You probably think of the Mitsubishi Pajero (Shogun in the UK) as a hulking-great farmyard off-roader. And you would be right. But over the years Mitsubishi has spun off an entire family of Pajeros.
One such was the Suzuki Jimny-rivalling Pajero Junior. It stood a teensy 3.5 metres long, using the same chassis as the Minica Kei car. Power came from an 80bhp, 1.1-litre engine borrowed from the Colt and it had proper high- and low-ratio selectable four-wheel-drive. Weighing less than a ton, with good ground clearance and approach/departure angles, it was by all accounts quite handy off road.
On sale for just three years between 1995 and 1998, it sold reasonably well and has been popular as a grey import. None of which explains what on Earth Mitsubishi was thinking when it devised this horror show, the special edition Flying Pug.
The Japanese have always loved old, British cars. Through the Nineties it was one of the biggest markets for the original Mini, but retro pastiches had become popular as well, led by the Nissan Micra-based Mitsuoka Viewt, which looked a bit like a miniature Jaguar Mark II.
Mitsubishi thought it would jump on the bandwagon. Out of all the cars it made, Mitsubishi decided the Pajero Jr would be the best platform. Ambitiously, the brochure said it had “the classic looks a London taxi.” In fact, it looked more like the absolutely gopping Triumph Mayflower.
The press thought it was ugly and the buying public agreed. Mitsubishi planned to build 1,000 Flying Pugs, but just 139 found homes. The deeply weird name can’t have helped, but Japanese-market cars are notorious for it; another special edition Pajero Jr was christened McTwist.
By Only Motors