AWD hybrid system in a car from 1917? That's brilliant!

How do you celebrate a birthday? Call your friends, make a party, and have fun, right? Yes, it’s that simple. But Mitsubishi takes celebrations for its 100th birthday to a whole new level – the brand will rebuild its first-ever passenger vehicle with a modern hybrid technology.

The vehicle in question is the Model A which debuted in 1917 and will be recreated by West Coast Customs. Interestingly, the modern reincarnation of the car will be based on the platform of the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

Basically, this means this lovely classic Model A you see on the picture above will be powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, supported by two electric motors and a 12-kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery pack. There’s one electric motor for each axle, giving the machine four-wheel drive through the company’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system.

It would be very interesting to see how all the electronics of this complicated hybrid system will be integrated into the body of the Model A. Will it get modern safety features like a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert, and a forward collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection technology?

More about the Outlander PHEV:


As for the original Model A, it was actually launched by the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company, a member of the Mitsubishi conglomerate which would eventually evolve into Mitsubishi Motors. The vehicle used the architecture of the Fiat Tipo 3 and featured a seven-seat layout. Power was provided by a 2.8-liter straight-four engine with 35 horsepower (26 kilowatts), channeled to the rear wheels and giving the car a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour).

Only 22 examples were manufactured, including prototypes, between 1917 and 1921 – all of them made by hand. It was an expensive vehicle and couldn’t compete against the cheaper American and European models of that era. The Model A wasn’t a great success for the company, which instead of passenger cars focused on its successful Fuso commercial vehicles.

Note: 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV pictured in the gallery.

Source: Mitsubishi

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2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV live in New York

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To celebrate its centennial anniversary, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) is reaching back to its beginning. In partnership with West Coast Customs, Mitsubishi will re-create the vehicle that started it all, the Mitsubishi Model A, with the latest technology found in the brand in this century. West Coast Customs will build a current day Mitsubishi Model A with the looks of the original 1917 vehicle on the platform of the brand's most technologically advanced vehicle, the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

"We're proud to be a 100-year-old brand with a rich heritage in the automotive landscape. The Mitsubishi Model A is the vehicle that paved the way for many other unique and exciting models over the years and we're excited to re-design it with West Coast Customs," said Francine Harsini, senior director, marketing at MMNA. "The Mitsubishi Model A will feature all the distinctive aspects of the 1917 vehicle, but will be built on the PHEV platform and offer the latest in automotive technology."

In 1917, the Mitsubishi Model A was the first car ever to be adorned with the three-diamond emblem when launched in Japan marking the beginning of a global automotive company that has now spanned a century of technological innovation. With the Model A, Mitsubishi's automotive history began with a 22-car production run of Japan's very first series of mass-produced vehicles.

West Coast Customs CEO and Founder, Ryan Friedlinghaus had this to say about the ground-breaking customization endeavor, "We are incredibly honored to have been chosen to take on this iconic build for Mitsubishi that celebrates the centennial anniversary of the company's first mass produced vehicle. It is an incredibly exciting opportunity to be able to integrate the history of the original Mitsubishi Model A with the technology of current-day Mitsubishi vehicles to recreate the Mitsubishi Model A. Team members in every department of West Coast Customs are super excited to be involved with this build - truly a piece of automotive history."

The vehicle is being built at the West Coast Customs facility in Burbank, CA and will be completed this summer. The build will be featured on an episode of Inside West Coast Customs, which airs on the Velocity network, Tuesdays, 9 PM PDT/EDT.

The Outlander PHEV is a perfect culmination of Mitsubishi's history of automotive excellence: 50 years of electromobility and decades of four-wheel drive technology honed on the international rally circuit. Featuring a highly efficient 2.0-liter gas engine and two high-performance electric motors, and Mitsubishi's superior Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV delivers SUV capabilities and EV fuel economy. For more information on Mitsubishi Motors and the Outlander PHEV visit media.mitsubishicars.com.