I found this really bizarre Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin in my hometown and you really can’t come up with this if you wanted to! But more on that later! I’ll first dive into the Pajero history and, if you haven’t figured it out already, explain why this is so funny to begin with!
The Pajero name origins
Mitsubishi named the Pajero after the South American Pampas Cat. The Latin name for the Pampas Cat is Leopardus Pajeros, which Mitsubishi then shortened to Pajero. The pronunciation of Pajero differs per country, but strangely it is pronounced Shogun and Montero in the UK, US and Spain. What Mitsubishi didn’t realize was the meaning of Pajero in Spanish. In Spanish slang Pajero, pronounced Pagero, means wanker. To fix this small mistake Mitsubishi sold the Pajero under different names in Spanish-speaking countries or countries with a large Spanish population.
The history of the Pajero Pinin
The Mitsubishi Pajero replaced the Mitsubishi Jeep delivery wagon in 1982. The Pajero iterated through many other forms including the Pajero Pinin I’m showing today. The Pinin has an interesting history as well. Mitsubishi started a strategic alliance with Pininfarina in 1996 to have Pininfarina build low-volume Mitsubishi cars. A new factory was created in Bairo near Turin and production started in 1997 with the Pajero Pinin.
The Pajero Pinin was first launched in early 1998 in Japan and marketed as the Pajero iO. In the rest of the world, the Pajero Pinin was sold from the end of 1999 onwards. In Europe, the Pajero Pinin was named after Pininfarina to honour who built them, but not who designed them. Pininfarina was also allowed to make a design study for the 1998 Geneva Motor Show. They also enhanced the Japanese five-door Pinin iO Sorrento with velours leopard print seats. The Pajero Pinin is a mini SUV and slightly larger than the Suzuki Jimny, so it’s definitely the cutest of all Pajeros.
Spotting a Pajero Pinin
Coming back to the Pinin that I spotted. It’s a 2004 Pinin, but the license plate indicates it was imported somewhere in 2020. It probably has been imported from Belgium as this country is located next to the Netherlands and is a great source of second-hand cars. The engine under the bonnet is the 4G93 DOHC GDI with direct gasoline injection that powered most of these cars. This Pajero Pinin resides quite close to my house but I never encountered it as it’s parked off the street most of the time. By pure chance during one of my lockdown strolls, I encountered it and I was just flabbergasted by that car dealership’s name. A wanker car sold by a cock?
What does Kok or Cock mean in Dutch?
About the car dealership that sold this Pajero Pinin: de Cock or Kok is a common surname in the Netherlands and Belgium. In the 1990s the Netherlands even had a prime minister called Wim Kok whose name means cook. The spelling with k-o-k is more common in the Netherlands and c-o-c-k is more common in Belgium. A Dutch crime writer named one of his detectives De Cock (insert Baantjer hier) and the “de cock with c-o-c-k” is actually a running gag in both the book and its TV spinoff. This Belgian car dealership is called Garage de Cock and is specialized in Mitsubishis and not in crime. I really wonder how often they have English and Spanish-speaking customers complaining about their names.
Note: I have made a video about this bizarre car about two years ago. I decided to post it in a different for here.