Project Pajero - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens

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project pajero 3 This is how I found the Pajeros, after a tip-off from a mate: Parked in a warehouse and covered with a couple of years’ worth of dust project pajero 3
project pajero 1 project pajero 1
pajero interior pajero interior
project pajero 6 project pajero 6
project pajero 9 project pajero 9
project pajero 5 project pajero 5
pajero wheel pajero wheel
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Glenn Torrens puts a shed-find 4WD back on-track

My mate Geoff pulled his phone from his pocket and double-tapped the screen. "I reckon you’d be interested in these," he smiled as he slid the phone across the pub bench. The pics on his phone showed two 1980s Mitsubishi Pajeros - one yellow, one white – in an industrial shed, parked-in by junk and hazed with dust.

"They’re in a warehouse in town," Geoff continued, "and they need to be gone. I’ll give you the bloke’s number…"

And that, folks, is the short story of my ‘new’ Mitsubishi Pajero!

project-pajero-1.jpgI took the white one home first and removed all its useful bits

I’ve always liked the Pajero. Its useful size, comfortable cabin, good road manners and reasonable off-road ability make it the pioneer of the family 4WD market in Australia, if not the world. In 1985, these Mitsubishis won the world’s most gruelling rally, the Paris-Dakar, which fascinated high-school me and boosted Mitsubishi’s international reputation. Since the introduction of general-use H-plate rego in NSW a few years ago I’d considered buying a classic 4WD for fun weekend local camping, so I was quickly investigating this pair of shed-find Pajeros.

pajero-interior.jpgMy Pajero’s interior was OK… but the driver’s seat was showing its age

Under its chalky paint, the yellow one’s body was reasonable but, as I soon discovered, its engine was rooted. The white one was rusty but seemed to have a good engine. Both were petrol four-cylinder 2.6-litre units – like my old ’82 Sigma.

Given those clues, I’m sure you’ll be able to work out my plan!

project-pajero-6.jpgI unbolted the white one’s rear axle so I could retain it (and the wheels) when the body/chassis was craned off the trailer at the scrap-yard

The Pajeros needed to be removed from the warehouse soon… but not urgently. Knowing this, I organised to take the rusty white one home and pilfer its good engine using a borrowed engine crane (thanks, Juddy!) before scrapping its remains. Two weeks later, I collected the yellow wagon, immediately replacing its munted motor with the good one.

project-pajero-9.jpgAnd here’s the thing I really wanted

In addition to the engine and those awesome 1980s shiny chrome wheels, the yellow wagon received the radiator, steering column and locks (its keys were lost) and door mirrors from the white donor, too.

project-pajero-5.jpgMy yellow Pajero was rolling on a set of silly-size later-model wheels. Thankfully my two-for-one bargain buy included these terrific original chromies. Thumbs-up!

Its driver’s seat was tatty but a mate bought a pair of good second-hand seats for me from the NSW country town of Orange. Thanks, Dodty!

pajero-wheel.jpg

With the good engine and seats fitted – plus fresh brake fluid and a squirt of grease in the front suspension and drive shafts – I organised a safety inspection and presented my classic Pajero to my car club eligibility bloke, Aaron, for H-plate approval.

project-pajero-7.jpgMy mate Dodty bought these two good-condition seats on my behalf during a country trip

There are a few other problems that I am yet to sort-out, but my happy yellow H-plated 1989 Mitsubishi Pajero has joined the increasing number of classic 4WDs that I see cruising and camping.

 

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