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mitsuoka actually made a car look cooler

Mitsuoka actually made a car look cooler

Miata-based mini-me of a C2 Corvette Stingray is the cutest and most fuel-efficient Corvette ever

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

11 Oct 2018

We love ourselves some eccentricities in the automotive world. In an industry being overwhelmed by mundanity, the occasional oddball kookiness can be refreshing. You know who you can count on to provide said wackiness? The Japanese.

However, much like ice cream and “good morning” pictures in family Whatsapp groups, too much of a good thing can be detrimental to your health. Mitsuoka was unfortunately that. Having helped opticians keep their ledgers in the black with the outrageous Le Seyde and horrendous Orochi, we said “was” because they’ve redeemed themselves with some American flavour.

Meet the Rock Star; yes, that is its name. Starting life as an exquisite Mazda Miata ND, the quirks at Mitsuoka transformed it into a mini-me version of the legendary Chevy Corvette Sting Ray C2.

Built to mark the company’s 50-year anniversary, only 50 Rock Stars will be built and is the handsomest of the three anniversary models launched; comprising the ND Miata-based Himiko Jag-like roadster and “Devilman” edition Orochi that proved us wrong in thinking it couldn’t get any uglier.

Still, the Rock Star is pure salvation for the marque as it actually looks cooler than the base model. From the looks of it, only the doors and windshield are retained with every other panel redesigned.

Prior to this, their execution of classic design cues on modern cars have been vomit-inducing but this time around, they’ve pretty much nailed the proportions and styling of the classic C2 Sting Ray.

Nonetheless, integrating the iconic pop-up lights into a chassis never made to accommodate it was never going to happen so after some sake, the Japanese shrewdly placed a small projector headlight below the trademark frontal crease.

Other cues such as the L-shaped bumper blades, side heat-extraction “gills” and even the silver lower side sills are all present and accounted for.

Apart from the cosmetics, the rest of it remains standard Miata fare. Half the cylinders of the inspirational car are under the hood in the form of the SkyActiv 1.5-litre with 129hp and 150Nm of torque. If American muscle courses your veins, there’s always the Flyin’ Miata V8 swap kit.

You can have a six-speed manual or auto, with the former complemented by an optional limited-slip differential.

Six very yankee colours are available; Los Angeles Blue, Chicago Red, New York Black, Cisco Orange, Washington White and Arizona Yellow. Of course, custom colors for the body can be had but the one option you need to go for are the retro-style wheels with white-letter BF Goodrich tyres for the full Americana experience.

Stardom doesn’t come cheap and the Rock Star starts at 4,688,200 yen, or RM174,000 before taxes. Yeah… we know.