By on December 9, 2020

Rare Rides has touched on the first generation Pajero (Montero to North Americans) once before via the Raider, a captive import Dodge dealers could shift while the company had zero small SUV action of its own. Today’s Pajero is a second-generation version – the three-door never sold on our shores. Surprisingly, it even maintains the same color scheme as the Raider.

The first generation Pajero entered production for the 1983 model year, originally in three-door guise. The five-door version joined it shortly thereafter and quickly became the volume model of Montero in North America. By the end of the Eighties though, the old box was due for a do-over. Mitsubishi debuted its new Pajero to the Japanese market early in 1991, then sold off the old tooling to South Korea. Suddenly, Hyundai had a new family SUV to sell! Said newly created Galloper remained in production through 2004.

Available in its second form in three- and five-door guises, the new Pajero was a big step forward over the prior version. Considerably reworked, almost everything was new for ’91. Larger and available with more power underhood, the Pajero proved very popular and branched out in its production. While the model’s second generation was produced in Japan between 1991 and 1999, it was produced in four other locations as well. The Philippines made some from 1993 through 2008, Columbia had their own production from 1994 to 2012, and it was produced under license in Iran from 2005 to 2007 by a company called Bahman Group. But nothing compares to China’s love for the gen two Pajero. Beginning in 1997, the Pajero was transformed into Chinese SUVs via a joint venture between Mitsubishi and various Chinese institutions. It was sold as 12 different vehicles in the Chinese market, and remained in production through December 2019, as the Changfeng Liebao Q6. Now that’s some product longevity.

Engines in use outside China (they had their own versions) included inline-fours of 2.4 and 2.6 liters in displacement, and V6 engines in 3.0- and 3.5-liters. There were also diesel mills with four cylinders, sized at 2.5 liters and 2.8 liters. Transmissions were of four or five speeds if automatic, or five speeds if manual.

Stateside, Mitsubishi imported the Montero as a five-door affair only, unsatisfied with the first generation three-door’s slow sales. Diesel engines and manual transmissions were no longer available in North America, and the only power underhood was a V6. Mitsubishi updated the Montero over the years, and gradually added gingerbread, power, and luxury items to bring it in line with competition like the Isuzu Trooper and more expensive Toyota Land Cruiser. The second-generation Montero lived through the 2000 model year and bowed out in the loaded Endeavor trim. The much more modern third generation took its place in 2001.

Today’s Rare Ride is a well-equipped three-door Pajero fresh from the Japanese market. Its owner was okay paying the additional taxes on a large displacement vehicle and chose the 3.5-liter V6 and an automatic. With 42,000 miles, this one sold a couple of weeks ago for $8,100.

[Images: seller]

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10 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 1995 Mitsubishi Pajero, Montero’s Forbidden Sibling...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m not into these but that strikes me as decent value for the money.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Great value for money. Man, would I love to be able to buy a brand-new three-door version of this today. But Americans don’t want things as cool, small and ruggedly useful as this. Only things that make them think they’re being rugged.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    Wow, I forgot that these were so small. For a moment I thought it was the Pajero Junior.

    I didn’t know that it had so many different licensed/JV production, but it’s good to see a simple rugged SUVs like this get the love.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    These boxy little SUVs filled a great niche back in the day. I had already immersed myself into Jeeps by the time these took off, otherwise I’m sure I would have had one

    As a side note, “Pajero”, didn’t translate very well into some languages, so the name had to be changed in some markets… *snicker*

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Wasn’t there a Raider truck briefly which was a thinly disguised reskin of a Dakota?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yes there was a Mitsubishi Raider version of the Dakota which completed the set of brands that once sold trucks to the big 3 to re-badge as their own turning around and re-badging the trucks that displaced them.

      Mazda B-Series> Ford Courier, Ford Ranger > Mazda B-Series

      Isuzu Faster (P’up) > Chevy LUV (Little Useless Vehicle) Chevy S-10 > Isuzu I series
      Mitsubishi Triton (Mighty Max) > Dodge D50, Dodge Dakota > Mitsubishi Raider.

      It is interesting that Mitsubishi chose to use the name Dodge had used for a version of a Mitsubishi SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        detlump

        As with a number of auto names, the use of Raider may have been a trademark issue as well as a marketing/advertising decision. If a name is still held as a mark by a company, why not use it if it has a good or neutral feeling in the market?

        On the other hand, I doubt that we will ever see Ford Pinto again, but who knows?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ford might use the Pinto name for a subcompact pickup since Ford is using the name Maverick for a new compact pickup that will be released next Spring.

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