Mitsuoka M55, the one-off that will be a reality

Did the name sound familiar to you? Mitsuoka? The truth is that you have to be a great connoisseur to know the origin and models of this Japanese automobile company, but even more so to differentiate its M55 of a future evolution of the Dodge Challenger that we all know.

And such is the resemblance to the American muscle car, that you have to look twice at the photo to realize that no, it is not a Dodge Challenger, but a highly modified Honda Civic. Such has been the popular demand for this car that it was born as a one-off and in 2025 it will be a reality due to the overwhelming demand from the Japanese public.

This model, based specifically on the 11th generation of the Honda Civic, has experienced a transformation complete visual to adopt the appearance of a Dodge Challenger, fusing elements of various American muscle cars into a five-door fastback. Come let me tell you the story.

Origins of Mitsuoka

Mitsuoka Motor (光岡自動車 Mitsuoka Jidōsha) is a small Japanese automobile company that specializes in the manufacture of modern automobiles with an exterior design reminiscent of the British and American vehicles from the 1950s and 1960s.

He stands out for his role as a coachbuilder, transforming production vehicles such as the Nissan Micra or the Mazda MX-5 by replacing their bodies with his own designs that bring them closer to the American continent than to the Asian continent. Among its most representative models is the Mitsuoka Orochi, a sports car with futuristic lines based on the Honda NSX, and the retro-style Mitsuoka TD2000 convertible, inspired by the classic MG TD.

Mitsuoka models are only sold in Japan and are manufactured at their industrial plant in the city of Toyama. Since the launch of his first model, the “BUBU Shuttle” (a single-seat car), Mitsuoka has ventured into the development of replica cars, exploring new fields hitherto unexplored in Japan.

In 1993, they presented their «Viewt«, which combining style and fun, became a pioneer in the development of fashion automobiles, this car was its first step towards becoming a recognized coachbuilder in Japan. The following year, they released a second sports car with an original design chassis, the “Mitsuoka Zero-1» which received several national awards for its disruptive design.

The project: Mitsuoka M55

The Mitsuoka M55 Concept was presented in November 2023 in celebration of the company's 55th anniversary and pays tribute to the 1970s with nostalgic references and more current touches. Although it shares the platform with the Honda Civic Hatchback, its redesigned body makes it practically unrecognizable; as you can see.

Although the company does not mention specific models as a source of inspiration, the similarities are evident. The front part is reminiscent of Dodge Challenger thanks to the quad headlights in an elongated grille, while the fastback tail with slats on the rear glass evokes the style of the Ford Mustang.

Even though that him cabin While keeping the windshield, roofline and doors unchanged, longer front and rear overhangs modify the Civic's proportions. Interior modifications are limited to retro-style upholstery and the incorporation of Mitsuoka emblems, taking advantage of the minimalism of the Honda's control panel.

A one-off that was born not to be

Although the concept was initially presented as a single example created to commemorate Mitsuoka's 55th anniversary, the enthusiastic response from the public led the company to make the decision to take it to production.

Whether due to its presence at the Japanese fairs where the first version was presented or on the ad hoc website that they created to present it worldwide, the success was overwhelming: the company received more than 1,300 emails from people in love with the model to Ask about their prices, engines and future availability.

One of the pillars of the company, as we have been able to read on its website, is «create exciting cars» and the effect of the request has been so great that its president himself has confirmed that in 2025, Japanese fans of this new model will be able to have it available. This is peer pressure. We hope to see new information in the future about this Civic «challengueado” and “mustanized«, but above all about the possible engines that it can mount. Surely more than one Japanese fan is dreaming of the Type R's JDM engine.

And who doesn't…

(photo gallery)

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