On the face of it, it looks absolutely unnecessary. Raising the already tall Endeavour by almost a whole foot. Why did TDI racing pull a modification of this towering proportion? The answer is ‘Because they can’.
The Endeavour Thunder belongs to Bangalore based business man Tahzeem Aga- a true blue off roader who owns a Fortuner, a Nissan Patrol and a Gypsy among many other premium cars. He believes that instead of spending a whole lot of money on a premium SUV, it is better to make one to your tastes and requirements for a fraction of the cost. He began the project.
From behind the wheel, I could see the kind of scare and hatred it puts on the faces of other road users. Bikers would run for cover and small hatchbacks would make way for the beast the moment it appears in their rear view mirror. No flashing headlights are needed. Even if you did, they won’t be able to see it, since the Iron Man bumper is already above their roof level. Bangalore bus drivers showed respect for the new giant in town. I even enjoyed the moment when I could see the glass top of an Audi Q7 from this big SUV of towering proportions.
So what is it like to drive? Scary, on narrow streets because you have to consider the extra width and the protruding tyres but on open roads, this one is a blast to drive. TDI racing has remapped the 3.0litre TDCI to produce about 220horses. Which is good, because the huge wheels have added a lot of extra load for the engine. There is a slight bit of hesitation and a mild judder when the clutch engages, despite the use of a dual mass flywheel. The dual mass flywheel in theory eliminates excessive transmission gear rattle, reduces gear shift effort and makes the engine idle smoother. A suitably long prod on the accelerator pedal rewards itself with a burst of torque that defies the bulk of the SUV. Midrange performance is stronger than ever. There is enough poke to keep it cruising easily at 130-140 kmph on the highway.
The wide track provided by the 33X12.5 R15 Yokohama Geolander M/T somewhat compensate for the extra height making it more stable than it looks. A Calmini lift kit has been used to raise the chassis off the ground to accommodate the large wheels. A Safari Snorkel has also been added, and with this high an SUV, it should be sucking air from above the stratosphere.
Take it off road and the Endeavour comes into an element of its own. The large tyres make it more capable on ruts, rocks or anything the terrain can throw at it, while the additional ground clearance ensures that the underbelly always remains unscathed. I was skeptical about traversing side slopes for fear of the SUV toppling down, but Tahzeem was confident not just to climb it, but to let it stay there with inside rear wheel up in the air, for our camera.
Speaking of future mods, Kiran from TDI racing says they are going to raise the body another 3 inches from the chassis. Why? Because they can.