Junkyard Gem: 2006 Mitsubishi Raider DuroCross 4WD

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Chrysler began selling Mitsubishi Triton pickups with Dodge D-50 and Plymouth Arrow badging in the 1979 model year, followed by the Mitsubishi Pajero aka Montero with Dodge Raider badges for 1987 through 1989. That Raider name sounded so good that Mitsubishi Motors decided to revive it when they began selling a new pickup based on the Dodge Dakota in the United States. Today's Junkyard Gem is a first-year Mitsubishi Raider, found in a Denver car graveyard recently.

The Raider was mechanically identical to its same-year Dakota counterparts and it was built alongside the Dakota at Warren Truck Assembly, but it had its own body and interior designs.

The Raider was built for the 2006 through 2009 model years, after which it was discontinued due to poor sales (just under 22,000 total). It wasn't as humiliating for Mitsubishi as the Ascender and I-Series (both thinly disguised Chevrolet models) were for once-proud Isuzu, but that isn't saying much. There's no need for us to bring up the puzzling Suzuki Equator here, is there?

This one is a DuroCross, which came with lower suspension, black plastic wheel flares and a front bumper that looked skid-plate-like.

It also has the most powerful engine available in the '06 Raider: a 4.7-liter V8 rated at 230 horsepower.

The 4.7 is a member of the Chrysler PowerTech engine family, which has an ancestry stretching all the way back to the American Motors Corporation. AMC began development of new overhead-cam V6 and V8 engines just before Chrysler purchased the company in 1987, and the 4.7-liter V8 made its debut in the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The 2009 Raider was the last new Mitsubishi pickup sold in the United States, though Mexican truck shoppers can still enjoy más poder de aventura by buying a new Mitsubishi Triton with L200 badges. Who knows, if it's possible to find Mexican-market Peugeot 407s, Dacia Logans, Dacia Dusters and Opel Corsas in Colorado junkyards, I may yet find a discarded Mitsubishi L200.

It was much more intimidating than an ordinary Dakota.

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