Between 1953 and 1998, Mitsubishi motors produced over 200,000 Jeep variants under licence from the Willys company in America. Very few were exported, but as they were predominantly right hand drive, a few were imported into the UK.
This particular example dates from 1979 and is just one of 8 that were ‘officially’ imported by the Colt Car Company. It has undergone an extensive restoration taking over 5000 man hours, and you can tell, it really is immaculate.
Stepping into the Jeep and I’m not going to lie, it was a bit snug, especially with its large diameter steering wheel up close and personal, but once I got moving the memories of driving Series Land Rover’s in my youth came flooding back, as did my grin.
I had to press the clutch almost to the floor for it to engage any gear, but again you soon get used to that and once on the move the 4 speed box with traditional selectable 2 or 4 wheel drive and high and low range transfer box would make any Series Land Rover owner feel at home, especially with its leaf sprung suspension and drum brakes.
The Jeeps 2555cc, 4 cylinder petrol engine produces 111bhp at 5000rpm and sang away harmoniously as we tootled along the road, and with the canvas roof flapping away in the wind I was reminded of how much I want a small 4×4 to play with.
I wish I had more time to drive the Jeep, especially off road, but time was precious and I was under strict instructions not to get it dirty, which was fair enough. So I trundled back knowing my next test vehicle was Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid.