What JNC is so ugly that it is cute? That was basically JNC’s last weeks question of the week. I’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. 😉
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?
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).
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:
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)!
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.
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
This Nissan Micra K11 was literally down on my street: it was parked on the parkinglot across the street!
My first reaction was: what the f*#K is that bodykit?
Then I realized it looked very familiar… A bit like a Mitsuoka or maybe a Riley or Wolseley? But later on I found out the grille is exactly the same shape as the one of a Glas Gogomobile TS250 Coupe!
From the rear the car is a normal Micra: Continue reading
No this is not a product of an undiscovered British car brand with an exotic name:
It is is also not the new London taxi built by a Chinese car manufacturer either…
It actually is a product by Mitsuoka called the Galue and is based upon the Nissan Crew taxi!
All Mitsuoka products are inspired by 40s and 50s British cars (like Jaguar, Rover, etc) and the two versions of the Galue are no exception to this rule: Continue reading
Back in the late fifties Jaguar launched the Mark 2 as a medium sized saloon and it was an instant hit! The Mark 2 entry level engine already had an output of 120hp (cars with ten times less horses were still for sale back then!) and its top model, the 3.8 litre XK model, featured an output of 220hp. To put that into contrast: that is about as much as the Lexus IS250 outputs nowadays.
Imagine then the creation of this little lookalike:
Yes from up front it really looks like a Jaguar Mark 2!
But from a different angle… Continue reading