For those who love the art of driving, the Mazda MX-5 is a special car. While most vehicles grow heavier and more complex as they age, the spunky Miata has actually improved its focus and handling purity over the years.
Mitsuoka, a small, offbeat Japanese automaker known for its quirky Orochi, has a different appeal. Its catalog is full of everything from compact microcars to full-size luxury cruisers with antique British styling; there’s even an open-top, Lotus Seven-based sports car called the Zero1 to be found.
The brand’s latest offering, the Mitsuoka Roadster, has just been announced, and it’s based on the third-generation MX-5. So what happens with an immaculate motoring icon meets an unconventional niche manufacturer? Madness. Pure madness.
Featuring “timeless styling,” the Mitsuoka Roadster wears a front end straight off a Jaguar XK150, with swoopy, elegant fenders flowing down the vehicle’s sides. The Miata’s chassis has been stretched as well, giving the vehicle a unique, sophisticated, and downright attractive look.
Underneath the graceful bodywork are many of the same components you’ll find in the ‘NC’ MX-5, including a 2.0-liter, 158-horsepower engine, a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. The Roadster also boasts luxurious features like heated leather seats, automatic climate control, and the “world’s fastest power-retractable hard top,” which can open and close in 12 seconds.
But then there’s the price. The Roadster will start at £53,800 in the U.K., which is a whopping $82,615 here in the United States. For reference, a 2015 MX-5 Grand Touring starts at just $29,450, though you won’t get quite the same looks behind the wheel as you would in Mitsuoka’s creation.
The Roadster is set to go on sale in the U.K. later this month.