DARK AND MISCHIEVOUS
Kalmoohi – pronounced “cull-moo-he”.
The word Kalmoohi is from the Hindi language, meaning “Dark-Faced and Mischievous”.
This 4×4 Mahindra Thar CRDe, the second project build at Image Drivers, is a bit of unique one. Here’s the thing, this is a 6 year old vehicle, bought brand new by Director Nipun Srivastava, way back in 2014. Back then, it was a realization of a childhood dream for Nipun. A military kid at heart, he adored jeeps and still does. Even today, 6 years on, he uses this thing more than any other vehicle in his garage.
As a testament to his immeasurable love for his 4×4, TNT Garage took on this build to help Nipun truly fulfill his dream of kitting out his Thar to the teeth. Check out the video at the start of this post for the full build showcase and scroll on for a brief breakdown of the stuff we’ve mounted on the vehicle.
Off-Road LED Lights: DENALI Electronics D7 and D4 Light Pods.
Horn: DENALI Soundbomb Dual Tone Air Horn.
Winch: WARN ZEON 8000.
Tires: Cooper Tires Discoverer STT Pro.
Wheels: High Quality Imported 8J Steel Rims – 15″.
Hard Top: Bimbra 4×4 FRP V2.
Hood Latches: Mopar.
Spare Wheel Cover: ARMORO.
Door Hinge Steps: PRAD 4×4.
Bumpers: Mahindra Customisation (TNT Garage upgunned).
Rock Sliders: Bimbra 4×4 (TNT Garage upgunned).
Snorkel: Mahindra Customisation (TNT Garage Upgunned).
Custom Mounting Brackets: TNT Garage (@thenirvanateam).
Thermo-Acoustic Damping: DAMPMAT.
Some of the accessories you see in the build video are already mounted on the vehicle as it enters the frame, that is because, we wanted to make sure everything fits the way it should before the final install and shooting of the film. Not to forget, much of the protection like the bumpers, rock sliders and even the snorkel, have been heavily up-gunned to accommodate Nipun’s exacting requirements.
The Machine – A Mahindra Thar CRDe (2014)
This vehicle has been in daily use since early 2015. Indian driving conditions can make mince meat of even the most hardy of motoring machines and their bodywork, so we started by pulling off all the meaty stuff that this 4×4 rolled in with and sent it off to get grit blasted.
At TNT Garage, we’re extremely particular of the quality of tools we use. Be it hand tools or power tools, we only ever use the best that’s at our disposal.
OUR TOOLS – We are very proud of the tools we use and also the way we put them into action.
To us, our tools are worth their weight in gold.
Getting ready for a blast!
We began our build with a need based uninstallation of the bumpers, the winch plate and the rock sliders. Once off, every metal part went forward for a nice grit blast. Taking off all the old powder-coat and gunk that had accumulated since these parts were first put on the vehicle. This was followed by a quick wash of the vehicle, to remove any remnants of dirt that could impede the re-installation of these parts.
With the entire might of a world class fabrication facility at our disposal, we were able to design, test and tweak all the custom bracketing and mounting requirements that were handed over to us by Nipun.
TNT Garage up-gunned!
Here, you can see the front bumper, having been up-gunned with a custom auxiliary driving light mount, is now undergoing final finishing touches at the metal welding and grinding station. Post finishing, the entire front bumper was sent off for our internal quality check, where we compared the actual user requirement vs our fabrication work, we also suggested mild tweaks to the original design so as to further improve user experience and to ease out the install process. A good fabrication job for us not only makes working on the part easy for our team but also makes it a breeze for the end user to DIY mount his or her accessories as and when they please.
A huge part of this project was the installation of premium auxiliary LED lights from DENALI Electronics. With the help of their DENALI Automotive Wiring Harness Kits, we were able to wire in both the DENALI D7 and the DENALI D4 off-road Driving lights.
Making the journey from the actual Light Pod, all the way into the engine bay, through the firewall, into the cabin and finally into our custom made electronic switching module was made easy thanks to the DENALI wiring kits, although this takes a fair bit of finesse to get right on a vehicle such as the OG Mahindra Thar.
At this stage, we also created customized wiring for the DENALI Soundbomb Horn that was to be fitted also.
While we had the wiring being taken care of, all the metal was out getting powder coated.
Bearing gifts, comes the forklift!
As the parts arrived, all wrapped up like Christmas presents, the team got to work checking each part for the final finish, before these went back onto the vehicle. A time consuming, yet critical process here, at TNT Garage. Attention to detail is the name of the game.
Finally, with the parts clearing QC, we started the process of mounting things, front to back.
TNTG Up-Gunned front winch bumper goes on.
Starting with the winch-plate, now marked and drilled to accept the forthcoming winch install, the front bumper went on the vehicle. We have also created customized chassis braces for this bumper to further secure it onto the frame, making sure that the original chassis needed zero mods to accept our bracing additions.
The WARN Zeon 8 was one of the major add-ons to this vehicle.
WARN ZEON 8 Premium Winch.
The simplicity with which WARN winches go on and the pace at which a trained tech can wire in these massive pieces of kit surprises us every time! Here, we had pre-marked and drilled the winch-plate and front bumper to accept the ZEON 8, the Fairlead and the Steel Cable and Hook.
Then came the Rocksliders, Nipun swears by these hefty metal sliders on his Thar. They have already saved him a bunch of money on bodywork thanks to their design. Needless to say, they needed a fair bit of cleaning up, tinkering and powdercoat before they could go back onto the vehicle.
Rocksliders. Sliding on to the flanks!
With all the meaty metal back on the vehicle, it was now time to mount the shiny bits. First up, came the DENALI D7 Light Pods with DataDim Technology.
These DENALI D7s pack over 15000 lumens in their nifty and hardy 4.5 inch housings and feel the part too. One can get them with amber or selective yellow lenses as well and DENALI also offers smart looking and snug fitting covers for them!
DENALI D7 LED Light Pods with DataDim Technology.
With the D7 Light Pods mounted and wired in tight, we then picked up the aggressive DENALI D4 Combination Beam LED Lights. Close to 9000 lumens and absolutely mad performance on the D4 makes it an ideal add on for 4x4s or even for motorcycles!
Nipun loves the DENALI D4s so much, he has them mounted on his BMW R1250GS as well! Check out the BMW story here: THE SWASHBUCKLER.
DENALI D4 LED Light Pods.
As the D4s sport a combination Flood/Spot beam pattern and have a wider light throw, Nipun chose to mount these pods just off the windscreen, so as to give him maximum visibility on the flanks of the vehicle while still illuminating the front. With the DataDim Module also installed, the D4 pods would make for excellent DRLs too!
We customized windscreen light brackets for the D4 Lights install and also brought in a longer set of bolts as the stock bolts could not accommodate the thickness of the windscreen light bracket. This bracket also needed to keep the light pod clear of the Snorkel, installed on the right side of the vehicle.
DENALI SoundBomb Horn.
In close succession to the LED Lights, we mounted the DENALI SoundBomb Horn as a secondary option on this 4×4. The vehicle still retains its OEM horns for road use and has this new DENALI horn wired onto a completely new circuit with mounts that we customized for it.
Also mounted on the vehicle are the PRAD4x4 Door Hinge Steps.
These help with accessing the roof for routine maintenance or to access the roof rack or tent, if mounted.
DOOR HINGE STEPS
Tastefully built, yet super functional and easy to maintain, even if caked in mud, these nifty steps bolt onto the door hinges and are super simple install!
Flip them open and just climb on.
WHEELS AND TIRES
The Kalmoohi runs on 31″ Cooper Discoverer STT Pro Mud Terrain Tires, mounted on 15 inch 8J Steel Rims. These particular tires have been chosen as they do not need the vehicle geometry to be changed in any way. This 4×4 has no lift and runs a completely stock suspension setup. Something that may or may not be upgraded in the future as it works very well as is!
Cooper Discoverer STT Pro Tires – 8J Steel Wheels 15″.
With this wheel and tire setup, it is dead easy for the driver to swap out the up-gunned wheels and replace them with the stock wheels and tires in a matter of minutes. Nipun aims to maintain a set of 5 stock wheels and tires to use on the regular.
The Mahindra Thar CRDe comes stock with a soft top. Functional but super floppy and zero on cabin security and comfort. The Kalmoohi has a purpose built Bimbra4x4 V2 Fiber Reinforced Plastic Hard Top Mounted. This takes care of everything from the beating of the Sun to the pouring of the rain, while keeping the insides safer and relatively more secure.
FRP Hard Top & ARMORO Spare Wheel Cover.
This 4×4 also uses the ARMORO Canvas Spare Wheel Cover with the words ‘Lex Talionis’ printed on the back. Words to live by we think, words to live by.
Finally then, with all the work complete (for this session), it was time for the Kalmoohi to roll out into the night!
As Nipun Srivastava succinctly puts it,
“Like a proverbial machete in the hands of a tribal hunter, these beams have helped me chase my freedom. Cutting through dark nights and setting me apart when the sun is in the eye, every time I exercise my independence, my lights have been my foremost weapon.”,
it pretty much sums up what all these builds are about.
Out into the unknown!
Heading out into the unknown, chasing dreams that seem unreal, doing things that are considered impossible.
That’s what this attitude is all about, this attitude that makes people go out and catch the proverbial bull by the horns.
Our salute to them. Kudos!
PROJECT KALMOOHI – Going off-road soon!
Here’s also to our team at TNT Garage that built and showcased the Kalmoohi Mahindra Thar 4×4.
Stay tuned to our channels for the next chapter in this evolution where we take this beast of a truck off road and show you how it actually comes alive!
CHECK OUT THE FULL BUILD FILM BELOW
Contact TNT Garage to kit out your dream adventure machine!
CALL – +91 7028122708
Lex Talionis! – A long term update on the Mahindra Thar!
We’ve spent an adventurous four years with this mean and mod-friendly machine! So before we let you through to our original story on the Thar, here’s a quick look at the major modifications on our daily driver!
Mahindra Customisation: Snorkel, Midnight Edition Front and Rear Bumpers: Inspire confidence while fording and enhance maneuverability / aesthetics.
Bimbra 4×4: Heavy Duty Rock Sliders, Fiber reinforced Hard Top (V2), Aluminum Roof Rails: Protection from rocks underneath and the Hard Top takes cabin comfort and security to the next level.
Hella: Front Auxiliary Halogen Lamps (Comet 500 Black Magic): Used as DRLs and driving aid.
Onella: Rear Auxiliary LED Lamps: Rear driving aid and campsite illumination.
Aurora LED: Front LED Bar (Off-Road): Off-road path-finding.
Cooper Tires: Discoverer STT Pro 31″ Mud Terrain Tires on 15″ Steel Wheels: Improved off-road capability, increased stability on road, the trade off – an audible ‘humm’ while at speed, reduced top end.
Mopar: Wrangler Hood Latches: Aesthetics primarily, eliminates squeaky noises made by stock metal bonnet Latches.
DampMat: Thermo-Acoustic Insulation: Reduced cabin noise and heat by 50%. Improved life inside cabin (and air-con efficiency) immensely.
ARMORO: Custom Spare Wheel Cover: Adds attitude and improves overall aesthetics, protects spare rubber from elements.
Built not Bought!
Each modification/add-on mentioned above has been made after careful research and due scrutiny of each available option in the category. The custom accessories market in India is steadily growing and so are the options that are natively available for enthusiasts to use on their individual rigs.
Now, back to our original story on the Mahindra Thar!
The Jeep Life!
Those who follow our work will know we did a quick review of the Mahindra Thar some time ago. The Thar is an SUV which carries the tag of a Jeep in India. People who drive these brutes are often from a different school of thought altogether. These men and women, like most, value comfort, style, ease of handling and most of all practicality. With all these in the bag though, there is still something missing. The chase for this missing element is what makes people buy a Jeep.
A jeep is not practical, it isn’t comfortable, the handling on these machines is appalling and as for styling – it hasn’t changed for the last 7 decades. So then, what is it? What makes one buy a Jeep? Nirvana set out to unravel this mystery in the best way there is!
We cleared our schedule, packed up as much stuff as we could, stuffed it into a Mahindra Thar and then drove off in tandem with the rising Sun. For the first few kilometers, we battled the blistering cold as the Thar warmed up. The cabin heater takes its own time to wake up and the canvas-ish soft top roof was not helping things either. Eventually though we did find some semblance of temperature inside the cabin. The drive had now begun. We were now officially giving chase to the element, that one thing which makes one go out and buy a jeep.
Barreling through the cold morning winds, we’d defog the windscreen manually (with a cloth) every few minutes. Irritating at first, it is something a Jeeper gets used to very quickly. Much like the bumpy ride one has to deal with even on smooth highway roads. The rear end of the Thar sits on an antique leaf spring suspension setup making it jump over every little lump of tar on the Indian road. Safe to say, the ride is not something to write home about. Even with the fully independent pot hole eating front suspension, there is only so much this Jeep can offer.
Highway Crusin’ – Indside Story!
The 2.5 Litre turbo-diesel does tend to impress when given the beans on the highway. Sluggish at first but given time, the Thar holds its own on the highway. For what is essentially a box on wheels, the Mahindra Thar is a gem on smooth straight roads. On mountain roads however, curve after curve, one has to calibrate to the comfort zone of this Jeep. The driver learns to read the road for potential bumps and it’s his/her skill which decides how smooth or unnerving the ride will be.
Barring a rudimentary seat-belt, there is nothing between the passenger/pedestrian and certain loss of limb. Oh, maybe the less than adequate brakes might soften the nudge a little. And then there is the price tag; eight and a half lakhs on the road (Pune). Phew! So where does all that money go? Clearly the interiors (or the lack of them) is not something which eats up the budget.
As we found out, the Borg&Warner 4×4 transfer case mated to the 2.5 turbo is where the money’s at. It is the off-road capability of this Jeep that costs. Off-road loyalists in India will probably want to discount the Thar’s ability when things get a little too technical (Compared to a traditional solid-axle). Not to say this jeep is bad when taken off the road. We found the stock Thar to be adequately endowed for someone looking to break into the world of Indian jeeping. Having said that, we were still miles away from discovering the magic element (and our destination!).
I can go anywhere!
We had driven a few hundred kilometers by now. Over highways and in the curves, we’d found our rhythm with the Thar; then something funny happened.
As we got used to the Thar’s antics, she took on an almost endearing personality. Like a human being, even with all its limitations, the Thar kept moving. Eating miles and sipping diesel, she got us to our destination – Our holy grail – Hedvi.
Holy grail – Hedvi!
Despite all the niggles, we had fallen for the Mahindra Thar! Every time we looked, we couldn’t take our eyes off it! On a beach, out trailblazing in the wilderness or even on the city street, the Thar cuts a very crisp figure. And gosh is it attractive! Driving down the streets, everyone from young boys and girls to middle aged couples and even a few Army and Police personnel will give you the thumbs up.
The Thar almost always becomes the conversation piece because truth is, the Jeep (as a concept) has seen it all. Over the past century, in all corners of the world and in every walk of life this vehicle in all its forms has proven its mettle beyond doubt. Starting from the military, through utility and going all the way till recreation, the Jeep can do everything.
The compromise in comfort and luxury, we feel, is fair in return for the capabilities and downright uniqueness. Safety on the other hand is something Mahindra & Mahindra still need to work on for the Thar.
Finally though we’d cracked it; we now knew why one buys a jeep. Read on.
Travel till land’s end!
Romance is rare, charm is even rarer and class, well that’s almost extinct. There is a reason why a charming, secure and confident man makes any woman swoon. The reason is romance. Any man who is secure in himself and confident about his abilities probably knows how to woo a woman. He could walk onto her turf with his charm and the only thing a lady will do is welcome him. No matter how uncomfortable it is to be together, no matter how unpractical the love is and regardless of the cost, if the romance is alive – the love will flourish.
And that is it ladies and gentlemen. The romance of a lifestyle is what attracts enthusiasts to jeeps like bees to honey. It’s the romance of doing things differently, standing unaffected by the way the ‘herd’ looks at living and going where few bother to look which sets true blue Jeepers apart. Living with a Jeep is not for those corrupted by comfort!
The virile lifestyle!
Comfort zones become a thing of the past with a jeep. A well kitted out vehicle and with a strong skill set on tap, anyone can become an explorer. In fact, we love the romance of Jeeping so much, we’ve bought one! The vehicle you see in the pictures is a bone stock* Mahindra Thar from our very own Nirvana stable!
Expect a lot more travel and Jeeping stories hereon out! Also, in our bid to encourage motoring conversations further, we’d like you to comment below and tell us what you think. We’d love to know how our readers satisfy their cravings for the road! Cheers!