We motoring journalists are used to meeting race drivers all the time. We've met the likes of Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Alex Zanardi and Jarno Trulli, among many others. We're also used to riding shotgun with professional drivers, Russ Swift among them. But someone from our ranks has one-upped the rest of us. In a big way, we must add.
Last February 18 at the Clark International Speedway, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines let the motoring media drive the new Montero Sport GTV, which now boasts a "variable geometry turbo" diesel engine. To demonstrate the full potential of the vehicle, Mitsubishi flew in two-time Dakar Rally champion Hiroshi Masuoka from Japan. Masuoka drove the Pajero to the Dakar Rally title in 2002 and 2003.
Most everyone took turns in riding with Masuoka around a short dirt track. That was pretty neat. However, one motoring journalist in particular got the experience of his life when Masuoka took the keys of his (the journalist's) 1990 Pajero and drove it around the dirt track with our colleague in the passenger seat. The lucky journalist in question is Jason de la Cruz. Afterward, Masuoka signed the dashboard of Jason's Pajero with a permanent silver marker.
We tell Jason that the joyride has practically boosted his Pajero's market value. He is already the third owner of the 2.5-liter turbodiesel-powered unit, which had been sourced from Finland through the gray market. He bought it from a friend in 2007 and says its current market value is some P350,000.
So now our question is: How much would Jason sell his Masuoka-driven (and signed, lest you forget) Pajero for if somebody really wanted to pry it off his hands?
"I don't know," he said. "Maybe for twice the normal price?"
That means Jason is only letting go of his Pajero if somebody is willing to plunk down P700,000 for it. Do you think this is a realistic price given the vehicle's recent brush with fame? Chime in through the poll below.