In the last 48 hours alone we've written about the launch of the Lamborghini Urus
, driven Alfa's new Stelvio Quadrifoglio
, and reported on the imminent arrival of a 707hp Jeep
on UK shores. None of those can hold a candle to today's Spotted though, an off-road vehicle with genuine sporting pedigree.
Back before the buying public became consumed by the notion that they might one day need to ford an active lava flow whilst on the school run, or summit Ben Nevis on the way back from the shops, performance SUVs were few and far between. There were a few noteworthy examples of course, like Lamborghini's LM002 and Overfinch's fettled Range Rovers. But where the Lambo might have started life as a military vehicle, and Overfinch's offerings may have been able to trace their heritage back to a Schuler-equipped Dakar winner, the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution had much more direct off-road performance cred.
Just 2,500 were built to homologate the Pajero for the Dakar Rally, and a good thing too, going on as it did to win the gruelling race in both 1997 and 1998. In fact it was so dominant that in 1998 Pajeros came first, second and third, finishing five hours ahead of even the 'superior' T3-class competition. It could be said, then, that the Pajero Evo has as much claim to be a 'racecar for the road' as Ford's latest GT, and you won't get in nearly as much trouble if you need to sell it...
Not that you'll want to, of course. The PajEvo being powered by a 3.5-litre V6, putting out 280hp and 257lb ft of torque and propelling it to 60mph in just eight seconds. Underneath it has independent multi-link suspension, uprated dampers and diffs, and a track widened by as much as 125mm. Which brings us to those wheel arches. Just look at them. This is what a performance SUV should look like, and they didn't even need to worry about where to place the rear door handle
This particular car seems to be a rather good example too. It comes with only 52,000 miles on the clock, and a desirable manual gearbox, with touches like Recaro seats and those Ralliart mudflaps only adding to the drama of the thing. For £15,000 you're unlikely to find any other homologation special as successful or as rare and, let's be honest, if you were ever to pull up next to a Urus at the lights, there'd be no doubt as to which of you had made the cooler purchase.
SPECIFICATION - MITSUBISHI PAJERO EVO
Engine: 3,497cc, 24v V6
Transmission: 5-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 280@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 257@3,000rpm
First registered: 1999
Recorded mileage: 52,000 miles
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £15,000
See the original advert here