May the heavens bless , those Japanese purveyors of retro, custom car builders hopelessly pining for midcentury British style, a classic time kept alive through small Japanese sedan—who will be more than happy to sell you a pint-sized Jaguar Mark II based on a Nissan Micra, a Bentley based on a Toyota Corolla Axio. Culminating in the beautifully lurid Orochi: Mitsuoka's homegrown supercar named after a legendary and looking like one too, a "" that Western journalists could never fathom. Did you know that Mitsuoka, a family-run business, has been customizing cars since 1968? Or that it spent most of the Eighties building and ? Neither did we.
Says the , today: "we wanted to make a car charmed heartily, with freedom."
Consider the above Roadster, based on a Mazda Miata, heavily charmed, then. And thank the heavens it exists. Because the automotive world always could use a little weird.
And as of recent, you could buy a Mitsuoka conversion in England! Imagine blowing people's minds with a cross between a Morgan and a Jaguar XK120. Imagine looking through that mile-long hood, as God and Sir William intended. That's exactly what the folks at Honest John did, .
With about the length of a rugby field in front of the driver's cockpit, of course it won't be as agile. But they praised the build quality, enjoyed the admiring glances from every corner ("Has a real sense of occasion") and criticized the laughable interior, which is all but unchanged from the Miata's, a letdown.
"Expensive to drive," they summarized, "and not as well known in the UK." Hey, there's a precedent for that. At £53,800, it's not a cheap proposition. And, of course, it is also "very long."
One gets the impression that the reviewers expected to like this far less than they actually did. It is still a Miata, which—you know—is always the answer. Or so they say. And in that vein, a Japanese car originally aping a British roadster, transformed again by a Japanese company to resemble a British roadster even more, makes perfect sense.