Photos: Mitsuoka

Condensed versions of American cars are nothing new for Asian car manufacturers. Take one look at the Mazda RX3, ’72-’76 Toyota Celica and some of the old Nissan Skylines and you’ll find lines and shapes that were pulled straight from Detroit back in the ’60s and ’70s. While we’re huge fans of Japan’s vintage mini muscle cars, there’s a new retro drop top on the market that has us especially jazzed. With looks that echo the iconic C2 Corvette, the Mitsuoka Rock Star is sure to be the next hot rebody for the Mazda MX-5 platform.

Mitsuoka Motors is a small firm headquartered in central Japan that mainly focuses on vehicle rebody projects and custom coachwork. While the majority of its projects have mirrored British styling, its newest offering takes aim at the ’63-’67 Corvette Sting Ray.

The resemblance is clear throughout the fender arches, hood, nose and tail, but it’s not a total knock off of the classic Vette. The most notable divergence is in the ground effects, which serve a couple purposes for the Rock Star. The contemporary front valence distinguishes the car a bit from the Corvette, but in a harmonious way. The silver accent on the side skirts and rear bumper also disguise the MX-5’s thicker bodywork. What’s also impressive is how well the MX-5’s stock windshield and door plays into the C2 scheme. The finished design is pretty seamless and unique for a rebody project.

As for its mechanicals, the Rock Star appears to be a standard ND Mazda Mx-5 with manual and automatic versions available. Mitsuoka advertises some additional options including custom interiors, unique convertible tops and nostalgic Torq-Thrust-style wheels. Mitsuoka’s website lists some interesting color options, including Los Angeles Blue, Chicago Red, New York Black, Cisco Orange, Washington White and Arizona Yellow.

But it’s not all good news on the Rock Star. The company’s website indicates that only 50 examples will be built, pretty much guaranteeing that you’ll never even see one up close — especially not in the U.S. We’re optimistic though, because we can clearly see a much bigger market for Mitsuoka to tap into.

Over four generations of MX-5, over one million examples have rolled off of Mazda’s production lines. Miatas are plentiful, cheap, and best of all, rear wheel drive. We’d love to see Mitsuoka sell the Rock Star as a DIY rebody kit for at least second and third generation MX-5s.

For now we’ll have to wait though, and hope that Mitsuoka answers our prayers. The 50 initial versions appear to be complete turn-key cars starting at 4,688,200 Yen, or roughly $41,740 USD.

https://www.mitsuoka-motor.com...