Welcome to My Wheels, Hemant. It’s nice to see your Wrangler being used in its natural habitat...
My dream of getting a Jeep and then completely revamping it was bugging me for a long time. But being an accountant I was listening to the financial advice of my brain rather than my heart, and put the idea in deep freeze. But a few things that happened to me in early 2016 made me realise life is all about enjoying the moment rather than fretting and planning for the future.
So I managed to find this Jeep that was in good condition and had a full service history. I saw and drove it on a Thursday night and bought it the next Saturday morning — and did not sleep the entire weekend!
A bit like a kid with a brand-new toy, we know that feeling very well! What have you had done to it?
I decided to get some exterior mods done first; the faded fenders and bumpers were bedliner-coated and trimmed to accentuate the rugged look, off-road lights were fixed on the roof and bonnet, wheel spacers were added to make the wheels stand out (the 31in stock tyres were replaced with 33in Cooper all-terrain ATS tyres), I installed an additional fuel tank on the driver’s side to enhance the old-world look and fixed a high-lift jack. Then I got an aftermarket front grille with the US military star and fading star stickers for both doors.
And then you started to upgrade the performance, right?
Yes, that was phase two of the restoration; I added Fox Performance shocks, Rubicon Express springs and lift kit, Pro Comp dual steering stabiliser, Banks Ram Cold Air intake, Banks Monster Exhaust and Bully Dog performance chip. The latter has improved the power and torque by 20 to 30 per cent and it’s made off-roading even more exhilarating.
I would like to thank Shibu and all the staff at Best Line Garage who did a wonderful job on my Jeep.
It sounds like it’s a blast to drive now...
With a 3.8-litre Pentastar V6 making 205 horses and 325Nm of torque, it is proving to be a lot of fun indeed. I find myself smiling while driving this. I love the growl of the new exhaust system, the elevated view of the road and the way it sprays sand and mud everywhere when I venture off the beaten track. In fact, it introduced me to desert driving and joining the Desert Raiders club was one of the best things I did. Sure, it doesn’t tick many of the ‘conventional’ boxes such as offering passenger comfort, rear seat leg room, good fuel efficiency, strong acceleration, boot space etc., but if you love a Jeep then none of these things matter.
My wife and five-year-old daughter really adore this little leopard, which I use as my daily drive. I live and work in Sharjah, so thankfully the spend on go-juice is minimal and it always makes me smile when I see people taking selfies with it. It sure does attract a lot of attention.
I guess it is safe to say this Jeep Wrangler gets a few more looks than the first car you ever drove — a Maruti 800 — ever did...
Just a few! I always had to drive that under the strict supervision of my father but when I was 18 he asked me to go alone to buy some things from the market for his business. I felt like a king that day.
The first car I ever owned, and still have today, is a 2008 Mitsubishi Pajero. I love it — it is very practical, with good light off-roading capability. I remember the day I bought it; I took leave from work for the rest of the day, picked my wife up, and drove aimlessly for hours through Dubai!
Finally, what do you dream of owning?
There are quite a few SUVs and trucks that I dream of like the Land Rover Defender 90 SWB, Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution, Ford Raptor and Toyota Tundra. But ultimately, I’d love a Mercedes-AMG G65.
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