By on December 10, 2012

Cue up Rossini’s William Tell Overture, folks, ‘cause the Lone Raider RIDES AGAIN!!

I enjoyed Murilee’s Junkyard Find’s feature last week, on this very example of Mitsubishi/Chrysler joint venture off-roadness. One of the things it motivated me to do was to check out the model that’s been seen tooling around my Eastern Sierra hangout.

Initially, I assumed it was a Montero, due to the well-documented scarcity of the Dodge version. Finding it parked close to my coffee stop allowed for a closer inspection, which revealed what you see right here in this entry of Bodacious Beaters.

Trimmed out in the color scheme of the famous NFL team—and definitely not the high-line optioned-out modelthis example looks to be straight, functional and original. Looks like it gets pressed into tow duty once in a while, even! Not sure why the owner has left the remaining lower body side molding adhesive behind—all the original pieces having gone the way of all similar cladding on vehicles from this period. That the metallic silver paint is still in decent shape is practically a miracle, as the Oxidation Gods are typically hard on such finishes.

Couldn’t get a read on the odometer, but overall, I’d say the mileage was probably on the low side. More than likely, it gets used only for around town driving (its popular around here to have a vehicle just for this purpose).

I doubt these short wheelbase boonie-bashers make for very comfortable long-distance transportation; but haven’t personally experienced touring in one. Comments?

All things considered, if the maintenance is kept up with, and barring any other catastrophic event, this Raider should be ridin’ for some time to come. HI-HO SILVER! AWAAYYY!

Expertly collected and commented by Phil Coconis, this is one of many BODACIOUS BEATERS and road-going derelicts, an assemblage of the still driveable near-dead.


Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this TTAC site). He can be contacted through this very site, or

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8 Comments on “BODACIOUS BEATERS and road-going derelicts: LONE RAIDER...”

  • avatar

    As I said in Murilee’s article on these, I liked them and found them an updated version of the original Ford Broncos.

    At the time, with a young family and a need for small, fuel-efficient cars (K-Car and their cousins), one of these was not on my radar, regardless of how much I desired one.

    This is a fine example, but should be red.

  • avatar

    I saw a red Montero this weekend. It was heavily oxidized, but definitely still in daily use. They have a strange appeal to me, but I’d better avoid them like I do Range Rovers. Same appeal, same end result of a unreliable mess.

  • avatar
    Muttley Alfa Barker

    Wow. Didn’t know much of these sill existed

  • avatar

    Back in my days as a climbing bum I had friends with these. I remember them being kind of hard to work on and overheating a lot, outside of that they were neat trucks. And yes, not comfortable on a long trip, very jeep like.

  • avatar

    Been daily driving one of these since March. Sold my second Galant VR4 to fund the purchase. They’re great little trucks. Reliability is a function of owner responsibility and, let’s face it, most consumer cattle aren’t interested in proper maintenance.

    Here’s mine in the desert, working a road block at the 2012 High Desert Trails rally earlier this year. It was originally a Raider (still has the fender badging), but it’s really a Pajero, thus my fitting the Mitsubishi grille. Driver door is buckled from a kid in a Honda Civic deciding to make a right turn… from the inside lane… and then lying to his insurance to stiff me. Ah well.

  • avatar

    This is basically a Lada Niva for the Western World.

  • avatar

    basically a Mitsubishi Pajero/Shogun whatever outside of the US

    extremely common like the cockroach

    like all diamond stars of that age, ate valve stems and put out blue smoke

  • avatar

    I don’t think this is a beater/near dead at all, it looks perfectly serviceable, and it’s obviously been maintained over all those years.

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