Saying farewell to the world’s strangest car: the Mitsuoka Orochi

As an automotive journalist and a lover of cars, one of the things that I lament the most is the loss of strangeness in the automotive industry. Even Citroen, a bastion of odd decisions, has reformed itself. Now it looks like we are losing another standout of oddness, as the strangest looking production car I’ve ever seen, the Mitsuoka Orochi, is being discontinued.

Made by the small and largely domestic Japanese automaker Mitsuoka, the Orochi is simply bizarre. Car designers love talking about how their cars look like animals or sculptures, but most of the time it’s a stretch. The Orochi, named after a mythical dragon, definitely looks like a fish. And not a normal one either, it looks like a combination between a halibut and some sort of deep sea predator. Hell, the decorative hood vents – Orochi is mid-engined – even look like squid suckers.

The effect may not exactly be beautiful to my eyes, but I do like it. It seems like it would be more at home in an anime cartoon than the real world. And I appreciate that.

As for its mechanical underpinnings, it began life based on the Acura NSX platform. As for power, it was derived from a 233-horsepower Toyota V6. This hardly makes it a supercar. But in a country where cars are limited to 100 mph, the Orochi makes some sense. Especially when you consider that expensive cars are often made to be looked at more than driven.

Unfortunately, this dragon fish is not long for the world. According to AutoWeek the car will be going out of production after a seven-year run. I, for one, will miss knowing that you could lay down some yen for this astonishingly outlandish vehicle. I just hope that Misuoka replaces it with something that fills my need for automotive oddness. 

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