Mitsuoka M55 Concept Pairs 1970s Flavor With Modern Honda Civic Bones

Update 3/7/24: The Mitsuoka M55 will be produced! A press release from Mitsuoka (in Japanese) in late February indicates that the response to the concept was overwhelming. After ensuring the company could acquire enough Honda Civics to carry out the conversions, the M55 should debut sometime in 2025. The company received over 1,300 inquiries in just a few months through its website, and that appears to have tipped the scales in the M55’s favor. The car will be hand-built so Mitusoka makes it clear that production will not satisfy demand. So, there you have it: another fascinating, unusual Mitsuoka is headed to production.

The original article continues below.

This is the Mitsuoka M55 concept, looking for all the world like a love letter to 1970s automotivedom—which it most definitely is, given that it honors the company’s 55th birthday. Mitusoka points to the Japanese love affair with American car culture and styling, and the emergence of hot GT cars in Japan (think Hakosuka Skyline), and the M55 concept aims to capture that vibe. Cop the rear louvers, the quad round headlights, the grille’s mid-Atlantic accent (looking a bit like a Lancia-flavored Challenger), the lip spoiler and the ovoid Datsun-esque taillights.

And then catch the front three-quarters and realize there’s no 1970s front-engine, rear-drive chassis under there. In fact, it’s a modern Honda Civic with an elaborate face- and, uh, tail-lift. Everything between the A- and C-pillars is 100 percent Civic, and the interior gets only the lightest retro touches (like the admittedly awesome grommeted sport seats). But really, it sort of looks like a Dodge Challenger or Charger that’s been through some things.

It’s a very Mitsuoka pastiche of cool bits grafted onto an improbable donor vehicle, and that’s the company’s modus operandi. But will the company build it? It’s really no stranger than the company’s other products, nor does it seem more difficult to produce, so perhaps it just depends on the interest generated from its exhibition at a couple of Japanese Mitsuoka dealerships over the next couple of months. We can tell you this: 25 years from now, if you want to stand out at a Honda car show, this will be the model to import.