Remembering Japanese cars from the past

Tag: bubu shuttle-50

Dare to stand out: buy a Mitsuoka!

What JNC is so ugly that it is cute? That was basically JNC’s last weeks question of the week. Iā€™d say anything that leaves the Mitsuoka factory. I’m reposting my comment because I think it is an answer that I have that deserves a bit more length than I gave it in the comment. Also don’t take this posting too seriously: I’m ranting more than reasoning down below. šŸ˜‰
Mitsuoka BUBU Shuttle-50
Mitsuoka started their car company by producing the Shuttle 50, passed on its technology to the BUBU 50 and by then things still were fine. It started to go downhill once Mitsuoka built a Mercedes-Benz SSK and Porsche 356 lookalike cars using the underpinnings of existing cars.

Both cars were received quite well and to illustrate how well they did their job, can you see the difference between a Porsche 356 and the Bubu 356 below?
Mitsuoka Bubu 356
I have to look at least thrice to notice tiny little differences… So there is nothing wrong (yet) with these almost perfect replicas. However these two cars initiated the shift in focus towards retro styled cars.

From then onwards Mitsuoka became a carrozzeria that built retro-lookalike cars based upon an existing chassis (mostly Nissan and Honda). This would not have been bad at all if they did things like Nissan did with the Pikes cars (Be/Figaro/Pao/S-Cargo). Mitsuoka chose instead for the baroque way and created hideous cars in the 90s like the Le-Seyde (S13 meets Cruella de Vil), Ryoga (Primera P11 meets Jaguar XK120) and best (or worst) of all the Viewt (March K11 meets Jaguar Mark 2).
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Friday Video: Mitsuoka BUBU 501 Ninja action

I wasn’t really aware of Mituoka’s past and assumed they started building kit-cars at first and then creating their own cars. Actually they did manufacture their own cars before that! May I introduce to you the BUBU Shuttle-50:
Mitsuoka BUBU Shuttle-50
The Shuttle-50 is probably the most boring “car” you ever have seen, but somehow Mitsuoka managed to sell quite a few of them!

More interesting are the successors of the Shuttle-50: the Mitsuoka BUBU 501 (sedan) and Mitsuoka BUBU 502 (van)!
Mitsuoka BUBU 501
Both are nothing more than a fiberglass body on a tubular chassis and a Honda 50cc moped engine. As the BUBU branding was obviously not as appealing in Japan it was branded as the Honda Zoe Zipper overseas.

Reverse gear on Mitsuoka BUBU 501
As the Honda engine lacked a reverse the BUBU 501 also features an electric motor connected to a bar that directly connects to the tire and rolls the car backwards.

Now the Mitsuoka BUBU 501 may not appeal to you but I can ensure you that you can outrun a couple of Toyota Hi-Ace Ninjas on roller-skates with it! You can watch it here in action: Continue reading

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