Paris-Dakar Winner 1985 Mitsubishi Pajero

The Spirit of the Pajero

Since Jeff bought his Montero this year, a lot of us have started to pay more attention to older Mitsubishi SUVs. The Montero is to the Pajero as the Toyota Land Cruiser is to the Lexus LX of the same vintage. The more Jeff has updated the Montero, the more he’s gotten my attention. It’s really a good looking truck and the powertrain has a rock solid reputation.

Mitsubishi announced that this latest version of the Pajero/Montero will be the last of its kind in Japan. Montero sales ended in 2006 in the U.S. The Pajero will still be sold in overseas markets, but no longer in Japan or the U.S.

New Mitsubishi Pajero Montero

In a very Japanese fashion, Mitsubishi released this video chronicling “The Spirit of the Pajero.” The Pajero/Montero greatest racing moments took place in the Paris-Dakar Rally, with many of them occurring when the race actually concluded in Senegal. The video takes a look back at three of its winningest drivers in the Paris-Dakar Rally.

Vintage Rally

From the boxy shape of the 80s to the curvier aspects of the late 90s and all the way to the ahead of its time SUV coupe of the early 2000s. All three Pajeros performed brilliantly in the dunes and off-road craziness that is the Paris-Dakar Rally. Porsche knows that their Cayenne coupe is a ripoff of the early 2000s Pajero, right? Don’t answer that.

Repsol Livery Mistubishi Pajero-Montero

The Nikon livery at the top is my favorite, but Repsol livery is really good too.

Paris Dakar Pajero

The video is mainly in French and Japanese, but with the glory of Google auto-translated subtitles, you can get the gist of it. I watched a couple of times, once reading and the second time drooling over the vintage Dakar footage.

Hopefully, Mitsubishi will be able to repurpose the model name, Shogun, that was the Pajero in Europe and Australia. Mainly because it sounds cool. For now, we haven’t lost the Pajero, but the large SUV is definitely becoming a threatened species around the world.

Makes Sense

This video definitely puts Jeff’s license plate in context too!


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Grille and headlight surrounds both now done. . . . #montero #tonymontero #hooniversethings #hooniverse

A post shared by hooniversejeff (@hooniversejeff) on

Here’s to hoping for more Japanese SUVs. If they’re not coming it’s fine, we’ll keep buying the old ones.

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9 responses to “The Spirit of the Pajero”

  1. outback_ute Avatar

    The Pajero Sport aka Challenger (based on the L200/Triton pickup) has effectively supplanted the ‘proper’ Pajero now. In an SUV-heavy market it shows how much Mitsubishi have declined that they have dropped the Pajero.

  2. Zentropy Avatar

    I really like Tony’s new face! The blackout treatment compliments the brown metallic very well. From what model is the grille?

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I got it from Mohenic in S Korea via eBay. Arrived chrome and I sprayed it black

  3. crank_case Avatar

    The Pajero wasn’t even close to being among the first SUV coupes:

    …plus that early 2000s Paris Dakar body style was never reflected in a production model.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Yep, there was a nagging thought of something older at the back of my brain but just couldn’t remember it. Hell of a lot less pointless and more desirable than the Suzuki too.

        1. Maymar Avatar

          I won’t pretend something even earlier than the SX4 doesn’t exist, I just couldn’t think of one (but would be excited for someone to bring up an even older example).

          1. Vairship Avatar

            If SUV = offroader (as opposed to CUV = pretend offroader), and coupe = 2-door hardtop short wheelbase version (i.e. there must also be a long wheelbase version), then: By Harald Hansen – Own work, Public Domain, Link

      2. Zentropy Avatar

        I had one of these in dark red, and I think my father may still have it sitting next to his garage. I’ve considered reviving it for some autocrossing. The thing was a beast as long as you could keep vacuum leaks at bay. I’d love to do a FI 4.0 swap into it.