1998 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution

S/N V554402793. 93k kilometers (58k miles). “3.5-liter V6, rated at 276 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque, 5-speed automatic transmission and 2-speed transfer case, locking center differential, skid plates, Evolution-specific body kit, trailer hitch, Recaro front sport seats, information display on the dashboard, and air conditioning. Modifications reported by the selling dealer are limited to a set of 17-inch KMC wheels, door-window air deflectors and a Panasonic head unit.” Condition: 1-. SOLD AT $44,151. Cars & Bids, 3/23/23.

Every new year brings more newly eligible Japanese imports, such as this 1998 Pajero Evolution. The Pajero was Mitsubishi’s first SUV, debuting in 1982 as a rival to the Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover Range Rover, with versions sold in the U.S. as the Montero. The Pajero had many successful years competing in rally events, including multiple Dakar wins. A second generation arrived in 1991, with the Evolution arriving in 1997. This was a road-going homologation model designed to compete in Dakar’s T2 class for mostly stock vehicles. It was successful, with a Pajero Evolution winning Dakar in 1998. The Evolution used an independent rear suspension that would later appear in the third-generation Pajero. Only about 2,600 Evolutions were sold between 1997–99 and such rarity certainly contributed to the price here. Our subject truck was in very nice condition, with only a few tiny flaws. It rides on aftermarket wheels, which really set off the white body color. Despite their rarity, Evolutions are not scarce, as seven of these have sold this year alone (five from this same seller/importer). This one landed around the middle of the range, so I would consider it both well sold and well bought.

2003 Toyota Tacoma Xtracab SR5 TRD

S/N 5TEWN72N63Z190663. 82k miles. “3.4-liter V6, 5-speed manual transmission, dual-range transfer case, locking rear differential, Lunar Mist Metallic paint, TRD off-road package, 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, receiver hitch, sliding rear window, Charcoal cloth upholstery, A/C.” Condition: 2. SOLD AT $23,625. Bring a Trailer, 4/5/23.

The first-generation Tacoma, with its optional V6, was a step up in size and power over the previous generations of the Toyota Pickup. It was certainly more targeted at the U.S. market, as it was designed at Toyota’s California studio in the early 1990s. Introduced in 1995, the midsize truck was a hit, with annual sales averaging well over 100k units through the end of the first generation in 2004. While the trucks earned a reputation for “Toyota reliability,” their fully boxed frames became plagued by rust. Things were bad enough that by 2008, Toyota issued a recall on all 1995–2000 models, as improper rustproofing would end up eating the frames. Dealers either replaced the whole frame or had to buy the truck back. Toyota switched to C-section-style rails in the second-generation Tacoma to address the issue. However, as these early trucks are now transitioning from used vehicles to collectibles, there is a concern that some may have missed the recall and could develop rust issues in the future. A proper frame inspection and/or seeking records that the recall was performed should be undertaken. First-gen Tacomas are really starting to go up in value, especially these Xtracab SR5 TRD models, which have been hammering at higher prices than older 1980s models. As for our subject truck, its clean interior, lower mileage and clean frame all led to it being well sold.

2000 Honda Prelude Type SH

S/N JHMBB6151YC002025. 52k miles. “2.2-Liter DOHC inline-4, 5-speed manual transaxle, Milano Red paint, 16-inch alloy wheels, power-operated sunroof, rear wing, black cloth upholstery, A/C, cruise control, power windows and door locks, CD stereo.” Condition: 1. SOLD AT $20,737. Bring a Trailer, 4/14/23.

Second- and third-generation Preludes have been climbing in value for some time. But the fourth generation was a slight deviation in style for the long-nosed sport coupe, and it hasn’t been included in such appreciation. The fifth-generation Prelude, however, took the design back to its roots. The styling has aged well, and prices for these cars are now going up. When introduced in 1996, the Prelude formula was the same as in previous generations: a more-powerful motor than was found in the contemporary Civic and some new technology to justify the Prelude’s higher position in the Honda lineup. The fifth-gen Prelude got Honda’s Active Torque Transfer System, which acted like a smart limited-slip differential, rotating the outside tire faster than the inside one while cornering, which helped address understeer. Production of the fifth gen came at the end of the Japanese sport-coupe era, and comparatively few were built — only about a third of the third-gen model —before the Prelude was discontinued in 2001. You can still buy these cars in the teens, but nicer examples like our subject car have started selling above $20k. Well sold today, but likely a bargain in another decade. ♦

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