Earlier this week, we talked about retromodding and, with the help of a modern Dodge Challenger virtually posing as a ’68 Charger, made a case for this form of car customization. However, while a muscle car impersonating a classic example of the breed might seem controversial to some enthusiasts, that’s nothing compared to this S197-generation Mustang. A real-life conversion coming from Japanese specialist Mitsuoka Motor, the pony comes with a front end resembling a 1960s Bentley and then some.
Given the oddball character of this ‘Stang, one might expect the thing to be a one-off, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, we’re dealing with a product that used to be a part of Mitsuoka’s range. A small specialist, the company has been in business since 1968 and can be arguably defined as a coachbuilder.
As Mihnea noted when discussing the Mitsuoka Rock Star back in February (nothing to see there, just a Miata that looks like a C2 Corvette), most enthusiasts know the company after having come in contact with the Orochi.
Mitsuoka’s most ambitious project to date, this supercar uses a first-gen Honda NSX chassis, with its polarizing exterior being officially described as the embodiment of the mythical Yamata no Orochi 8-headed Japanese dragon.
The Mitsuoka Orochi entered production in 2006 and was retired in 2014—it became so popular among those with an outlandish taste that Liberty Walk even build a widebody kit for it. Around the same time, the company introduced this Mustang-based contraption, which is dubbed Galue Convertible. The Galue range was larger, including a standard sedan and even a limo, but none of these machines are still in production based on what I could find on the company’s website.
The fifth-generation Ford Mustang was a natural choice for the Japanese coachbuilder
Now, with the specialist recently showcasing the open-air model on Instagram, this gave me a chance to show you the unusual Japanese side of the retromod realm.
The S197 iteration of the Mustang, which is the previous one, marked the pony’s return to retro design, being even more focused on this than the current S550. So it’s no surprise that Mitsuoka chose this for its Galue Convertible. However, it’s worth mentioning that the specialist also has a knack for turning otherwise modern-looking machines into vintage-flavored toys. And the best example of this is the Toyota RAV4-based Mitsuoka Buddy, which resembles the Chevy K5 Blazer.
The said 1960s Bentley front end may be from the same era as the original Mustang, but we can’t say the same thing about the posterior. This is where we find thin vertical taillights that remind us of the late 1990s Cadillac DeVille (not this unholy Cummins-swapped 1959 Coupe de Ville). Breaking Bad/Better Caul Saul fans will recognize this as the vehicular choice Saul Goodman made once he got his finances in order. And, just like Bob Odenkirk’s character, this styling is controversial, to say the least.
The cabin doesn’t seem to sport any custom bits, but at least the factory Ford features an old-school appearance.
Back in the days when the Mitsuoka Galue Convertible was still available as a new car, this didn’t come cheap. Including the admittedly-not-affordable-in-Japan Mustang base, the V8 model would set one back around $60,000, with the V6 model sitting some $10,000 lower. But hey, that’s the price one had to pay for standing out.