Mackay Mwebingwa’s passion for vintage cars shows in the way he talks about his Mitsubishi Pajero Wagon. On the day Mwebingwa drove to Karamoja sub-region to pay for the car, after a brief chat with his wife, the owner changed the price from the initial Shs12m to Shs14m, much to Mwebingwa’s shock.
However, his disappointment did not stop him from getting his dream car. He eventually got his prayer answered, when, at the start of 2022, while visiting the Catholic Secretariat in Nsambya, Kampala, he chanced on someone who was selling theirs. After a test drive, Mwebingwa paid for the 1984 model Mitsubishi Pajero Wagon he has nicknamed the ‘dinosaur’ because of its reliable performance, especially off-road.
Running on a 2000cc diesel manual transmission 4D 56 engine with five gears, the three-door Pajero Wagon was made purposely for 4X4 performance. “They are strong cars that are easy to maintain not only with fuelling but service as well. Their fuel consumption is low, and the full-time 4WD allows the car to be driven anywhere, regardless of the terrain. It is a car one can comfortably drive daily without the worry of it breaking down,” says Brian Ssentongo, a mechanic.
According to Mwebingwa, the Pajero’s spare parts are readily available at local spare parts dealers. It uses 6.5 litres of engine oil, which is still less compared to some Toyota Land Cruisers that take up to 14 litres of oil. Mwebingwa says the Pajero Wagon is a car whose maintenance is as affordable that he never spends more than Shs100,000 if there is anything to repair.
The full tank fuel capacity of the Pajero Wagon contains 50 litres. Because of its small engine size, a litre of fuel on the highway will cover 15 kilometres while in Kampala city centre where the traffic is slow, you will drive approximately 12km per litre.
Because it is a manual car where the driver can control consumption, one can shift the gear lever to free mode to control fuel flow, unlike automatics where the gear is constantly in automatic mode even when you are not moving and the injector and the nozzles still consume the fuel.
“It is rare for me to go to the garage unless I want to repaint the car. The paint work cost me Shs750,000 and it is the most expensive service I have ever done,” Mwebingwa says.
With a curb weight of 3340 lbs (1515 kgs), the Pajero I 2300 Diesel has a naturally-aspirated – four cylinder engine, diesel motor. This engine produces a maximum power of 67 PS (66 bhp – 49 kW) at 4200 rpm and a maximum torque of 137 Nm (101 lb.ft) at 2000 rpm. The power is transmitted to the road by the all-wheel drive (AWD) with a five-speed manual gearbox.