An old school sports car, in more ways than one
It's of common knowledge that, if you're planning on using someone else's chassis to base your new sports car on, you can't go far wrong with a Mazda MX-5. With one of the finest-balanced setups at this end of the market, the current incarnation of the MX-5 in particular is a great platform to build on - as Fiat and Abarth have already found with their 124 Spider variants. Soon, though, another Mazda MX-5-based roadster will be released, by none other than the quirky Japanese car maker that is Mitsuoka.
According to the spokespeople we've been chatting with, the Mk 4 MX-5-based Mitsuoka Roadster is due for release sometime in 2018, with the donor car's transmission options and 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine set to be carried over to the Mitsuoka. It was also confirmed that the hand-crafted exterior won't be a drastic evolution over the current car's bodywork - so expect an aesthetic to be reminiscent of a Morgan Aero 8 that's been left in the tumble dryer for too long. That said, the changes that have been made will follow function over form. For instance, whereas the current Mitsuoka Roadster has fake hood vents, the 2018 car will have legit ones.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the new Mitsuoka Roadster we were able to ascertain, though, was that the car likely won't be exclusively available as a soft-top. Allegedly, a Mitsuoka Roadster variant based on the Mazda MX-5 RF, complete with that car's folding hard top roof, is being considered. Though the representatives we spoke to did stress nothing had been confirmed, the strong and respectful working relationship Mazda and Mitsuoka have with each other does increase the likelihood of an RF-based Mitsuoka being green-lit at some point. Not that it'll mean much for us here in the States, considering Mitsuoka won't be selling any Roadster variant here.