Mitsuoka has turned another small Japanese car into an American lookalike, and we're not mad.
Mitusoka, the Japanese coachbuilder behind the Rockstar (a Mazda MX-5 Miata turned into a Corvette lookalike), has revealed a new concept to celebrate its 55th anniversary that takes the new Honda Civic Hatchback and turns it into a doppelganger of the Dodge Challenger.
Officially called the Mitsuoka M55 Concept, it's aimed at a generation of car lovers as old as Mitsuoka is - 55 years old. Founded in 1968, Mitsuoka has forged a legacy of building oddball cars of American and British influence for Japan, with its most recent creation being the Buddy, a Toyota RAV4 disguised as a Chevy K5 Blazer.
As for the M55, it buys into the philosophy of an Americanized Japanese identity. And nothing is more Americanized than a muscle car of the Challenger's caliber.
Look at it for too long, and it's blatantly not a Dodge, but at a quick glance, especially from the front, the quartet of round headlights framed by black and a wide, slim grille on a blocky nose could easily hail from Detroit. The new front bumper is partnered with new front fenders and a new hood, although the shut line remains mostly the same. However, from the A-pillar to the C-pillar, this is straight Civic Hatchback, right down to the sharp flourish on the C-pillar itself.
The rear is another story entirely, with a sharp cut-off and a flat rear panel with oversized taillights that don't match the Challenger quite as well. You can also see the replacement body panels that fill in where the normal Civic's taillights usually wrap around the flanks of the car.
Two of the coolest details are the louvered rear window and the ducktail spoiler on the hatch itself, which are definite nods to American muscle cars from the 1970s.
The interior is mostly stock Civic, too, right down to the full-width air vent on the dash. However, the steering wheel now has a Mitsuoka logo on the airbag. The seats have also been re-upholstered, here in light blue leather with vintage-style grommets and quilting, while the front pair have the Mitsuoka logo on the headrest and "Mitsuoka M55 Concept" embroidered on the backrests.
Typically, Mitsuoka doesn't mess with the mechanical elements of the car, and we suspect the same to be true with this. That means you get the same 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder motor as the regular Civic Hatch, with a six-speed manual, front-wheel drive, and outputs of 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque.
There's no word on pricing, and the M55 is currently deemed a concept, but we're certain Mitsuoka will sell it to Japanese buyers.