Many years ago, my brother and I decided to get our hands on two jeeps. These were bought in Tamil Nadu and trucked up to Delhi where we lived at the time and the intention was to restore them to their former glory. After hunting around for a suitable workshop in Delhi-NCR a friend who had just bought a WWII Ford low bonnet pointed us towards Reengus, a small town about 60 kilometres away from Jaipur located in the Sikar district of Rajasthan.
Not that we were expecting to see much, however with the lack of choice and an opportunity to discover something new, we set out in our Innova to check out Reengus. We were not disappointed! The main road that runs through Reengus is littered with jeep workshops – from small to big, you have them all. It almost seems as though every single person in that town is dedicated to one single purpose – that of building and restoring jeeps. Jeep parts, old jeep carcasses and the sound of tinkering are all you get to see and hear and we immediately knew that this was the place to bring our jeeps.
Our journey to Reengus is a delightful story. Out of the two jeeps we had bought, one was a 1991 MM540 and the other was a 1968 CJ. The CJ was totally busted and the Perkins diesel engine that the previous owner had fitted in there wouldn’t crank, however we managed to get the MM540 in decent running condition and with that we decided to tow the CJ all the way from Gurgaon to Reengus – a distance of approximately 250 km. A rather flimsy tow rod was fabricated by us and we set out on this journey that eventually took us 8 hours to complete and after a tedious drive with me sitting in the CJ all the way and trying to control it while my brother pelted down the highway. It was an experience that I haven’t forgotten in a hurry.
Long story short, we managed to make it Reengus and took it to a workshop there run by Vinod Jangir. DM Motors was one of the largest operations in Reengus and Mr. Jangir pointed out that he had massive body stamping machines in the back where he fabricated jeep tubs and his workshop made all sorts of other jeep bits and pieces as well.
This was heaven, and we handed over both jeeps to him to restore. The CJ got a new tub, DM Motors got the engine running and the MM540 got a nice paint job, new wiring and a nice new canvas top. The engine was also worked on to sort out little niggling issues and within a month we had two strikingly good looking jeeps for us to use.
Reengus has left us with many fond memories and being a 4×4 nut and a jeep aficionado myself, I can’t think of a place that truly showcases the love for these machines like this little town does. If you want to get your jeep done at a cost-effective price, this is the place to visit. If you are looking at getting a jeep and don’t know where to start, Reengus should be on that list. However, if you already have a jeep and wish to make a pilgrimage that doesn’t involve driving to Leh, I would suggest you swing by Reengus to witness what ‘Jeep Town’ has to offer before heading out for some nice off-roading in the desert (there are tracks in the Sikar district that are absolutely wonderful and locals can point you in the right direction).
There is so much to discover there and to see an entire town that lives and breathes jeeps is something that will strike a chord with just about any 4×4 enthusiast. Such is the nature of this town that even the top management of Mahindra couldn’t ignore what they contribute to jeep culture and have paid a visit! After all, Reengus is to jeeps what Radiator Springs is to cars in the Disney-Pixar movie. You just won’t be disappointed.