Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge Raider, Sawzall Roadster Edition


1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsEven after the Mitsubishi Overlords began selling vehicles under their own badging in North America in the early 1980s, Chrysler continued selling those very same vehicles with Dodge, Plymouth, Eagle, and Chrysler emblems. One of these machines didn’t stay on sale for long, but captured the hearts of a devoted American following: the Dodge Raider, twin to the Mitsubishi Montero (aka Pajero).

Here’s one that acquired some mean-looking modifications before meeting its demise in Colorado Springs.

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, fender badge - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDodge Raiders sold here for just the 1987 through 1989 model years, but I still see quite a few of them here in Colorado (along with their near-identical Montero counterparts). Having a strong enthusiast base doesn’t keep all of them out of the jaws of The Crusher, however; so far I’ve documented this ’87 Raider, this ’87 Raider, this ’88 Raider, this ’88 Raider, and this ’90 Montero. I can see that I need to go shoot some discarded second-generation Monteros soon.

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, RH IMPORTED FOR DODGE badge - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsChrysler did away with these “IMPORTED BY” badges a few years later. Mitsubishi recycled the Raider name later on, with the Mitsu-badged Dodge Dakota of the middle 2000s.

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, RH rear view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAt some point, the owner of this truck decided that open-air off-roading would be more fun and Sawzalled off the roof.

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, RH diamond plate edging - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe rollbar may or may not have replaced the lost structural solidity, but at least the diamond-plate covers over the raw edges of sliced metal kept passenger lacerations to a minimum.

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, RH diamond plate edging - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsUsing steel instead of duct tape (or nothing at all) on the sliced-off portions of a Sawzall Roadster makes the difference between a vehicle that you’ll keep for another few years and one that you’ll dump after a few weeks. I know of a Plymouth Belvedere Sawzall Roadster that has been driving with no roof since the middle 1980s.

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, RH Stay the Trail decal - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWe can assume this truck did its share of legal off-road driving, given the Stay the Trail sticker on the back.

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, automatic gearshift - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis is the first junkyard Raider I’ve found with an automatic transmission. Nearly all US-market Monteros had two-pedal rigs by the middle 1990s, once the Pajero began the inexorable transition from jouncy off-roader to truck-shaped commuter.

1987 Dodge Raider in Colorado junkyard, front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSome junkyard shopper grabbed the Astron engine and most of the front bodywork.

With everything from automatic locking hubs Toyota’s base 4Runner won’t give you to an inclinometer Nissan doesn’t have.

Japanese-market TV ads for the first-gen Pajero had some funky soundtracks.

Pajeros sold all over the world, including Germany.

If you wanted four doors to make your conquest of the suburban jungle more comfortable, you had to get the Mitsubishi version.

For links to better than 2,000 additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.





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