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Ricci's Garage

Ricci's Garage: time to ignore the Pajero's many issues, and get jazzy new wheels

Mark’s invested in some new shoes for the Pajero, because priorities

Published: 11 Jun 2024

Internationally renowned photographer Mark has been working with TG for many, many years. When not taking photos he’s buying inappropriate cars. Here he shares his addiction with the world

On my never-ending quest to ignore every car-shaped red flag imaginable, there was a small detail I missed out recently when buying a Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution. That being its eBay advert which proudly stated “cheapest Pajero Evo for sale right now”.

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Research and actually viewing the car were replaced with blind optimism. ’Cos it was the cheapest by over £6,000, and if it needed any little bits and bobs sorting – a dab of paint here and there – six grand is a pretty decent buffer. How bad could it really be?

From the outside, not bad at all. The numberplate is broken, and the bumper has had paint which (unsurprisingly) could be connected. There are a few dents in the door and the windscreen wipers a little rusty. Even the underside – which has been tactically undersealed – doesn’t seem in terrible shape and the MoT test history backs that up too.

On the inside is where things get a little more bodged. Where the radio once was now lurks a huge clip-in Android tablet, which is mounted so low it’s impossible to see and its startup volume seems to default to air raid siren. In every footwell lurks a mass of green neon lights, and the cigarette lighter has four items powered from it including a rearview screen which replaces the mirror. Albeit with Japanese writing in the middle of it.

There are speakers wired in every corner and a small subwoofer (also powered from the cigarette lighter) mounted under the passenger seat, which works brilliantly at rattling every panel inside. Not that you can tell which vibration is from the speaker, as the rear shocks seem to have collapsed meaning the smallest bump feels like an Impala from the Still D.R.E music video. Then there’s the indicators, which flick at 160bpm – hugely encouraging with its MoT test due.

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But it’s all fixable. And wacky wiring is at least better than having an entire sill to cut out and replace. Not by much, mind. So, with a long list of jobs to get fixed, now seemed like the perfect time to go and sink a load of cash into new wheels and mud terrain tyres instead.

I already had a set of 16in OZ Racing wheels for a Shogun I bought last year, and while they looked good on that, they were just a bit weak on the Pajero Evo. An inch too big in size and an inch too narrow in width to be precise, which is a small issue compared to say, the rear shock absorbers not working, but these are the things I’ve decided to prioritise first because I am fickle.

Thanks to a man called Stefan who runs the Instagram page @FoRRtune, sourcing the right set of OZ Racing wheels turned out to be unusually easy. He specialises in rare and hard to find wheels, but he’s also a fount of knowledge when it comes to choosing wheel sizes and tyre specs. That’s why – using his advice – I’ve opted for a set of 15x8in OZ Rally Routes with equally bonkers Toyo Mud Terrain tyres, and the fitment couldn’t be more perfect.

Rectifying a car’s actual issues might be infinitely more sensible than fitting jazzy wheels, but I’m going to go out on a limb now and say that these classic OZ Rally Racing wheels are the best looking off-road wheels money can buy. And when it inevitably fails its MoT test next time, it’ll at least look good in the car park over winter.

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