Turbo Diesel: 1984 Mitsubishi Mighty Max

It’s amazing to think of just how small these trucks were when compared to the giant “small” trucks of today, at least in the US marketplace. This 1984 Mitsubishi Mighty Max turbo diesel pickup is listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $3,800 and no reserve after that point. It’s located in Glendale, California and from reading the seller’s description it sure sounds like you could fly in and drive it home.

The photos are interesting, to say the least, but at least the key photos are included: both sides, rear, a glimpse of the front, an interior and an engine photo. The original graphics are present and the paint very well could be original as the seller says that there “is no Rust in this truck!” My favorite phrase is all of car’dom, no rust. Almost anything else can be fixed but once rust creeps in I creep out, literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, the California sun has wreaked havoc on the clear coat and the silver portion looks like it could use a freshening up. I know that I could use one. The original wheel covers are all included even though they aren’t shown on the rear wheels.

I wish that there were more close-up photos of this truck, it really looks good in these detail shots but the overall photos make me think that the bottom has been repaired and painted black. That doesn’t appear to be the case but after 40 years of owning rusty vehicles that’s my immediate thought. Sellers really would be wise to take an extra two minutes to think about providing better photos, there is no question that they produce better results for online sales listings. Mitsubishi sold the Mighty Max in the US from 1982 to 1986.

We’re back to tiny photos again, these last two are verticals, unfortunately. It’s hard to see much inside but what is visible looks fantastic to me. I really like these trucks. No, I love them, as much as a person can love any vehicle. Even though the California sun has messed up the clear coat on the paint the black dash top is surprisingly crack-free! These dash pads are rare, I have a 1980 Dodge D-50 Sport pickup and mine has a crack in the dash top. I don’t know how this one was spared. I really wish there were more interior photos, but they say that there are “No tears or heavy wear on the bucket seats, No heavy wear or tears in the carpet, Very little stains in interior, Only could use a new headliner.” Mine also needs a new headliner, I’m guessing that the thin foam backing gave up as it did on mine.

The engine in this truck is Mitsubishi’s 2.3L inline-four turbo diesel and it isn’t the original one. This “original motor had dropped a valve into number 3 cylinder so I installed A FACTORY NEW short block with all new pistons,crank bearings etc and a factory new head with valves and camshaft. All parts used were new OEM”. This truck “has been driven 8,000 miles since I installed the motor so this was sufficient time to prove it out. Runs very well. No issues starting it in cold or hot weather”, also a “NEW radiator installed when motor was done and trucks runs nice and cool”. I really like/love these small Mitsubishi and rebadged Dodge/Plymouth pickups. Are there any other fans out there?


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  1. Michael

    Everything used to be smaller back then. Compare the Fox bodied Mustang to the current one. Today I was coming up on a British convertible. At a distance, I thought, must be a Spitfire. When I caught up to it, I’m embarrassed to say I got it completely wrong, and it
    was a TR6. It’s shocking how bulky modern vehicles are.

  2. Doug Medeiros

    I would rather deal with clear coat than a rust out L.A. IS a great place to buy cars that were originally from there………I know it rough on plastics and head liners,living in Northern Nevada and the Calif. central valley…….

  3. Steve

    I had one of these in the 80s. Great truck. I would love to have another. The ac was so cold you could see your breath in the middle of summer.

  4. Tom Justice

    Seems like a great deal if it is as advertised. It probably gets 40 mpg on the road and the bed cover is a nice thing to have. If you have a business and need a run around truck this is what you have been looking for.

  5. RichS

    If you look at all of the auction pics – there is another one he’s hinted of selling. I’d rather have that one.

  6. Gay Car Nut

    Sweet looking truck. I remember when compact trucks were compact. They didn’t get the best fuel economy, unless you ordered one with a turbo diesel engine, assuming they were available, but whatever engine you got, they were indeed workhorses.

  7. Maestro1

    I am a fan of these trucks. I own a 1980 Plymouth Arrow. I’ve had it for 19 years.
    I found it under a tree in Northern California and it had obviously spent its life up to that time as a third vehicle. It also had a female owner at one point. It’s garaged now, and i use it for everything. The whole family loves it and can’t understand big stupid trucks. I have no interest in selling it even though I’ve had six offers. It’s terrific. Somebody buy this diesel.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Make that seven offers, Maestro1…

  8. Sheldon Braffman

    I bought an ’86 Mitsubishi SPX new. It had a Starion Turbo motor with a 5 Speed. My black p/u came with chrome mags, tan bucket seats, pass-thru rear window and a Nachamaci (spelling?) stereo. It was a fun truck to drive…guaranteed to “chirp” the rear wheels when you released the Clutch. This SPX is being sold for what I paid for mine new. Wish I had mine back!

  9. Don

    Hey Scotty..in your article you say “Mitsubishi sold the Mighty Max in the US from 1982 to 1986.”.. Odd, but I’ve been driving my 1995 Mighty Max for about 5 yrs & I don’t think it was imported into this country..do you have your facts correct?..this is a great lil truck..keep a good timing belt on her & do the regular maintenance these trucks will pull 400 – 500 K miles easily.

  10. John Leyshon Member

    Probably meant the Dodge badged D-50 (?)

  11. Spence Evans

    So I own this truck. I bought it from the owner a year ago, whom is a very good friend. This is my 3rd Mitsubishi diesel and I love this truck. Yes it is rust free, yes the paint is 100% original and everything works perfectly which is a minor miracle for a 35 year old vehicle. I even had a grey topper laying around thats a perfect match. The interior is mint, the seats and dash are perfect. Its all original, even down to the analog clock and radio. I added a new NOS steering wheel because it feels nice on the hands. It truly a gem and having that factory crate motor makes it a blast to drive.

    Like 1
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Spence, thanks so much for the great and painful update! Great, in that it’s nice to hear that it’s as nice or nicer in person and has been working great for you. Painful, in that I would absolutely love to own this truck and should have pursued it more seriously as they’re hard to find in any condition let alone that condition.

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