1997 Mitsubishi Pajero 2.4L
Available for: $14,795
Mitsubishi's JDM portfolio is one of the best-kept secrets from Americans. While the "Toyota tax" is a real thing, these rugged and reliable alternatives offer the same trustworthiness as that other Japanese brand, all at a reduced price point! This 1997 three-door gasser is nothing short of impressive, with its angular, tough styling, and capable 4x4 system. This year was big for the Pajero, as it received some improvements to the exterior styling and a few safety updates. Finished in Legato Gray (A37), this little beast is set off by a factory pushbar, a rear roof ladder and some aggressive Falken rolling stock. Aside from a few light dings, chips, and scuffs this Mitsu is in good overall condition and boasts a mere 79k verified and documented miles. Fresh off a recent service, this unique 4x4 is turn key and ready to rock. Reliable, practical, and affordable this Japanese Classic would make for a killer daily driver, fun trail cruiser, or weekend playtoy.
The cabin is spacious and logically laid out. It is in above-average shape and was clearly cared for in a prior life. The view of the road ahead is excellent and this sport utility rides far above traffic. The dashboard lacks any cracking or fading, although there is a minor repair that was done by the center climate vents. Dual SRS front airbags likely will add some peace of mind for those sitting in the front of this vehicle. The centrally located climate controls are easy to reach and the heat and A/C function for those who plan to drive this rig year round. Below is a more modern Eclipse head unit upgrade that works like a charm. Power windows, electric door locks, and power mirrors make daily use enjoyable, and work, too. The seats are upholstered in a soft tan cloth. They lack any major rips, stains, or tears and are comfy on longer hauls. The rear occupants can enjoy stadium seating and more headroom thanks to this model's stepped roofline. The headliner is clean and held tight and taut to the roof. That's not to say the cabin is perfect as there is some light carpet staining to note and there are prior Japanese repairs to the tops of the door cards to obscure some light cracking. Still, that's a bit of nitpicking at 25 years old, and the cabin is impressive as a whole.
The key to longevity is often times simplicity. This body-on-frame design is fairly rudimentary compared to modern computerized SUVs and was built to last. Powered by the reliable and frugal 4G64 gasoline engine, this Pajero is fresh off an oil and filter service. To keep all that lubrication internal, and new valve cover gasket was taken care of while it was in the air on our lift. A new 12v battery aids ignition and proper combustion of the fuel has been prioritized thanks to a new engine air filter and fuel filter replacing the old ones. To keep operating temps in check a new thermostat was installed by one of our trained techs, and the four-banger now has a clean bill of health. The 2.4L is linked to a smooth-shifting automatic gearbox. Acceleration is peppy thanks to its somewhat light curb weight and this truck merges up to highway speeds without causing any stress. Offroading enthusiasts will love the cutting-edge selective transfer case. Not only can the driver adjust it at speeds of up to 62 mph, but a center locker can be engaged to get moving when crossing the most inhospitable of terrain. The suspension handles road imperfections with confidence and offers loads of ground clearance. The ABS brakes are ideal for those dealing with the last few dustings of snow this year, and they are more than capable of stopping this ute down from higher speeds. The rear brake pads and rotors are all new and will add some reassurance for the new American owner. Lastly, we replaced the tires with brand new Falken all-terrains. The 31" rubber not only looks mean but will provide tens of thousands of miles of year-round grip to come.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.