This Honda Civic Masquerades as a Dodge Challenger

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By Car Brand Experts

Should you be familiar with Mitsuoka, you are likely acquainted with the unique and divisive vehicles crafted by the small Japanese automaker. From the unconventional design of the Honda NSX-based Orochi to the Buddy, a reimagined Toyota RAV4 resembling a K5 Chevy Blazer, Mitsuoka operates unconstrained by the norms that bind other automakers, answering to no one but themselves. It’s evident that the company is unfazed by public opinion regarding their latest creation, the M55 Concept, a Civic hatchback transformed into a ’70s Japanese or American sports car miniaturized to fit in your pocket.

The origins of the M55 stem from the company’s 55-year history since its establishment in 1968. A time marked by significant cultural shifts, as Mitsuoka highlights in its promotional material for the M55, characterized by the introduction of color television, air conditioning, and notably, accessible GT cars. This era serves as the inspiration behind the M55’s design. Regardless of personal opinions on the outcome, the nostalgic influence is unmistakable.

The decision to base the design on the 11th-gen Civic hatch was strategic, given its resemblance to a fastback design. This aligns with the iconic fastback profile of Japan’s performance vehicles during that era, such as the original Toyota Celica, the “Kenmeri” Nissan Skyline GT-R, and the 240Z.

The result is a blend of a Civic body with a Dodge Challenger front and a rear window featuring louvers. While the original Civic’s silhouette is discernible, the absence of fender-mounted side mirrors is a notable deviation. Personally, the overall aesthetic appears slightly disparate, considering the daunting task Mitsuoka undertook to transform a modern compact into a ’70s sports car; any superior outcome would have been miraculous. If debating between extravagant Civics in awkward costumes, I would still opt for this over a new Integra.

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Mitsuoka Motor

If Mitsuoka incorporated mechanical modifications, they have remained undisclosed. Typically, the company refrains from altering the mechanics, as seen in the Buddy, where the retro exterior masked a standard RAV4. The other standout revision in the M55 is the sedan’s seats, recognized for their impeccable design. Blue leather upholstery adorned with grommets exudes elegance. Although the cabin’s aesthetic mirrors the 11th-gen Civic, the difference is felt in the luxurious seating.

Curious about the production prospects of the M55? Mitsuoka’s stance is unequivocal on this matter. According to the Japanese publication Car Watch, the answer is a definitive “no.” The M55 seems too eccentric for commercial viability, as decided by the same minds behind Japan’s Jaguar Mark 2-inspired Toyota Yaris and a Mazda Miata reimagined as a C3 Corvette, complete with a unique left-hand-drive conversion. Even Mitsuoka upholds certain standards, whether or not they align with conventional expectations.

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