A Jeep For 12k! Old Mahindra Ad From 1960 Makes The Internet Compare Its Prices With The Thar

Modified On Mar 21, 2022 05:02 PM By CarDekho

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Going by the inflation rate, the Willys CJ cost in the 60s nearly as much as a new Thar today

While discounts on a new Mahindra Thar are hard to come by these days, 62 years ago you could save a pretty penny on a Mahindra off-roader. A tweet from Anand Mahindra shows a newspaper ad from 1960 when the Willys Jeep cost Rs 12,421. Adjusted for inflation, it amounts to about Rs 10 lakh today. 

Back in the 1960s, Mahindra was assembling the Civilian Jeep (CJ) 3B under license from the American carmaker Kaiser Motors. It had a powerful (for the time) 2.2-litre petrol engine that produced 72PS – more than adequate in a vehicle that weighed 1,018kg and had no roof. The engine was paired with a T90 3-speed manual transmission and powered all four wheels via a Dana transfer case.

Mahindra’s Jeep was popular back in the day, and it was the workhorse of choice for various government departments and the police. According to reports, jeeps accounted for over 20 percent of all passenger car sales. Over 5,200 CJs were sold in 1960 – a volume that the Thar now reaches within a couple of months. 

The new Mahindra Thar is the spiritual successor to the CJ jeeps. In 2010, the first-generation Thar replaced aging CJ-based models that were being put to pasture after over fifty years of production. One look at the specs of both utility vehicles shows that the Thar is more powerful and equally off-road capable: 

Engine specs

Mahindra Thar Petrol

Mahindra Thar Diesel

Jeep CJ-3B Petrol

Engine type

2-litre turbo 

2.2-litre turbo

2.2-litre naturally aspirated 









4x4 system 

Semi-floating live axles, manual shifting transfer case and electronically locking hubs

Semi-floating live axles, manual shifting transfer case and electronically locking hubs

Front and rear solid live axles with manual transfer case  

From the above table, it’s clear that the Thar has a substantial edge over the CJ in terms of power and torque figures. But off-road capability is harder to evaluate. The Thar has to use an electronic system to manage traction, using wheel braking and hub locks for transferring power. But the Jeep’s simpler Dana 44 rear and Dana 25  front axle could split power equally effectively, and the all-mechanical system was tough enough to take on a variety of off-roading conditions. 

It’s for this reason that CJ jeeps are far from dead in India. You can easily find several examples for sale as used vehicles, and many CJ-based models are still in use. In comparison, the Mahindra Thar’s  Rs 13.17 lakh to Rs 15.53 lakh (ex-showroom) price gets you much better interiors than from the 1960s. Times have changed, but closer inspection of a modern jeep makes it clear that they’ve changed for the better.

Read More on : Mahindra Thar on road price

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