I really do like Mitsuoka. They’re weird and fun, and it’s impossible to be an automotive enthusiast without appreciating their accomplishments over the years. However, I’m about to say some very bad things about Mitsuoka.
Because, with one exception, damn, Mitsuoka makes some ugly automobiles:
Like that photo of a baby with Rowan Atkinson’s face, there’s something adorably abhorrent going on here. Classic British luxury style just doesn’t pair well with vanilla Japanese sedan. They are incongruous.
My catch today is a Mitsuoka that defies facial recognition… because all I got is an ass:
And the reason I only got the ass is because I figured whoever owns this example of automotive treachery would probably want to give me a lecture on the car, so I snapped the photo and booked it. The car is a 1990 Mitsuoka Le-Seyde, based on the S13 Silvia. Wikipedia says 500 of these were made, and that Mitsuoka claimed they sold out within 72 hours. Here’s what the front looks like:
The fact that this and so many other neoclassical crapwagons managed to exist is disturbing. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that the Le-Seyde appears to be a copy of the 1986 Tiffany Coupe. At least the Viewt, Galue and Ryuji abominations were inspired by designs with substance. I think the Le-Seyde is interesting, though, because I had always thought of the neoclassical automotive styling trend as a distinctly American phenomenon. As it turns out, tastelessness abounds in Japan, too.
Mitsuoka apologists might argue that the rest of us don’t understand – that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we shouldn’t judge their unconventional aesthetic sense. But the whole point of owning one of these travesties is, as Mitsuoka themselves admit, for fashion’s sake:
“We introduced around 10 models of fashion cars since the ‘Viewt’ in 1993. The cumulative produced volume of our fashion cars has reached 12 thousand units.”
Twelve thousand. That’s actually a lot, so prepare yourself if you plan on visiting the Land of the Rising Sun. They’re out there.
P.S. I do happen to be deeply in love with the Orochi. Even though it represents everything I hate about fashion brands defiling things I like (Honda NSX in this case), just look at this delectable perversion:
It’s like McRib level guilty pleasure. I hope to catch one in the flesh one day.
Every week on Gaijindom, we feature an automobile sighting. Usually the automobile is Japanese; sometimes it’s not. But it’s always an automobile in Japan.