Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge Raider

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1987 dodge raider

The Dodge Raider was a transparently badge-engineered first-gen Mitsubishi Montero (known as the Pajero in much of the world), available in the United States for just the 1987-89 model years. The Montero wasn’t a big seller and its Raider sibling was a rare sight even in the late 1980s. I find the more obscure Chrysler-badged Mitsubishis fascinating, so I photograph every Raider I see in the junkyard.

We have seen a Ford product and a GM product in this series so far this week, so we’ll finish it up with a Chrysler(-badged) product.

Mitsubishis of this era weren’t known for longevity, but this one got well over 200,000 miles of use. This is a California truck, so there’s no rust.

I have long believed that the Montero/Raider inclinometer was one of the coolest gauges ever put in a motor vehicle. Naturally, I have a few of them in my collection of weird junkyard parts, and I will be installing one in my latest junkyard-parts boombox.

Under the hood, the 2.6-liter Mitsubishi Astron inline-four that went into everything from the Dodge Aries-K to the Mitsubishi Starion.

The first-gen Montero was license-built by Hyundai and sold as the Galloper. These Korean-market ads are among the greatest ever made for a small SUV.

The Japanese-market ad for the first-gen Pajero features a strange mix of macho imagery and schmaltzy music.


Naturally, the American-market ads were far less interesting.

At home in the desert or on the hills of San Francisco (except when you blow the head gasket).

[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

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  • Nikofab Nikofab on Jan 04, 2017

    I have a 1987 Raider. Have really enjoyed this little brute. The Astron engine is not as much a deviant as many would report. With proper maintenance it will go a long way...mine currently has 182000 miles on it. Never anything worse than a blown head gasket at 135000 miles. It's the same base motor (G54B) as the one in my '86 Starion ESi-R, albeit the Starion variant came fuel injected, turbocharged and intercooled. I have since converted from TBI to MPI on the Starion (along with a host of other mods) and couldn't be happier with the motor.

  • Aguilayserpiente Aguilayserpiente on Dec 09, 2017

    What is the contact information for this salvage yard? I need some parts.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂