Kathmandu’s Very Own Road Warrior?

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Just as I admired the banana bicycle I encountered on the streets of Kathmandu, not to mention the beautifully elaborate bicycle rickshaws around town, I had to give props to whoever modified what looked like a Bajaj utility auto-rickshaw — or tuktuk — and gave it a “chopper” look.

If I had to guess as to its provenance, I would say it was a three-wheeled Bajaj with a pickup-like bed that broke down — or maybe just wasn’t providing enough horsepower for serious hauling — and was refitted with the steering column, front wheels and engine from a more powerful vehicle.

Judging from the front tractor tires on the homemade hybrid, this vehicle could probably hold its own off-road. (It made me think of a cool and completely impractical custom truck built by a Jeep engineer that I’d read about.)

I’m no engineer, but I did wonder if the chassis would hold up to the stress of major payloads. Yet the driver seemed way less concerned about such details and much more carefree than I might’ve been — and that’s more aligned with spirit of such a curious ride.

Incidentally, I have a term — and a collection of photos — for automotive curiosities: Vehicularity.

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