I did a thing…

As most of you know, I’ve been on the hunt for a boxy old SUV. My initial plan was to find a Trooper or a Montero to play around with for a bit. I got sidetracked by notions of Discovery Is, Range Rover Classics, and other random bits of aging off-road capable metal. I even teased the potential purchase of a rare Hunter Edition RRC. That one didn’t come to pass though, and it’s probably for the better.

Because I’ve purchased this one instead:

This is a 1991 Mitsubishi Montero. It’s the first generation L040 version and this specific truck is an LS model equipped with the 3.0-liter V6 under hood. That engine is backed up by a five-speed manual. This seems to be a less common pairing, as most Montero examples I’ve found are either of the four-cylinder/manual variety or V6/automatic. Regardless, this one has just around 1,200 miles on its engine after a fresh rebuild.

The chassis is a different story, as the seller says it sits with around 300k miles. Take a peek underneath though, and you’d guess about 200k less. California trucks are great, aren’t they? At one point the gauge cluster was swapped out, so that reads 174k miles, but it’s not accurate and I’m not terrible bothered by that fact either. What does bother me is that the neat built-in inclinometer was broken when the truck had its oil gauge serviced. I’ve already been YouTubing ways to fix it, so stay tuned on that.

The immediate plans for the truck? Remove that brush guard and those Hellas. Swap on new wheels and tires. I’ve already ordered a slick looking grille from Mohenic as well. After that? I’ll likely paint the bumper black after ditching the extra bits of cladding. Fix the inclinometer. And then enjoy it for a bit.

I have a theory that the Montero is gaining in popularity. And I’ll test that to see where this one winds up value wise down the road. Also, I’ll have far better photos for you soon, plus video of the truck.

I was too excited not too share though, so you get this quick Instagram snap. It was taken on Friday. I pick the car up today.

As has become somewhat of a tradition (mild tradition, really), I’m trying to come up with a name for this project. So far the best I’ve got is Tony Montero. Additionally, the CA Legacy Plate “LILFREN” is available, which is kind of funny. But I’m not 100% on board with the name yet. Shout any ideas below.

20 Comments

  1. How does someone go about breaking an inclimometer (which is a sophisticated enough piece of equipment that it apparently is not in my phone’s list of autocorrect words).

    Keep working on a clever license plate.

    1. yeah yeah, it’s not great – I want to keep the streak alive of dumb plates though… A BENZ is still very funny to me.

  2. Am I wrong in thinking if your front tires stick out beyond your wheel wells you ought to put flares on to keep the mud off your windshield? I always see slightly-to-over built trucks with 4 inches of exposed tire even with the wheels straight ahead. (Being on a motorcycle, you see these things in bold relief.) I always thought it amateurish, but I never really went 4-wheeling so what do I know? (All my Scouts were 2WD)

    1. Yes, I think the new wheel/tire setup will either fix this or necessitate fender flares/mud flaps

  3. Awesome, you wouldn’t look out of place parked next to a yurt in Central Asia. Or on a babyskin-smooth LA parking lot for that matter.

  4. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

    Down here where we had six feet of water in the grocery store recently, I’ve been meaning to find something snorkel friendly myself.

  5. Bravo, Jeff. This is wonderful. I love 1990s Mitsubishi! This can use some mechanical and cosmetic work. but you have a lot of resources in California. Be patient and best of luck!

  6. Very nice! I had a v6 manual 4wd 1995 Honda passport years ago, closest thing to something like that. Fun car, but the body wilted around the drive train. This looks to be in much better shape!

  7. Looks like the inclinometer is available at car-part.com Just search all applicable years under Gauges (Misc) prices are $25-$99 for the whole 3 gauge cluster.

  8. I like it! A lot. I like the brush again as well and if it were me I’d just straighten it a little.

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