Tuned: Sarbloh Motors Extreme off-roader
How much of the original Gypsy remains? “the windshield”, answers Jaskirat Singh Nagra of Sarbloh Motors, the man responsible for crazy 4x4s in the Rain Forest Challenge and on the evo India stand at the past two Auto Expos. Jas’s creations aren’t your run-of-the-mill SUVs with lift kits to bully hatchbacks on the road; these are purpose-built machines to be used in competitions. The vehicle, or SUV, or whatever crazy name you want to call it, begins life as the chassis of a Gypsy, and then almost everything is fabricated in-house, with the suspension, engine and other components varying depending on the requirements of customers. Pictured here is Anish Kharangate’s extreme 4x4. It uses a 1.6-litre G16BB engine from the old Maruti Suzuki Baleno with a cold air intake, custom driveshafts, an upgraded radiator, an Exedy performance clutch plate and a free-flow exhaust. There is also a transfer case reduction gear for crawling up rocks or other extreme obstacles at low speeds. The axles are supplied by RCV and made from an alloy which travel. This rig rides on 16-inch Baja-spec is both strong and light.
The body is made of aluminium panels, fabricated in-house to save weight. The chassis is reinforced and integrated into a tubular space frame, enhancing structural rigidity and has been re-profiled to accommodate the four-way multi-link suspension with heim-joints. Heim-joints allow for greater flexibility as opposed to regular ball-joints. The latter do last longer, which is why OEMs prefer them, but the rubber in the joints can come under stress in tough conditions and tends to fail. On the other hand, these heim-joints are made of chromoly or other high-strength steel alloys, and the ball itself is lined with Teflon to provide lubrication. The heim-joint also allows for both circular and angular rotation. The Profender coilovers are specifically made to take prolonged hours of abuse and offer a massive 12 inches of travel. For reference, the previous-gen Thar had approximately 3-5 inches of suspension travel. This rig rides on 16-inch Baja spec rims, shod on 35/10.5/16 Accelera MT tyres. The steering unit is linked up to West Texas Offroad’s Redneck Ram, which helps take the mechanical strain off the steering gear by using a hydraulic cylinder at the axle which then pushes or pulls the tie-rod. There have also been disc brakes added to the rear, along with a hydraulically powered cutting brake which allows you to independently lock one wheel and drive the other wheel, allowing the vehicle to essentially pivot around one wheel. The brake booster has been upgraded too. There is also a pneumatic system, which controls the differential locks, cutting brake, suspension bump stops and also allows the driver to inflate the tyres.
Safety and recovery equipment includes high performance winches — Comeup Industries at the front and Gigglepin GP 100 at the rear — powered by a 24-volt alternator and supported by dedicated batteries. There is also an external roll cage, a high-lift jack and a ground anchor.
So what does all this translate to? I saw footage of Anish manoeuvring the vehicle around a thick jungle, and its ability took my breath away. It was climbing rocks as tall as the vehicle itself and cutting through the undergrowth like it was a smooth highway. The bonkers articulation allows it to go through trenches which would give tanks a tough time and the competition winch and recovery points on the bumper also allow it to be pulled out, in case it gets stuck. Basically, you can put it onto a flatbed, point towards the horizon and make it there. Regardless of what lies in between — from thick jungles to deep mud, from rocks to near-vertical inclines, this can conquer it all. Most of Jaskirat’s customers use their vehicles for competitive events like the Rain Forest Challenge and the Orange Festival. Anish also planned to take his vehicle to the RFC this year, but the pandemic led to the event being cancelled.
A build like this can cost anywhere from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh, including a lakh for the donor car, all depending on the level of equipment the customer wants. And it takes 5-6 months to complete the build. The Gypsy is the most popular as a base here since they’re ubiquitous and inexpensive, and because some regulations state that the chassis should be from an OEM. These are also completely bespoke so, while Anish’s vehicle has a relatively stock engine, you could choose to have yours tuned. Sarbloh also allows you to kick things up a notch with the 5.7-litre V8 from a Land Cruiser, or the 3-litre engine from a Fortuner. You can pick the kind of tyres you want, costing anywhere from Rs 14,000 to Rs 30,000 depending on the sizes and brands. You could also choose between mechanically or pneumatically-controlled lockers, with the former costing around Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 and the latter about Rs 1 lakh. Winches are another massive cost and the type chosen is dependent on what the vehicle is going to be used for.
A typical build, ready to take on the RFC has two winches, from brands like Comeup and Gigglepin, which cost between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 6 lakh per winch. Sarbloh Motors also makes mighty cool modified Thars, with the most popular being the extensively overhauled ‘Draco’. Jaskirat is looking at the all-new Thar with a keen eye, so if you are planning to pick one up and want to make it even more capable, you know who to call. Just dream of an off-road build and Sarbloh Motors will make it for you!