In 2008, the old Top Gear crew traveled to Japan, where Jeremy Clarkson raced a new Nissan GT-R against the bullet train. And on the sidelines of that JDM event, James May decided to introduce us to a strange local supercar called the Mitsuoka Orochi.
“Its looks are based on a fish, a snake, and Pamela Anderson’s mouth,” he joked. And at that time, the automotive world learned that Mitsuoka is the 10th largest automaker in the country. Almost 14 years later, I still don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve become somewhat obsessed with the brand.
They made something called the Viewt, which was like a London taxi based on a little Nissan (technically, it looks like a Jaguar). There’s also the Le-Seyde, the Galue, and the Himiko, all based on new cars, but styled like they’re from the last century.
However, most of those are out of production, and pretty soon, the Mitsuoka Rock Star will also be put to pasture. So I thought the Miata community would like to see it one last time. While the last Rock Star is red and is the only one built as a right-hand-drive car, this feature is about a real-life example that’s being owned and driven in Japan by a guy named Tatsuya.
Miatas are some of the most customizable cars out there, light-hearted little roadsters that capture your imagination. And apparently, Mitsuoka looked at the ND MX-5 and thought “American roadster”. We say this because the styling package for the Rock Star obviously tries to mimic a Corvette. You just need to Google “C2 Corvette” or “66 Vette” to know what we’re talking about.
A Miata can be anything it wants
A completely new front end has been grafted to the little MX-5. Just like the Pit Crew Miata, this integrates the front bumper and the two fenders into one piece. A vented hood has also been added, square and retro-looking. At the back, the illusion is sold by the coke bottle hips, the quad exhaust pipes, and four round taillights.
Other elements contribute to the Rock Star’s Corvette looks, such as the chrome bumpers, roll hoops, and small wheels. However, this fantasy is not complete. A Corvette would have pop-out headlights, but those would be expensive to engineer, so Mitsuoka just gave it little bug-eyed projectors.
And last time we checked, Corvettes of that era can’t have negative camber like a custom 86 or some low-riding Civic; the suspension simply would allow that. But we really like how this integrates elements of American and Japanese custom cars.
And don’t think it’s a cheap copycat either. The Rock Star costs 5.2 million yen in Japan, which is about $45,000 right now. That’s nearly C2 Corvette money.