The first automated cellular phone network is being built in Japan and Superman takes off in cinemas.
Another product is launched which, over the next four decades, will bring mobility to 4.7 million people – the Mitsubishi 1-ton pickup.
It’s a pickup truck that can handle all types of road, anywhere on the planet. It has been developed with a design brief – to meet the desire of customers for a pickup with outstanding reliability, durability and payload performance; with levels of drivability, utility, comfort and ride that are on a par with a passenger sedan.
The first models were appropriately named FORTE, although other badges used included L200, which remain in use today. From the very beginning, the L200 was engineered to provide tough, dependable transport for people and goods.
The L200 was developed to provide a 1-ton carrying capacity and yet be as easy to drive, have a combination of rugged reliability, easy-to-drive nature and impressive carrying capacity. This soon made it a firm favourite across the world, from frozen wastes to sun-baked deserts.
To ensure customers could go even further afield, Mitsubishi Motors built on its four-wheel-drive heritage by adding a 4×4 version to the range in 1980. This became the foundation for modern Mitsubishi 4WD vehicles, leading directly to the SHOGUN and DELICA.
The L200 pickup, renamed TRITON in some markets, had a profound effect on the Mitsubishi Motors’ business too. The first and second generation platforms were mainly produced at Mitsubishi Motors Ohe Plant.
Since the third-generation model in 1995, production has been concentrated in the Laem Chabang Plant in Thailand, from where they are exported worldwide.
It is now Mitsubishi Motors’ biggest factory, producing about 400,000 vehicles.
Here is a reminder of the previous generations of the L200 – and a glimpse at what the near future might hold…
- L200/FORTE, a 1-ton pickup truck was introduced in Japan. Exports to North America started the following October.
- The only body option is a single cab. Power is from a 2.0-litre petrol, with a 2.6-litre option for North America and 1.6-litre engine for Japan and for other regions. A 2.3-litre diesel engine was available for general exports.
- Introduction of a part-time 4WD system
- Full model change. Variations now offered included three body types: Single Cab, Club Cab, Double Cab with short and long body styles available with the Single Cab. New 2WD and 4WD drivetrain options were available, with 2.0-litre and 2.6-litre petrol engines and 2.5-litre diesel engine (increased from 2.3-litre).
- Introduced as STRADA into the Japan market (double-cab only)
- The new pickup truck model L200 was introduced in Thailand.
- Production is concentrated in the MSC Thai Laem Chabang Plant, from where it is exported worldwide.
- Three body variations include Single Cab, Club Cab, and Double Cab for exports. Powered by 2.5-litre diesel engines. The 4WD mechanism is equipped with innovative “Easy Select 4WD” system.
- The new L200 pickup was introduced in Thailand. Sales in other markets started sequentially following the introduction in Thailand.
- Three body configurations – Single Cab, Club Cab, Double Cab, and powered by a newly-developed 2.5-litre common-rail diesel. Drivetrain options are 2WD and a 4WD equipped with “Easy Select 4WD” or “Super Select 4WD” systems.
- The 5th generation is introduced in Thailand. Sales in other markets follow.
- Three body configurations – Single Cab, double door Club Cab, and Double Cab. Powered by a newly-developed 2.4-litre MIVEC diesel turbo. Drivetrain options are 2WD and 4WD, with the availability of “Super Select 4WD-II” system, which adopted an electronic actuator.
And the future of the pickup will soon be revealed.