1997 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution - An Unappreciated Dakar Raider

The Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution is a street-legal Dakar raider that’s relatively affordable

Not just a modified SUV

The Pajero Evolution was a homologation special

It shared a lot with the actual Dakar Raider

Essentially, a road-legal Dakar racer

A short production run

It was produced from 1997 to 1999

More common than you think

2,500 units were made in total

Your typical 1990s Japanese car interior

The Pajero Evolution interior was almost identical to the standard Pajero

Great racing herritage

Between 1985 and 2007 the Pajero won every single Dakar Rally

Bespoke body kit

The Pajero Evolution featured flared fenders with extra air outlets

Cooling is crucial in Rally Dakar

The front fascia and hood provided better cooling

It's a street-legal SUV you can take anywhere

Reinforced frame, long travel suspension allow it to withstand plenty of punishment

Front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials

A central locking diff can switch from RWD to 4WD

Fin-like dual rear spoilers

Although removable, they gave the SUV a distinctive look

More affordable than you may think

$15,812 current average price

Decent performance even by today's standards

0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h)

The 6G74 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic

276 horsepwoer at 6,500 RPM and 256 pound-feet (347 Nm)

Recaro sport seats

The only difference from the standard interior

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