The Mitsubishi Pajero is still a much loved family car sold for relatively little, offering roominess, off-road prowess, dependability and simplicity, mainly because it’s based on robust, 19th century technology.

It’s been around so long the Japanese have had plenty of time to fool around with all kinds of spin offs and limited editions, and they actually had a pretty good idea when they did the pint-sized Mitsubishi Pajero Junior based on a tiny key car.

Although it was short lived, built from 1995 to 1998 the Pajero Junior spawned quite a few specials, some certainly more ‘special’ than others. They called one of them the Pajero Junior Flying Pug, and they gave it a facelift off a London black cab.

On the move, it looked quite bad, and stationary, when you could really get a good look at it, it looked even worse. No wonder people didn’t buy it, and this oddity never made it out of its domestic market either, so even though Mitsubishi planned to make something like a thousand Flying Pugs, the poor thing only found 139 homes.

Everyone in Japan was riding the Brit-retro wave — see Mitsuoka, Nissan Figaro — and Mitsubishi’s intentions were interesting, although picking a London black cab for inspiration was never going to work. If the mug on this thing wasn’t enough to spook you, wait until you get the nasty surprise from the airbag when you fire it up — from 2001 Mitsubishi had to recall all Pajero Juniors for their tendency to blow up in your face at start-up.