TORQUE GT ● BLOG
Think 90's Mitsubishi and the Lancer Evo will almost certainly pop into your head. No surprise when legends such as Tommi Makinen and Colin McRae danced them through the gruelling stages of the World Rally Championship! However, think outside the box and another icon comes to mind...
A vehicle that achieved royalty status in what could be referenced as one of the toughest motorsport events in history, the Paris - Dakar Rally. The Pajero also known as the Shogun in the UK has won the Dakar an astonishing twelve times between 1985 and 2007.
Arguably the most iconic incarnation that achieved two victories for Mitsubishi was the Pajero Evo of 1997. Making its debut in the T2 class due to the events updated entry requirements, its soul purpose was to win the Dakar and it did exactly that in 1997 and 1998. Impressively it beat the supposedly faster competitors in the T3 class... not a bad CV!
It housed a 3.5-litre 24-valve DOHC V6 with Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control (MIVEC). A new, dual plenum variable intake also helped increase power, plus new independent rear suspension made the ride even smoother, which is handy when smashing through the desert!
In order to homologate the Pajero Evo for the Dakar Mitsubishi had to produce 2,500 road legal examples making it far rarer than the Lancer Evo of the time. This car was designed to be as tough as nails and you get that sense just by walking up to it. When on the move it gives you a comical sense of invincibility. With the added motorsport heritage running through your mind its impossible not to miss-behave!
With it's raspy V6 power this awesome off-roader came out the factory with 276bhp and 256 lbs ft. Given it weighs nearly two tonnes it's quite happy to get a move on! Mitsubishi claim 0-60 in 8.5 seconds and flat out it'll be doing 130mph. Back in the day your hot hatchback wasn't much quicker. Plus the coolest thing is you can use the grunt as much off-road as you can on road!
Both manual and auto versions were available, and although there were fewer manual versions made the general verdict is the auto box doesn't take away from the experience, still letting you bounce the visceral V6 off the limiter in manual shift mode if you desire.
If this car doesn't make you smile thats your problem, not the cars. Full of character with its vents, bulges, stickers and winglets that can only be likened to Batman's head, it's touches like this that make this car such a cool package, arching back to a period that the auto industry will never repeat. It truly looks unique in today's world.
This example is finished in Sofia White however they also came in Passion Red & Satellite Silver. The cabin treats you to a purposeful set of Recaro bucket seats. Finished in a very 90's pattern they make you feel like you're in a proper sports car and only add to the sense of occasion.
Mitsubishi announced in August 2019 that the Shogun will no longer be sold in Europe, selling over 100,000 units in the UK alone since 1982. This should only emphasise cars like the Pajero Evo. The forgotten homologation special Mitsubishi created represents a peak not only in achievment but as a reminder that cars like this are scarce and should be celebrated!
Want to blast around in a JDM homologation special? Watch our 5 Step Personal Import Service video...