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Is this Himiko Special Coachbuilding too?
Mitsuoka Himiko

Japanese motoring company Mitsuoka presents a very retro Brit-style Mazda MX5: the Himiko. This car is named after a Japanese Goddess. Mitsuoka is famous for taking Japanese cars and making them look old school and very English. Japanese like this kind of stuff.
Last year, Jeroen Booij visited the Japanese company to drive the psychedelic Orochi supercar. Jeroen then asked the designer: “Did the company ever consider to build a small sportscar, for example based on the Mazda MX-5?” The answer was: “Yes, we considered that. It seems a good idea, but for some reason our boss doesn't think we should do it.” Now it seems the boss - Akio Mitsuoka - has listened to Jeroen's plans by introducing the Himiko Roadster.

Mitsuoka Himiko

Special Coachbuilding from Japan? Is this possible? It looks like it...
Let's use our definition of Special Coachbuilding as a check list to find out.

A car can be considered a “special coachbuilt” if....
- a new body is manufactured.
- in limited series. Probably...
- based on an existing chassis of a series-produced car.
- whereby the chassis may be altered within certain limits. Check!
The front end of the car has been stretched by over 50 centimeters to create the long Morgan-like nose. The overall length is now 4.58 meters. The rest of the structure, including the folding hard top seems to have remained unaltered.

Mitsuoka Himiko

- The design and the actually produced body shall originate from an independent designer and coachbuilder. Check!
- The chassis shall receive the 'contemporary' (period) body within 10 years after the chassis’ debut. Check!
- The coachwork of the donor car shall be replaced within 10 years by a 'contemporary' (period) redesigned body.
Well... let's say yes. Check!

Contemporary means: complying with requirements and regulations of that particular period regarding construction, aerodynamics, roadholding, styling ‘zeitgeist’, legislation, etc. The Himiko body may not look very contemporary, because the design is very, very retro, but all components like head and tail lights are taken from other modern cars. The tail lights look like they are ordered from the Hella catalogue and the head lights are taken from the New Mini. Bumpers are integrated in a modern way as well.

Mitsuoka Himiko

- The car shall be fully road-legal and sellable in most parts of the world (though the definition of “’roadlegal’ may differ per country/territory).
Mitsuokas are almost solely sold in Japan, but let's give the Himiko the benefit of the doubt and say: Check!

- The new body may only be fitted by the coachbuilder in limited quantities and shall not be sold as a separate body kit.
Looking at the Mitsuoka website, you can see they build the car themselves so... Check!

The Himiko gets delivered with Mazda's standard 160 hp two litre engine and you can choose a manual or automatic gearbox. The car is available in only three colors: pearl white, metallic black and metallic red. The price in Japan will be 5,65 million Yen, which equals over 48,000 euros.

Mitsuoka Himiko

So... here we have a proper Special Coachbuilt car from Japan! What do we all think of it? Would you drive one or would you rather go for the real deal, the genuine Morgan?

Mitsuoka Himiko

Click here for the Mitsuoka Himiko gallery.
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