A jeep with six wheels. That's Yellow Fox, automobile enthusiast Julian's latest innovation, designed for treacherous terrain.
Breaking down two MM 540 jeeps, an automobile enthusiast has made a broader and elongated jeep with six wheels. Julian, who was in the news recently for launching a multi-bike club, takes along this whacky machine for recovery work during his club rides. In fact, the necessity of a recovery vehicle was what drew him into this ‘jeep project'.
Since he wanted the recovery vehicle to be out of the ordinary, he rejected obvious options such as installing a trailer. Instead, he went in for two MM 540 jeeps. While one was in good condition and required him to shell out Rs. 1.75 lakh, the other was rundown and came cheap at Rs. 40,000. The challenge was to combine the two and create a jeep never before seen in this part of the world. Julian managed it at the cost of Rs. 3.25 lakh (overall) and after suffering a million mosquito bites (while at work in his garage) in the 11 months it took to complete the ambitious project.
First of all, a new chassis was built to support a multitude of innovations that had been pencilled in. The number of slats in the grille is twice that of a regular MM 540 grille, revealing a major modification under the bonnet. A Bolero engine has superseded the MM 540's famous tractor engine. The replacement was aimed at a smoother and less noisome drive. The new vehicle was also equipped with power steering.
The jeep has been lowered for stability. The six Endeavour tyres stand outside the line of the body, again for more stability. The jeep does not have power in all its six wheels. It is a four-wheel drive with six wheels. Despite the additional heft, the jeep lends itself well to off-roading. A roll cage has been installed for protection on treacherous terrain.
Julian plans to take the jeep, which he calls Yellow Fox, down the coast from Kanyakumari to Goa. He is wary of a few areas along this route where man-made or natural waterways meet the sea, and create deep pockets of water. “This problem is found near every city. Once I am confident of fording these stretches, I will set off on the adventure.”