Running without a pause

Vintage pride

Running without a pause

Travel industry professional Joseph K Jose and his wife Devi, a homemaker, call their 1958 model of Willys Jeep — ‘CJ-3B’, their prized possession. They drive around in the jeep not only on the City roads with heavy traffic but also in mud, slush, rocky terrain, dirt tracks, hillocks and sand. They say it is the sturdiness of the vehicle and its capacity to negotiate any terrain that impressed them.  

The couple has fondly christened their jeep as ‘Apache’. But why ‘Apache’? Joseph hastens to explain, “‘Apache’ literally means a native Red Indian with a free spirit to roam and this symbolises and summarises my spirit to travel.”  

Joseph’s fascination for jeeps goes back to his childhood. He believes it was an extension of his desire to spend time in nature’s lap that prodded him to buy the jeep. He considers himself lucky to have found the perfect match in ‘Apache’ with all its papers in order. Joseph bought it from a man who wanted to sell it to someone who was just as passionate about the jeep as he was. “But I had to wait for two decades to find the perfect one and I must say the handsome ‘Apache’ is a superb off-roader with a four-wheel drive and an original Hurricane engine,” Joseph elaborates.

The family, especially Joseph, shares a deep bond with the jeep. And it’s not about speed, it’s about the different driving techniques and options available in the jeep. “Jeeping is an addiction. It is not about speed but about the driving techniques. Just looking at the machine and its smell gives me a high. I’ve been on a few off-roading sessions with fellow jeepers and it is a great feeling to learn new driving techniques on different terrains from senior jeepers,” he says.  

Joseph jokingly states that the jeep is perfectly suited for Bengaluru’s roads, pockmarked with potholes. “Incidentally, this is one of the few jeeps with a petrol engine that’s still around. When I bought it six years ago, it used to run three kilometres per litre. Now, after working with an equally passionate mechanic, it gives me eight to nine kilometres per litre. It was completely rebuilt in Shivamogga,” explains Joseph, who takes the jeep to office every Saturday.

The secret to keep any grand old vehicle in perfect running condition is to take it for a spin at least once a week. So Sundays are reserved for family outings in the jeep. Joseph’s sons — Aryan, 10, and Rayan, 8, share their father’s love for the jeep. “Our sons can’t wait to turn 18 to start driving the jeep,” he adds.

Joseph knows the jeep like the back of his hand and can spot even the slightest difference in its working. “Getting the right parts and the mechanic’s free time is always an issue. My sturdy Willys has never had a flat tyre or stopped in the middle of the road even once,” he says.

And it’s not just the family that is fascinated with the jeep but the vehicle is also a hit with the people living in Joseph’s apartment complex.  “Once in a while, I take my apartment complex kids out in the jeep to drink ‘chai’,” he adds.

Driving the jeep is no easy thing, concedes Joseph. “My friends have tried driving it but it takes a while to adjust to the left-hand drive. So, after they’ve driven it for a few minutes, they give it back to me and prefer to just sit back and enjoy the attention showered on the jeep by fellow road users,” he says.

Ask Joseph if he will ever sell his jeep and he proclaims that there’s no way he will trade his prized possession for anything, come what may.

(Joseph can be reached on joseph.jose@gmail.com)

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry