This is a 1995 Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata that was originally operated by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). It’s a Mitsubishi Pajero-based 1/2-ton military 4×4 vehicle that can be mounted with heavy machine guns or anti-tank missile launchers depending on requirements.
Known officially as the Mitsubishi Type 73 Light Truck, the model series has been in production over two generations from 1973 to the present day, The vehicle is Japan’s homegrown answer to the American Jeep, the British Land Rover, and the German G Wagon.
Fast Facts – The Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata
- The Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata (Kyū) was originally released in 1973 as a license-built Jeep CJ-3B under an agreement with American automaker Willys. Over the course of the production run the chassis, body, and other running gear was modified and upgraded until there were few interchangeable parts with the original Jeeps.
- In the mid-1990s the second generation vehicle was unveiled, called the Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata (Shin). This design used a Mitsubishi Pajero platform with a custom body that could be used for general transport duties, it could also be fully bulletproofed and fit with a variety of machine guns, anti-tank weapons, and mobile missile launchers.
- The Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata (Shin) is powered by a either an inline-four cylinder petrol or turbodiesel engine, it has either a manual or automatic transmission, a dual-range transfer case, a locking central differential, and body-on-chassis construction.
- The Type 73 Kogata you see here is a 1995 model that was originally used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). In more recent years it’s been imported into the United States and it’s currently being offered for sale out of Sugarhill, Georgia with a clean Georgia title.
Developing The Japanese Jeep
The original Willys Jeep concept has been popular in Japan since WWII, when an abandoned Jeep was found in the Philippines by the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces and sent back to Japan for further study. Toyota reverse engineered their own version of it, which formed the basis of the vehicle we now know as the Land Cruiser.
In the 1970s with Japan and the United States now confirmed allies, Japanese automaker Mitsubishi formed an agreement with Willys to build the Jeep CJ-3B under license in Japan. This vehicle would be significantly modified over time until it shared very little with the Jeep it was based on.
It was known officially as the Mitsubishi Type 73 Light Truck (Kyū), though it’s more commonly referred to as the Type 73 Kogata Kyū. This vehicle would remain in production from 1973 until 1997, being replaced in the mid-1990s by a newer version called the Mitsubishi Type 73 Light Truck (Shin).
The Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata (Shin)
The Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata (Shin) was the second generation of the “Japanese Jeep,” though now it shared no components or design cues with the American 4×4 at all – it was entirely based on the Mitsubishi Pajero platform.
The Pajero in its various forms had proven to be a solid 4×4 and a top seller not just in Japan but globally, often as a major rival for the Toyota Land Cruiser. The Pajero, and Pajero-based homologation specials, had become a force to be reckoned with in the world of Rally Raid – the Paris Dakar Rally in particular.
The Type 73 Kogata (Shin) shared Pajero underpinnings but had a new body that was highly-modifiable. Some were given full bulletproofing for use in overseas war zones like Iraq, and they could be fitted with a range of weaponry including Kawasaki Type 64 anti-tank pods, Kawasaki Type 79 and Kawasaki Type 87 anti-tank missile launchers, Japan Steel Works Type 60 recoilless rifles, Sumitomo MINIMI LMGs, and Sumitomo M2 machine guns.
Both petrol/gasoline and turbodiesel versions were built, fitted with either manual or automatic transmissions.
They also had dual-range transfer cases and locking center differentials. Over the two generations of the Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata over 200,000 have been built, with almost all of them remaining in Japan.
Some have been exported for military use to the Philippines and Vietnam, with more being exported for civilian use to enthusiasts in the United States, Europe, and further afield. They remain exceedingly rare on the road outside of Japan however.
The 1995 Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata (Shin) Shown Here
The vehicle you see in this article is a Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata (Shin) from 1995, very near the beginning of the model’s production run. This example was originally used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), it was later sold off as military surplus, then bought and imported in the United States.
It’s currently road registered in Georgia on a clean title, and it comes with the 2.8 liter turbodiesel inline-four engine which is sending power back through a four-speed automatic transmission and a dual-range transfer case, to a locking center differential.
Inside there is seating for four, a modest amount of storage space behind the rear seats, a roll bar, a soft top, and a spare wheel mounted on the back. The interior of the car is well fitted out, much better than most military vehicles, it even has an automatic transmission, radio, and climate control.
If you’d like to read more about this unusual Japanese 4×4 you can visit the listing here on Bring a Trailer.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer.
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