Rehabilitated Truck Enjoys a New Lease on Life

side view of restored Mitsubishi Mighty MaxMy very first truck was a 1950 GMC 1/4-ton, reddish-orange, 3-speed on the column. At that time, it was about 22 years old. So, my '88 Mitsubishi is officially the oldest vehicle I have owned at 26 years of age. I guess our minds start to lodge themselves in relative time when we reach 30-40 years old, because I think of the Mitsubishi as being "modern", not more than 10 years old. It would take a psychologist to explain that.

That is neither here nor there I suppose, but it crossed my mind as yesterday my "new" truck's story came to a successful end. To briefly catch up new readers, back in March, this truck rolled (with no one aboard) down a steep ravine. It appeared totalled, but the chassis and drive train were actually in fair shape. Finding a new cab took 4 months. The body shop spent another 2 months putting it together and refurbing the chassis. I spent about 2 months building a new platform bed with my trusty stick welder and adding details such as lights, tax stickers, fender flairs and so on.

It started out as this when I bought it about 5 years ago:

1988 Mighty Max Mitsubishi truck

Then went to this POS in a heartbeat last spring:

wrecked mitsubishi truck

Finally, it is back to a state even better than when I bought it:

Restored '88 Mitsubishi pickup
The new truck, new bed, sliding partition and reupholstered seat
 All that remains are fog lights and new MP3 player, which arrive in about 4 weeks and some minor mechanical work on the rear brakes. Surprisingly enough, a couple of the wheels are not quite true ;) but I'll wait until it needs new tires to buy it a complete new wheel set.

It's great to have this truck back on the road, even if it is a grandpa in car years. It drives great and can handle just about any road or stretch of mud and gets great mileage. The 2.5L turbo diesel is still going as strong as when I got this truck. 

Happy Trails Mighty Max!


  1. Love hearing updates on your truck. It really does look good as new. Bet it handles Costa Rica's crazy terrain well too- older vehicles always seem to be more sturdy. We went with a 2000 Chevy Tracker. A little newer and probably made with more plastic but she's treated us well so far. We really like the 4WD low for traction.

  2. The short wheelbase helps maneuver through the bumps and holes. I always put it in low-range when off the paved road. Just use 2nd through 4th, but gives me 1st when I need it. My Tico neighbor lusts after this truck because he says the Mitsubishis of that era have a stronger frame than the ubiquitous Toyota Hi-Lux trucks, but he never came up with the colones to buy it and now I'll probably never sell it. :)


Thanks so much for your comment! - Casey