Video intro and photo gallery of my 1991 Mitsubishi Montero

A bit over a week ago, I shared the newest Hooniverse project car acquisition. It’s my 1991 Mitsubishi Montero. The plan is now to sell my 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280 and use the Montero as a daily driver until The Wombat is done. The introductory post on the Montero was just a quick peek at the new old truck. I’ve spent a bit more time with the vehicle, so I’ve managed to capture it quickly on video and I’ve got a few photos to share as well.

So far, it’s been an enjoyable experience driving this aging rig. The gearbox shifts smoothly, the clutch is easy to operate, and it fires up with no hiccups. As far as creature comforts, the air conditioning works well and I’m still figuring out how to unlock the bouncy seat.

Here’s the good

That 3.0-liter V6 under the hood pulls strongly. And the five-speed manual backing it up shifts smoothly while the clutch operates cleanly and crisply. On the outside, the aged paint presents well and the interior, despite needing a bath, is in pretty good shape. There’s a minor tear on the driver seat but the rest is good to do.

Equipped with auto hubs, the Montero can be slotted into four-wheel-drive on the fly. And both 4Hi and 4Lo work just fine. I haven’t been able to truly put them to the test, but in terms of actually working we’re all good there.

What’s not so good

Up front, the steering needs some attention. There’s a very minor wobble in the steering wheel. I need to get the front end off the ground and give each wheel a nice shake to see what might be going on there.

The central gauge cluster only has one working gauge out of the three. The voltage meter reads fine, but the inclinometer and oil pressure gauges don’t work. I’d like to fix that because one of those is important and the other is fun and useful.

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

So what’s next?

I’ve swapped in a set of fresh halogen lamps. The plan was to run LED headlights, but the ones I received didn’t work when I installed them. I believe this may be a polarity issue but I really don’t care enough to find out. The halogens work just fine, and off-road folks say that LED headlights when used on the trail sometimes don’t case a wide enough beam. If I need more light, I can add light bars down the road but I’m not ready to go full tacticool quite yet.

That brush guard will be cut off the front end. It’s currently welded in place but it will soon be in the trash. I’ve removed the Hella lights from the brush guard and I may repurpose them onto a spot on the bumper. As for that bumper, it will be removed and repainted. I’m thinking a simple hot rod black, which is actually cheaper than having it powder coated. And when that’s being done, I am tempted to leave off the rubber center pieces and end caps.

For my mountain bike carrying needs, I’ve ordered a Yakima rack. It attaches through the spare tire on the rear. This allows me to swing open the rear door without moving the bike out of the way first. I’ll have that on later this week.

I’m still contemplating which wheels I’d like to run on the truck. I’m torn between a simple set of painted stock steel wheels (maybe in a bronze, black, or desert tan) and the more modern Turbomac HD wheels from Fifteen52. There’s also the TE37, which looks great on these but those are fairly pricey. Either way, the wheels I do go with will be wearing BFGoodrich KO2 tires.

Other than that, I’ll clean up the interior a bit and fix anythings that break along the way. And I look forward to getting this Montero covered in mud. Then cleaned. Then dirty again. And so on, for as long as I own it.

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

1991 Mitsubishi Montero

[Images copyright 2019 Hooniverse/Jeff Glucker]

18 Comments

  1. Love it! And as odd as it sounds, I seriously like the door cards.

    I’d go with steel wagon wheels if it were mine, but just about anything will look good on this rig.

  2. I really don’t think I knew these existed and I sure haven’t seen on in the flesh. A very handsome vehicle. I really like the dash with the big grab rail.

  3. I will live in Montero. And I will buy some round American headlights and raise rabbits, and the engine will cook them for me. And I will have a Mitsubishi… maybe even a “sport utility vehicle.” And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?

    Way too wordy, and obscure, and not so much a nickname as a stream of consciousness, but just go with it.

    Alternatively Kurosukantorī-sha is apparently the Japanese translation of “Cross Country Vehicle” (err, Geländewagen), if that sparks anything.

  4. Here is what I would do to it:

    Ditch the snorkel. It looks ridiculous. Not only does it appear to be extremely restrictive at/inside the fender, it also doesn’t have a forward-facing inlet for ram-air effect. It’s likely hurting performance, except maybe when you ford high water, which will be never.

    Don’t cut the brush guard all the way off. Re-sculpt it into General Lee-style push bars. Add some clevis hooks and D-rings. If it came with the tow bar it should be towable 4 wheels down as-is; otherwise consider fabricating one.

    The wheels are right for the era. If you want to change things a little, paint them to match the body color. If you insist on changing the wheels, then go with steelies. Modern wheels would be a mistake.

    Add a roof rack. Also, are you sure you want to hang bikes off a wide, side-hinged door that’s three decades old?

    Add a rear camera. They have some that wifi to your phone as a monitor, but that cassette player is probably ready for upgrade to something with a screen.

    I always thought it was dumb to give a Japanese vehicle a Spanish-sounding name. What about Monteriyaki?

    1. Agreed on hanging stuff off door hinges, usually a bad idea. I remember how much trouble I had with swinging spare tire mounts on my K-5 Blazer and Bronco.
      Also second on the rear camera. Look like that is a double DIN slot anyways.

      Car-part.com has several of the center gauge clusters listed.

    2. +1 on the removal of the snorkel and the roof rack. I also like “Monteriyaki”, even though cross-cultural names are pretty frequent in the car world.

      I’m curious about the rear camera, though… because of the spare? Other than accidentally backing over a kid on a bike when pulling out of the driveway, I’ve never found much use for them.

      1. Rear camera is for singlehandedly hooking up trailers, parallel parking without crunching the car behind you, and keeping an eye on things as you go down the road.

  5. Funny seeing you sitting inside the box. The contrast to the modern cars you usually video-review is striking: They all engulf their passengers in a tight cocoon. I like the airy, lightflooded box a lot though

  6. Agreed on the wheels, something in the stock dimensions and tires maybe a tick taller than stock would look good. Maybe something like a Cragar soft 8. Owing to frustration with punctures and nailing every curb in every tight parking lot I drive through, I went with KO2’s on my F150, and they are noticeably heavier than the Goodyears that came off. I have ~20K miles on them now and you can’t tell. On a Montero, they would probably last 80K.

    While the Radwood ethos may have gone to your head, that’s not an uninteresting development for those of us following at home.

  7. I’m guessing you don’t care about rock chips so those KO2s will be fine
    Personally, I HATE them on our Wrangler (other than the looks, man they are a great looking tire). They throw gravel like no other tire I’ve ever experienced, and they’re awful in snow.

    1. I second the comment on the KO2s. They look great, but I couldn’t live with them. My BIL has them on his Wrangler and wishes he’d chosen otherwise. I much preferred the old BFG ATs that I had on my CJ.

      Even though they’re a bit more aggressive, I really like the Cooper Discoverer STT PROs. They’re not nearly as noisy as some.

      https://images.tirebuyer.com/visual-aids/products/tires/cooper/discoverersstpro/cooper_discoverersstpro_bw_205873_vary_jpg_s3_resize_x2000.jpg

    1. Monterrible is probably a bit harsh. Is the Pajero plate taken I wonder?!?

      Your plan sounds good Jeff – re-mount the Hella lights instead of a light bar, for a more period look. You can get different inserts to shape the light beam (spread/spot/pencil), and higher wattage bulbs if the wiring will handle it. Same for the headlights actually assuming they are ordinary H4 type.

  8. The name “Kalifornia Sand Kruzer” has probably already been taken. I tried to find a picture on the webs of a modified Montero surf wagon and couldn’t find one. Yours could be the first.

  9. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8b871a581da9f6487847674cfc99c4cc365e0e926a53442c63542d07db78f664.jpg

    this was my old mitz.. I had it for a couple of years while working a projcet at Hunter Liggett.. there is a lever under the drivers seat that will unlatch the “bouncy seat” .. but you have to be sitting in it.. LOL anyway.. i loved that rig.. take care of her.. the seat covers are from Germany, a pretty good quality, i had a military buddy pick them up and send them over.. since the drivers seat was a little beat up ..

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