Pioneer of the modern SUV, Mitsubishi Pajero is inducted into the Japan Automobile Hall of Fame
CY Foong · Nov 8, 2023 02:25 PM
While the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame (JAHFA) was established in 2001, it began to induct vehicles two years later. The Mazda Cosmo 110S was the first automobile admitted in the prestigious ceremony acknowledging Japan’s automotive industry with 32 more cars, motorcycles, and trucks deemed historic being inducted since.
Some past inductees include the Honda Civic, the Suzuki Jimny, the Toyota Prius, and the Mazda MX-5. JAHFA's mission is to praise the achievements of people who contributed to the building and development of the Japanese automotive industry.
Up until 2014, JAHFA selected one historic vehicle but its selection was put on hold in 2015 and 2016. From 2017, the number of annual automotive inductees rose to between 3 to 4 with the 2023 admission seeing 4 models recognised as historic vehicles.
This year saw the Mitsubishi Pajero being selected into JAHFA alongside the Datsun 510 Bluebird, Mazda 787B, and the Otomo. The first-generation Pajero is recognised by JAHFA for paving the way for the rise and acceptance of SUVs into the market.
JAHFA described the Pajero as a “multi-purpose vehicle that has excellent ability to drive on rough roads and can be driven like a passenger car.” The first-gen Pajero opened a new market for four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles and was equally successful in motorsports, especially the gruelling Paris-Dakar Rally which the Pajero won a record 12 times.
The Pajero was first launched in 1982 and lasted for 4 generations with the final one rolling off the Gifu plant in 2021. It has been exported to over 170 countries with 3.25 million units being produced.
The Pajero would later spawn other variations including the Pajero Minikei SUV, the Pajero Jr., and the Pajero iO. Today, the Pajero name is still around as the Pajero Sport, the SUV twin of the Triton pick-up truck.