CC Capsule: 1989 Mitsubishi Montero V6 – Rare Raider


As I was pulling into the local REI parking lot a few weeks ago, I spied this fine example of mid-80’s Japanese 4×4 style.  My kids were mortified when I started snapping pictures but these are getting distinctly thin on the ground.

Back in the day I always kind of considered them the equal of the Isuzu Trooper but as they progressed through several more recent generations, I suppose they were really more of an alternative to the Toyota Land Cruiser in overall capability and competence before the Toyota really started getting overly expensive.

In other markets, they were usually known as the Pajero (and Shogun in the U.K.) and have a significant racing history, notably in the Paris-Dakar rally-raids of the 80’s and 90’s. While the Montero nameplate was retired in the U.S. in 2006, it is still available in other markets to this day.

In any case, this appears to be a model from around 1989. Originally the Montero was only produced in two-door form (and for a while in was also sold as the Dodge Raider), but in the late ’80s Mitsubishi began to offer the longer 4-door version in the U.S. with the V6 engine.

The V6 was a 3.0l, SOHC design that produced 143hp and 168ft-lbs of torque, which seems quite meager for that size engine today. The truck weighed just under 4000 pounds, so I am imagining that acceleration would be leisurely, especially up here in the thin air of Colorado.

Judging by the Seattle license plate frame, the CSU sticker, as well as the relatively new license plate, I am guessing that this particular Montero is a newer arrival to Colorado and is probably owned by a student in town. Whoever it belongs to, he (or she) seems to be taking excellent care of it, as the body is devoid of major blemishes and the interior still looks to be in great condition (my poor picture of said interior notwithstanding).

I did not realize until I was looking at these pictures again that the rear door is side-hinged. As opposed to the Trooper, the Mitsubishi’s is a single piece (like the RAV4’s), and also hinged on the “wrong” side for left-hand drive countries.  (I also realized that I completely overlooked the Isuzu Axiom parked next to it, which if anything is even more rare nowadays!)

All in all, this is a fine example of a truck that has been forgotten by many and is not seen much anymore.