Car News: Oversteer
Mitsuoka Makes Some Really Weird-Looking Cars
A few weeks ago, I told you about the Mitsuoka Orochi, which I think is one of the strangest-looking automobiles I've ever seen. While researching that story, I discovered something else: Mitsuoka makes a wide variety of tremendously strange-looking vehicles, primarily using the same method: They take a normal Japanese car, usually a Nissan, and then they stick an old-looking front end on it.
The image above is the Mitsuoka Galue, and it's possibly the most extreme example of the Mitsuoka design language. Here's a basic description of this vehicle: You have a standard-issue Nissan Primera in the rear 3 quarters...and in the front quarter, you have one of the single strangest things I've ever seen.
Seriously: Look at the size of that front-quarter, panel-bumper situation and tell me how they possibly get that thing on the car. And yet, there it is, adding about 2 feet to the front of a 4-cylinder, front-wheel-drive, midsize sedan so it can appear as if the driver is piloting a front-wheel-drive, midsize sedan that's growing a baby Rolls-Royce.
And no, this is absolutely not the only Mitsuoka like this. In fact, while Mitsuoka makes a few normal vehicles that they've fully created on their own -- such as the aforementioned Orochi -- many of the company's cars have these strange front ends. Also included in our images above are the Mitsuoka Ryoga, based on an older Nissan Primera, and the Mitsuoka Nouera, based on the Honda Accord (the U.S.-market Acura TSX).
So how is this a sustainable business? I'm not sure -- but I think I've figured out exactly what Mitsuoka is. It's essentially a Japanese version of Zimmer or Excalibur, the U.S. companies that famously customize Ford Mustangs and Thunderbirds into extravagant, Great Gatsby-like coupes with enormous front ends and lots of excess trim and unnecessary styling elements. Except, in Japan, they don't have Mustangs and Thunderbirds, and they don't have room for Zimmers, which are, like, 4 feet longer than a normal Mustang. So they just use typical Japanese sedans -- and this is the result.
I have no idea how popular Mitsuoka vehicles are in Japan, but I'm shocked that anyone buys them at all. With that said, I'm glad they exists, because I seriously enjoy gawking at them. Gawking...and laughing.
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
Images from Reedhawk, ypy31, and Tokumeigakarinoaoshima.