We have to say… we want one.
Left-field Japanese brand Mitsuoka, known for making classic car-eque Jaguar-inspired pseudo-luxury cars out of older Nissan models, has today launched a new sports car that is none of the above. It’s based on the current-generation Mazda MX-5 under the skin, and its looks draw inspiration from the Chevrolet Corvette of the early-60s and boy, does it look sensational.
It’s called the Mitsuoka Rock Star, and it’s perhaps one of the very prettiest cars that Mitsuoka has ever made. It’s been built to celebrate 50-years of Mitsuoka, and features a totally-reworked body that only carries over the windshield and doors from the donor Mazda (due to safety regulations, most likely).
Working with those unchangeable components, Mitsuoka has faithfully followed in the footsteps of the 60s ‘Vette and introduced gorgeous fenders front and rear, that are connected on either side by a sharp crease line that looks almost exactly like the American cruiser it’s based on. You’ll even find fender grilles behind the front wheels and even gills on the bonnet, just like the Corvette.
While the Rock Star manages to retain the quad-taillight look (albeit with more modern LEDs) and even the central fuel cap on the boot, they weren’t able to incorporate pop-up headlights. There are however absolutely tiny lights fitted on the front that really don’t upset the ‘Corvette tribute’ look of the car all that much. They’ve even fitted retro-styled 15-inch full-chrome alloys with period-correct BF Goodrich tyres, which just set off the look of this car beautifully.
But while Mitsuoka went to town on the outside, the interior’s remained largely the same (which is the same case with the Mazda-based Abarth 124 Spider, suggesting that Mazda’s placed only interior-modification restrictions on anyone who wants to use their cars as a platform).
That said it is a nice place to be, and features the MZD Connect infotainment system and its rotary control knob in the middle. There are Mitsuoka bits inside though like the badge on the steering wheel, and the seat upholstery.
There are six paint colours available (blue, red, black, orange, white, and yellow). Under the bonnet there’s Mazda’s peppy 1.5-litre four-pot, with 97kW and 152Nm, with power going to the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. Prices start from ¥4,688,200 (or just over $57k), which represents a significant premium over the ¥2,554,200 (or about $31k) that Mazda will charge you for a standard MX-5. But to us, that premium is totally, totally worth it.