Thanks to their success, the Pajero, Montero and Shogun names were also applied to other, mechanically unrelated models, such as the Pajero Mini kei car, the Pajero Junior and Pajero iO/Pinin mini SUVs, and the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero/Shogun Sport.
The first Pajero prototype was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in November 1973. The Pajero II prototype followed in 1978, five years later. Mitsubishi’s aim was to create more of a recreational vehicle, not just an SUV.
In January 1983, the first Pajero made its debut at the Paris Dakar Rally, taking first place in 1985 at only the third attempt. To date, the Pajero is the most successful vehicle in the Dakar Rally. This not only gave the Pajero an offroad reputation, but also helped in the sales department.
The first generation made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1981, and was launched in May 1982. Initially, it was a three-door, short-wheelbase model available with a metal or canvas top and three different engines options: