At $2,500, Is This 1991 Mitsubishi Mighty Max 4X4 A Deal?

Nice Price or No Dice 1991 Mitsubishi Mighty Max 4X4

California has long taken the lead on automotive emissions standards which has made for cleaner air. Those standards can cause headaches for people with older vehicles like today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mitsubishi — worn to the point of not passing the bi-annual test. Let’s see if there’s hope left in its price.

As antithetical as it might sound, exclusivity is really the height of conspicuous consumption. Imagine owning one of the only 57 Faberge Eggs left in the world, or even one example of the six Bugatti Royales still in existence. Boy would the neighbors be impressed!

Being a custom car, yesterday’s VW-powered 1957 BMW Isetta represented the unique opportunity to own a one-of-one, perhaps the greatest exclusive purchase imaginable. Based on the comments, there are a few of you willing to take that leap. At $14,500, even fewer were willing to pay the asking price for such exclusivity. That resulted in a uniquely high 95 percent No Dice loss, one of our best yet.

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In contrast to yesterday’s wacky custom car, today we’re going to look at something that once was remarkably common — a compact 4X4 pickup truck. I’m going to wager that even in today’s market it will prove to have a much wider audience.

Mitsubishi was a bit late to the game with its compact pickup, debuting its L200 model in Japan in late 1978. That was almost two decades after competitors like Toyota and Nissan had entered the market. Mitsubishi’s little hauler would hit American showrooms a year later, but not under Mitsubishi’s name. Instead, it was sold under the Mopar brands Dodge and Plymouth, as Mitsubishi hadn’t yet set up a sales network here in the States. Flash-forward seven years and Mitsubishi has a second generation of its compact truck on the market and is now also selling it under its own brand name as the “Mighty Max”.

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This 1991 Mitsubishi Mighty Max 4X4 wears some truly righteous decals down its flanks as well as chunky black plastic flares on its wheel arches. It’s overall design is kind of a melding of old and new, but it works. The truck has apparently been rocking that look for 219,000 miles, and Aside from the expected dings and scratches, the exterior seems to have held up well over the years and all those miles. The same can’t be said about the interior, however. Or — more concerning — for the engine.

We’ll start with the cabin.

It’s always been my conjecture that you simply can’t go wrong with one of those serape-style seat covers on an old pickup, and this Mighty Max doesn’t disappoint. Yes, it does look like the driver’s side has seen better days, but overall, it appears serviceable enough to get you to the closest Walmart or Pep Boys if you want a new one. The rest of the interior looks to be in remarkably decent shape for its age and sports an aftermarket moonroof up top for added light. That, by the way, does not open. The rear window, however, does.

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Things start to get a little dicey on this truck when we delve under the hood. According to the ad, the 3.0L V6 powering the truck has a bit of an addiction to eating its own oil. That has already resulted in the replacement of the catalytic converter and O2 sensors from fouling. Even after that, though, the truck still won’t pass the California emissions test owing to the telltale white puffs of smoke from the tailpipe. That means either a deal for a buyer who lives in a state or other country that doesn’t require smog tests or a rebuild/replacement for the smoker 6G72 V6. Good luck finding one of those at the junkyard.

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Other issues include non-functioning fog lights and radio, plus a glove box door that’s apparently boobytrapped to dump everything inside in your lap if you’re not too careful. This is a sunny-day truck too as the wiper switch is broken rendering the wipers to be FPO.

On the plus side, the seller says the 4WD system works as it should and this is a five-speed truck, so you don’t have to worry about skipping arm day at the gym, at least for the right side.

Image for article titled At $2,500, Is This 1991 Mitsubishi Mighty Max 4X4 a Down and Dirty Deal?

Another plus is the clean title, not that it matters much since the seller won’t be able to transfer that title in California without the truck passing its emissions test.

That challenge is noted at the outset of the ad and is acknowledged in the truck’s $2,500 asking price. The question for all of you isn’t so much whether or not that’s a good price, but more of, at that price is the truck worth saving?

What do you think, should this Mighty Max get another chance, and is $2,500 a fair price to take that on? Or, is it time to hang up this 4X4’s serape seat cover and send it to the scrapper?

You decide!

Sacramento, California, Craigslistor go here if the ad disappears.

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