Anand Mahindra was impressed with Sunil’s Scorpio auto, and wanted to put it on display at the Mahindra museum.

A photo of his jazzed-up auto caught Anand Mahindras eye and this Kerala man got a minivan in return
news Innovation Friday, May 05, 2017 - 17:39

For years, T Sunil was just an autorickshaw driver like any other in Kerala's Pathanamthitta. In 2010, however, thanks to some unique modifications he did to his rickshaw, Sunil suddenly caught attention and earned himself a unique nickname – "Scorpio Sunil." 

Remaking the exterior of his rickshaw, Sunil modified it to resemble the back end of a Mahindra Scorpio. While his rickshaw made him a local curiosity, nearly seven years later, Scorpio Sunil suddenly found himself drawing social media attention from across the country, when his modified ride caught the eye of top Mahindra executives.

And on April 27, an unexpected honour found its way to his home in Thiruvalla's Pullad, from none other than Anand Mahindra, the Executive Chairman of Mahindra Group. Anand was so impressed with Sunil’s innovation that he wanted to display his Scorpio autorickshaw at the Mahindra museum. In return, Sunil was gifted a Mahindra Supro Minivan, free of cost. 

When The News Minute reached out to Sunil, he was still stunned at the sudden fame he had been thrust into, but was overjoyed at his good fortune.

Sunil says that he got the idea for the Scorpio auto from his mechanic, who had done minor modifications on Sunil’s earlier auto too. “At the time, one of his neighbours used to own a black Mahindra Scorpio, but since he did not have enough space at home to park the vehicle, he would instead park the car at the mechanic's house. That's how the mechanic suggested that we give a make-over to my brand new autorickshaw, and I agreed. Since the Scorpio used to be parked at his house, it was convenient for him to recreate it," Sunil explains.

Over a month, the mechanic painstakingly recreated the back panels and characteristic decals of the Scorpio, at a cost of Rs 50,000.  

Sunil says that his Scorpio auto almost immediately caught the attention of local youngsters, who put images of it on the internet.  

"When I started plying on the road, a few youngsters near my house were enthusiastic about seeing such a modification. One of them clicked some photos and uploaded them on YouTube. From there it might have got circulated all over the internet. Somehow Anand Mahindra happened to come across the photo on Twitter, and then he wanted to keep my autorickshaw in his museum," Sunil says.  

On March 19, a Twitter user named Anil Panicker tweeted an image of Sunil's autorickshaw to Anand Mahindra. 

The picture caught Anand’s attention. He had then called it "iconic", and expressed his desire to buy it for his museum. He also asked Twitter users for ways to locate the owner of the vehicle. 

Nearly two months later, on May 3, came his tweet announcing that the Scorpio auto had been tracked down. 

On April 27, the Mahindra Minivan priced at Rs 5 lakh was delivered to Sunil at Mahindra's showroom in Pathanamthitta.  

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