Certified Hall Of Famer, the mighty 1st gen Mitsubishi Pajero

All hail the mighty Pajero! Well, the 1st generation, that is, because finally it has gotten a well-deserved recognition and has officially been inducted into the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame. The badge – the model line – was discontinued in 2021, but as far as its accolades and legacy go, those have been cemented into history with and by the MK1, the model that started it all.

It’s official, the 1st gen Pajero is in the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame

1st Gen Mitsubishi Pajero Japan Automotive Hall Of Fame Inline 02 Min

Photo: Mitsubishi

Built as a full-fledged off-road 4WD vehicle, the Mitsubishi Pajero was launched in 1982. Despite its intended “pedigree”, it combined excellent off-road handling and a passenger car’s ease (and comfort). A year later, it began blazing the trail in the Dakar Rally, and two hence gave Mitsubishi – and Japan – its first overall victory in one of the toughest motorsports ever to be run.

As the model evolved, it saw 12 more overall victories with 7 consecutive wins in 26 rally outings until 2009

1st Gen Mitsubishi Pajero Japan Automotive Hall Of Fame Inline 03 Min

Photo: Mitsubishi

These are all thanks to the Pajero’s exceptional road handling and its “bullet-proof” motorsport durability. Through and with Mitsubishi’s experience in Dakar, the knowledge gained was translated to leverage and improve its succeeding models, not just with the Pajero badge, but with other production models. Its all-wheel control technologies as well as durability and reliability technologies live on as core technologies that make Mitsubishi Motors vehicles what they are.

1st Gen Mitsubishi Pajero Japan Automotive Hall Of Fame Inline 01 Min

Photo: Mitsubishi

It is rather sad that the Pajero was retired in 2021, but its legacy does live on in the Pajero Sport (or Montero as we know it locally). The latter model continues to be sold in over 80 countries around the world. In its heyday, a total of 3.25 million Pajeros were manufactured across its four generations, and has been exported to over 170 countries and is loved by fans around the globe.

To those of you who own a 1st gen Paj, drive it proudly, and take care of it. What you have in your garage is a true legend, and there is no doubt about that. As with Rey Skywalker, remember, the MK1 can now confidently say “I am all the Pajeros”.

Mikko Juangco
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