Just 100 Mitsubishi owners now get the opportunity to join the exclusive Pajero “Legend 100” Club.
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, which introduced the latest version of the Pajero Sport in September 2017 and followed it up with upgrades in 2019 and 2020, has launched the Pajero “Legend 100” Club. This marks the release of the last 100 Special Edition versions of the iconic SUV in its current form.
“We are down to the last 100 units and celebrating it with the Pajero ‘Legend 100’ Club, which will find new lucky homes in 2021, proving the popularity of the car that built up an unequalled Dakar record which still stands today,” says Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.
These exclusive limited models stand out thanks to a unique Pajero “Legend 100” badge and each owner receives a certificate of membership to the club.
The Pajero in all its forms over the years cemented Mitsubishi Motors as a top-class manufacturer of Sports Utility Vehicles, starting back in 1985 when a Pajero in the hands of French Dakar Legend Stéphane Peterhansel clinched the first of 12 Dakar victories in the original car.
Before this ultimate success, the original Mitsubishi Pajero planted its roots in the world’s longest and toughest motorsport event (to this day) in 1983 when three Mitsubishi Pajero’s participated in their first Dakar Rally from Paris in France and eventually finishing in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, in Africa.
Mitsubishi’s first of 12 overall victories, which stand as a Guinness World Record to this day, came in 1985 when Patrick Zaniroli and Jean da Silva, both from France, won the event in only the third year that the Pajero took part.
It was only in 1992 and 1993 that the Japanese brand stood on the top podium again when Frenchmen Hubert Auriol and Philippe Monnet won the event in a Mitsubishi Pajero. This was the longest distance this event ever ran, spanning 12 500 km from Paris in France (starting on 23 December 1991), finishing in Cape Town in South Africa on 16 January 1992.
The Pajero clinched two more consecutive victories in 1997 and 1998, with Japanese driver Kenjiro Shinozuka, who was the first ever Dakar winner from Mitsubishi’s country of origin, in the 1997 race. This was also the only event ever run on African soil only, after starting and finishing in Dakar, Senegal.
This was followed by no less than seven consecutive victories year after year from 2001 to 2007, the last year the event was run on the African continent.
The world’s most successful female racing driver, Jutta Kleinschmidt from Germany, tried out the Pajero in 1995 and finished 12th in the Dakar Rally that year. She conquered the event in 2001 with fellow German Andreas Schultz in the navigator’s seat of their Mitsubishi Pajero.
Another Japanese driver took the honours in his Mitsubishi Pajero in 2002 and 2003 (Hiroshi Masuoka).
“Mr Dakar”, the most successful Dakar competitor ever with no less than 14 victories to his credit, took the Mitsubishi Pajero to victory in 2004, 2005 and 2007, while team-mate Luc Alph took the honours in 2006. This period is still a Dakar record with seven consecutive victories for the brand, and after having proven the Pajero being the best ever, Mitsubishi Motors withdrew their vehicle from the event after Peterhansel’s 2007 victory.
“We’ve done it 12 times in total and have the trophies to prove it,” recalls Campbell.
Pajero “Legend 100”:
The model in the Pajero range receiving the “Legend 100” certification is the 3.2-litre DI-DC Auto in SWB and LWB configuration.
Outstanding characteristics of its renowned diesel power plant, the DOHC Intercooled Turbo Diesel with Common Rail Direct Injection, sports 140 kW @ 3 800 rpm and 441 Nm @ 2 000 rpm.
These vehicles boast consumption figures of 9.5 litres per 100 km (10.7 for the LWB version) in the combined cycle, giving owners a reach of around 730 km on a single tank of fuel. That is all the way from Johannesburg to Margate for a visit to the beach or Cape Town to Gariep Dam to watch the overflowing dam wall – with fuel to spare…