New automotive history book on the Mahindra vehicles by Adil Jal Darukhanawala explores the Indian automaker’s 75-year journey, from the CJ-3B to the Thar
Chronicling a large and rich mass of stories of manufacturing and allied adventures, Adil Jal Darukhanawala’s new book titled “Timeless Mahindra” is now out. Simultaneously a celebration and a memoir of Mahindra & Mahindra’s exploits as one of India’s oldest and strongest automakers, the launch of the book also coincides with the company’s 75th year, and the commercial launch of the new-gen Thar off-road vehicle – a spiritual descendant of the classic post-war CJ-3B jeep, M&M’s first vehicle.
“Timeless Mahindra” begins with the World War II design and engineering efforts that led to the making of the Willys Jeep, as a tool for empowering soldiers travelling far and wide to fight. Somewhere soon after, the story lands in India along with the first CJ-3As assembled for the Army by M&M. It then narrates the history of the company, 25 years at a time, delving into the unique challenges of each era, and how M&M managed to float through them, when many others sunk. In these chapters, we find the hurdles created by the powers that be in the way of engineering and enterprise, of global events that made an Indian automaker correct its course; and finally, the bloom of new India that transformed M&M into a global-level car maker – with a strong focus on alliances and learning, but also its own new way of making vehicles in India, for the world.
However, the twists and turns in the history of the company are only a part of the story. Powering the firm was all of India – from its Army to its cinema industry, from its villages to its cities, from the north to the south. For making vehicles that literally put a fledgling nation on wheels, M&M enjoys an enviable position in the culture and the collective consciousness of the country. Dedicated chapters exploring each of these aspects, including a special one of the most passionate of Mahindra Jeep collectors from all over the country, are featured in this comprehensive book.
The four-wheel drive abilities that the CJ-3B and its successors were born with also created a grass-roots adventure, off-roading and motorsport culture homegrown in India, which was given a huge boost by the original Thar in 2010. While the new Thar will take this game ahead, the book takes this moment to celebrate the true revolution in competitive rallying and off-roading that was brought about by Mahindra vehicles, in special chapters of their own. With off-road motorsport now more popular than ever in India, the book also looks at the organisations and enthusiast clubs dabbling into 4×4 activities – a majority of which are still powered by Mahindra vehicles. Non-competitive outdoor and adventure activities created by the Mahindra Adventure initiative for its customers also find their own place in the book.
The publication is laden with statistics and information, including graphics on the evolution of Mahindra vehicles, and historic car sales figures from the India of yore. Car nuts will be delighted by the special 82-page section at the back of the book dedicated to informational tidbits, specification sheets and accurate, to-scale graphics of over 40 classic and modern vehicles made by M&M through its 75 years. These include Army vehicles, those built for public services and utilities, extended wheelbase people-carriers, compact and snazzy open-wheel off-roaders, and finally world-class monocoque vehicles of the modern era that may compete with some of the best in the world.
The book comes as a result of meticulous research and experience of four decades by one of the doyens of Indian automotive journalism, Adil Jal Darukhanawala, a legend in his own right. It is studded with story-gems gleaned from dozens of one-on-one interviews with M&M decision makers, Army veterans, collectors, modifiers and off-roading enthusiasts from all over the country. It recognises and lauds the love put in by these individuals over the decades, which has made M&M into the global powerhouse it is today. Illustrated with close to 700 impactful photographs pulled from obscure sources plus many from his own personal archive, this 332-page book will please not just fans of the Mahindra brand, but also readers interested in the tough but smart journey of industry and manufacturing in independent India. Do be warned though that once you open this book it will mean forgetting everything else, so riveting it is in its turnout, content and visual delight.
Priced at Rs 5400.00 (inclusive of delivery)