Take one of the best new roadsters available and make it look like a classic, British sports car.
Japan's Mitsuoka is a wonderfully weird company that tends to graft bizarre looks onto existing vehicles. Its latest project is the Himiko that takes the thoroughly modern looking Mazda MX-5 Miata and transforms the exterior to be a retro-inspired roadster.
With its incredibly long hood and short rear deck, the Himiko's clearest inspiration comes from classic British roadsters like models from Morgan, MG T-Series, and even Jaguar XK120. True to Mitsuoka's past, the Himiko's design has some weird touches. For example, sections of the front fenders and trunk are satin black, and it simply doesn't match the rest of the retro design because this cue appears too modern.
The interior is identical to the Miata, too, except for Mitsuoka tweaking the upholstery. It even retains modern amenities like blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and Mazda's infotainment system on top of the dashboard.
Mitsuoka stretches the Miata's overall length to 180.3 inches (4,580 millimeters) from 154.1 inches (3,914 mm) Mazda's version of the roadster. Mechanically, the vehicle doesn't change, though. Power comes from a Skyactiv-G 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 129 horsepower (96 kilowatts) and 111 pound-feet (150 Newton-meters) of torque. Buyers can choose whether the power routes through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
A weird roadster like this could be a hit in the United States, assuming the price is right. The Miata is already one of the best sports cars on the market in its class, and the Himiko looks like practically no other new car on the road – other than the handful of Morgans entering the country.
Mitsuoka built a retro-inspired, Miata-based roadster (pictured above) in the past and actually offered them for sale in the United Kingdom. It even featured a power-retractable hardtop. Pricing at the time started at 53,800 pounds ($75,000 at current exchange rates).