, we got into the offroad terrain which splits through a village. We drove through a forest which had lots of eucalyptus trees and bushes. The terrain became wet loose soil one and the 4WD was engaged from there on.

It was quite a tough drive and I was following my friend Vinod who stopped few times to click pictures. He had come with his friend's family hence many more pauses to click pictures ;-). Hmmm I could hear my Explorer wanted me to take him ahead of my friend's jeep and finally it happen to that way.
After passing through the water channel and loose mud we got to stop as the there was a canal which is bit deep and too narrow for crossing, so we split into three groups and started searching for other ways to cross the place. This is where the problem happen to me, I was trying to climb a soft and steep mud wall right from the water channel and failed to achieve, hence I wanted move to the other location but got stuck big time.

As said here I had to reverse instead took a challenge of crossing the rut perpendicular with a steep mud wall. god stuck royally. As you can see from the picture below the later maneuvers took the jeep to the edge of the mud wall. bushes made the headway impossible, and the branch of the tree which was on the mud wall damaged my soft top and lost the front parking lights already. I had to roll the windscreen down and remove the top to prevent any further damage. In the process finally with the help of a Gypsy without any additional damaged I came out but couldn't prevent damaging the tail lamps.
During the scene we used Manpower to rescue another gypsy which got stuck where no other vehicle could reverse and position itself. The trail was amazing and it really a feist for our four wheel drive enabled vehicles.
After couple of hours of offroad, we were intend to get out of the trail through a lake bund. By the time my turn came it was already bit late evening and the dawn is out of the sky. I switched on the head lamps and guys shouted at me to switch it off as to save some power. The Explorer is without doubt one of the best performing Short Wheel Base jeep. I faced least problem in clearing the bund though this activity required some tough maneuvering. The bund lead us to crossing the embankment through fields to the main road.
As a whole it was another great Jeeping Weekend, and the week started with restoring the damaged that was caused to my Jeep. By the time when I was writing this blog the jeep is all set ready with new lamp assembly and stitched soft top.