- Vehicle: Mitsubishi Pajero (1st Gen)
- Style: Overland Build
- Build Level: Advanced
- Budget: $$$$
- Location: Seoul, South Korea
Finding a capable SUV similar to the legendary toughness of a Mercedes G Class is a challenging task. But unique automotive gems can be found in unexpected places. One has been discovered in the form of a ruggedly modified 1980s Mitsubishi Pajero 1st generation from Korea. With its beefy off-road wheels, rugged 4×4 accessories and boxy styling, this vintage SUV has been transformed from a quirky relic into a vintage 4×4 that looks and feels like an invincible off-road alternative to a G Wagon.
To fully convert his Pajero into an overlanding predator requiring mercy from no terrain, the owner has carefully selected quality components to turn the SUV into an all-conquering machine without compromising reliability and styling. Expert upgrades elevate it above its factory specs while enhancing what was already an impressive platform.
Introduction This 1980s-era Mitsubishi Pajero has undergone an impressive transformation from a dated but charming SUV into a highly capable and head-turning vintage 4×4. Guided by a vision of creating a subtle alternative to the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, the owner has invested extensive effort into customized upgrades focused on enhanced off-road performance.
Suspension & Lift
To improve high-speed stability and increase ground clearance for extreme terrain, a 3″ suspension lift kit by Procomp has been installed. This allows for running substantially larger 285/75R16 tires on 16×8 wheels with -25mm offset for improved traction. A panhard bar contributes to lift kit effectiveness in reducing body roll.
Off-Road Wheels & Tires
The aggressive 285/75R16 tires offer ample sidewall thickness to absorb impacts from rocks while providing plenty of contact patch for loose surfaces like mud or sand. Mounted on 16×8 wheels with widened track width, they exemplify the SUV’s masculine, no-nonsense look. This rubber mounts to specialty beadlock capable wheels ready for serious rock crawling or desert running.
Exterior & Interior Upgrades
On the exterior, the Pajero has been treated to a complete color change to an attractive black pearl paint code matched to Mercedes-Benz G-Wagons. Rugged accessories like custom side steps, roof rack, and front/rear ladders complement the vintage boxy body lines. Inside, extensive wood and leather upgrades create a premium aesthetic. Modern tech like Android head units and cameras update functionality.
With its iconic style plus rugged upgrades focused on 4×4 adventuring over comfort or luxury, this Mitsubishi Pajero is a prime example of creating a non-mainstream off-road alternative to a hyped-up G Wagon.
Now that we have explored the mechanical modifications made to transform this Mitsubishi Pajero into a highly capable vintage off-roader, it is insightful to learn the motivation and vision directly from the owner responsible for this impressive build. Every customized vehicle represents a unique set of dreams and priorities from the person who brought it to life. Some behind-the-scenes perspective into the creative process that resulted in melding an iconic 1980s SUV shape with contemporary overlanding ambitions:
My passion for nature and camping led me to prefer vehicles with large cargo capacity that can reliably handle rough terrain while packing ample gear.
Why Did you Choose this Vehicle for your Project?
I appreciated the angled aesthetic that disregards aerodynamics in favor of a brawny, no-nonsense look. The manual selectable 2WD and 4WD along with sizeable dimensions struck me as ideal for a mechanically straightforward truck alternative.
What do you like the most about your Pajero?
I think the best thing is an attractive design. It has the feeling of an old car, a strong predator in nature, and a sophisticated masculine design in the city center.
What was the most difficult aspect of the build?
Being a discontinued 80s model, sourcing genuine maintenance parts poses challenges, especially living in Korea without local access. Unlike in Japan where the Pajero originated, acquiring certain factory components entails difficulties from scarcity.Owner’s IG @ann___pro
With upgrades from off-road suspension to aggressive tires and with interior refinements to match, this vintage Mitsubishi Pajero is undeniably made for outdoor adventures as a rustic bruiser ready for anything. And yet, modern conveniences remain via leather-clad creature comforts and high-tech accessories. By enabling rough-and-tumble escapades without sacrificing around-town drivability, this modified Pajero is truly unique – blending vintage truck swagger with the owner’s outdoorsy vision.
For more Pajero and Montero builds tailored for overlanding, be sure to explore the Offroadium archives showcasing more 4×4 Mitsubishi SUVs equipped for excitement beyond the pavement.
Matt is a professional mechanic, experienced off-roader, writer and founder of Offroadium. With over 15 years immersed in the off-road community and 100,000+ miles logged on rugged trails across the Americas, Grabli shares extensive real-world knowledge. He previously worked as an automotive technician before shifting focus to specialty off-road projects. His passion is prepping capable rigs for off-roading and helping others to build the 4x4s of their dreams.