Mitsuoka commemorates its 55th anniversary with the M55, a distinctive concept car resembling muscle cars of old, but underpinned by the current Honda Civic. The design, celebrating the company’s five-and-a-half decades of existence, pays homage to the 1970s, a pivotal era for Mitsuoka’s business development. While the M55 may initially evoke the aesthetics of the Challenger, a closer inspection reveals subtle influences from older hot hatches, creating a fusion of styles that includes elements reminiscent of Japanese coupes from the 1970s.
The exterior design of the M55 masterfully combines rear louvers with a square-jawed, domestic American iron front, presenting a convincing and captivating visual appeal. The frontal perspective exudes authenticity, while the rear end transports onlookers back to the 1970s, resembling classic Japanese coupes. However, the profile of the M55 unveils its modern foundation, showcasing the unmistakable hints of the contemporary Civic beneath its retro exterior.
Inside the cabin, the M55 maintains the familiar Civic layout, integrating vintage-looking seats and a Mitsuoka logo on the steering wheel. The retro-styled seats further contribute to the nostalgic ambiance, emphasizing the marriage of past and present in this unique concept vehicle.
Despite the captivating design, Mitsuoka remains tight-lipped about the technical specifications of the M55. While speculation suggests that the base might not be the FL5 Civic Type R, it is disclosed that a regular Civic hatchback underneath the distinctive exterior lies, equipped with a manual transmission and a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine.
Mitsuoka’s decision to display the M55 in Toyama and Tokyo over the winter suggests a keen interest in gauging public reception. The official statement emphasizes the concept’s intention to recapture the “hot magma” of the 1970s, disclaiming any immediate plans for production. However, it remains apparent that Mitsuoka is monitoring potential demand, leaving the door open for a production model if the response proves favorable. In the realm of automotive design, the M55 stands as a testament to Mitsuoka’s ability to blend modern engineering with retro aesthetics, embodying the essence of a bygone era while embracing the innovations of the present.
Now, the chances of Mitsuoka bringing in the M55, let alone setting up shop in the Philippines, is a long shot, considering how niche of a market the brand is and the types of vehicles they make in general, but hey at least we do get the Civic, just not in hatchback form or a manual transmission option.