1 Mar 1983
MITSUBISHI’S take on the burgeoning 4WD wagon market resulted in the compact Pajero 4WD wagon, released to good press and widespread global popularity during 1983.
The NA was offered in 2350mm short wheelbase (SWB) and 2695 long-wheelbase (LWB) two-door wagon formats, until a LWB four-door wagon body – some offering seven as well as five-seat configurations – was added from May ’84. Some of the latter were marketed as the Superwagon.
Buyer could choose between two engines – the familiar Astron 2.6-litre four-cylinder unit emitting 76kW and 192Nm, or a 62kW/175Nm 2.3-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder motor – both through five-speed manual gearboxes.
With its tough separate chassis construction and dual-range gearing, the Pajero quickly made a name for itself as a rugged all-terrain SUV that was also compact enough for urban school-run duties.
The NB of November ’84 added more models, a small facelift and fresh trim and subtracted the two-door LWB wagons, while December ‘85’s NC featured the wagon with a ‘high-roof’ mode for extra rear headroom, as well as much-needed power steering.
An automatic gearbox became available on some models from October ’86 ND Pajero, while the 62kW/201Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel replaced the old 2.3 TD unit.
Mitsubishi switched to the Australian-sourced Astron 2600 with October ‘87’s NE facelift, with the Magna unit now offering 79kW and 192Nm. By now a limited slip differential was standard across the range.
September ‘88’s NF facelift saw the introduction of a 3.0-litre SOHC 24-valve V6 engine in the top-line Superwagon, delivering a smooth 105kW and 228Nm via a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.
The NG facelift of September ’89 – the last for the first-generation Pajero series – was a minor trim and equipment re-jig. An intercooler was also added to the 2.5 TD turbo-diesel models.