This Mitsubishi Pajero can take you to the ends of the Earth!

The Mitsubishi Pajero takes the road not taken and doesn’t mind rolling around in the dirt
This Mitsubishi Pajero eats a pile of rocks for breakfast!
This Mitsubishi Pajero eats a pile of rocks for breakfast!Shot by Avdhoot A Kolhe for evo India

There's an air of inevitability to an industrial-era locomotive. It moves slowly but imperiously. Smoke and steam bleeding out of every crack warns passersby to stand back as this mountain of steel goes about its business. It eats blocks of coal and spits out ash and smoke as it hauls its load over mountains and plains. It dresses in varying shades of darkness and grime, but you can always hear it coming by the bellow of its whistle. If that isn’t enough to deter any potential obstacles in its way, the cowcatcher is sure to make short work of them. The steam engine doesn’t dart forward nor does it stop at a moment’s notice. It always pulls through. Those were our impressions when we saw Aryan Patil’s black Mitsubishi Pajero barrelling down the bridge before our customary chai stop. It lumbered along with a steam engine’s indifference. And if the analogy wasn’t convincing enough, Aryan blew his air horn to signal his arrival. You see, the rumble of the 2.8 turbo-diesel hadn’t quite given it away.

The monolithic Pajero didn’t hide its rough edges, with paint chips and weld joints left naked to peering eyeballs wondering on which battlefield they were earned. A scuffed metal bumper betrayed the fact that this was no pavement princess, as are so many SUVs whose purely functional mass has been co-opted for purposes of vanity. But the Pajero seems to be above all that. In 20/20 hindsight, it seems like Pajeros were only bought by folks who knew what they were doing.

With a 20/20 hindsight Pajeros were only bought by folks who knew what they were doing.
With a 20/20 hindsight Pajeros were only bought by folks who knew what they were doing. Shot by Avdhoot A Kolhe for evo India

The 1990s were the golden age for Japanese SUVs – it’s when their reputation for bombproof reliability was forged. One of them was the Mitsubishi Pajero, which won the Dakar rally 12 times with 7 victories on the trot. The generation of Pajero in front of us won twice in ’98 and ’99. Not many would’ve been aware of its pedigree when the Pajero came to India in 2002. It didn’t shout about its exploits but the bonnet scoop or the ‘intercooler turbo 2800’ plastered on the side must’ve prompted curiosity. This particular Pajero leaves no room for doubt. Head on, the first things noticed are the Maxxis Bighorn 764 tyres, deep inside which are nestled in extremely on-brand JTI steel rims. One can see exactly how big they are and that’s a good sign to get out of the way. The car’s lower jaw has been replaced by a Prad 4x4 XPD winch-compatible bumper featuring bull bars that will stop a boulder. The car sits well off the ground with some heavy duty rear springs hoisted by a Dr. Nano Nitro Gas 50mm suspension lift kit and an Autodisir Performance 2-inch body lift kit. This increased clearance means that rolling around in the dirt will send particulate matter to places it otherwise wouldn’t go. But the Pajero won the toughest off-road race in the world, so the elements are no cause for concern.

But Aryan didn’t know that as a child, when he saw his first Pajero on the road. Its two-tone black and white paint is the one detail he remembers. It’s serendipitous that when Aryan went out looking for used Pajeros to buy many years later, the one he brought home was (you guessed it) two-tone black and white. But he wasn’t a child anymore and his feet went all the way down to the pedals. Once he had a real Pajero instead of just a poster of it, he had to make it his own – he had to paint it black. So the two-tone Pajero came out dipped in Glasurit Napoli Black, and then went straight to the spa for a Würth P-One Step polish at Pristine Automobiles. To match its new clothes, the Pajero also got full black leather upholstery with red stitching to match the red Mitsubishi emblem on the nose. Aryan had the gearstick and the 4x4 toggle moved into a more favourable position to make the car truly his own.

These days, Aryan isn’t exactly precious with it. It’s been off-roading in his home state of Karnataka, it’s been camping, and (of course) it’s been to Goa – where it pulled Aryan, his friends, and their luggage up a 50-degree hill. But what’s life without a good soundtrack? For that reason, the Pajero hauls 11 Morel speakers and a 4000-watt Cerwin Vega sound system. But the Pajero gets up there. Its suspension and engine have been rebuilt, and it will occasionally throw a tantrum. How forgettable would it be if it didn’t? Whether it’s locking its own doors with the keys inside or blowing a steering pump, the Pajero makes it a point to not fade into the background. The Hella Rallye 3003 spot lamps and GTR 3-inch fog lamps make sure that it doesn’t go ignored on the road, but that’s not where it belongs.

The Pajero gets a move on like an armadillo.
The Pajero gets a move on like an armadillo.Shot by Avdhoot A Kolhe for evo India

We watch on as it ploughs through undulating terrain with impunity – the only difference between it and a steam engine being the lack of a railroad. We’ll mark that as a point in the Pajero’s favour.

This Mitsubishi Pajero has been modified by Autodisir Performance and repainted by Pristine Automobiles. They can be contacted at +91 85302 77070 and +91 97676 22787 respectively.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Evo India