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The Mitsuoka M55 Concept is an ode to ’70s styling

It’s more than just a Civic in cowboy boots

Apart from British-inspired creations, Mitsuoka also has two very American-like vehicles. PHOTOS FROM MITSUOKA

Everyone is well aware of what the people who obsess over Japanese culture are called: “Japanophile” or a “weeb.” But in Japan, there is an informal term for those who love American culture, called アメリカかぶれ (America kabure).

We think that’s what some of the boffins at Mitsuoka Motor are, as they have come out with some very American-inspired coach-built creations, like the 1980 Chevy Blazer-inspired Buddy (which is just a RAV4) and the Rock Star (which is an ND Miata dressed up to resemble a C2 Corvette).

Yes, you're looking at an 11th-generation Honda Civic. PHOTOS FROM MITSUOKA

That brings us to its latest creation, the M55 Concept.

No, this is not some AI-generated vehicle or an attempt to spark rumors about a four-door Dodge Challenger, but a coach-built concept car based on an 11th-generation Honda Civic hatchback made to celebrate the company’s 55th anniversary.

It's the small details like these that set Mitsuoka apart from other coachbuilders. PHOTOS FROM MITSUOKA

This is more than just a Challenger-inspired bodykit. Think of it as a love letter to the styling of the ’70s, with cues taken from American and Japanese designs of that era.

There’s the polished chrome-lined snout that frames four round LED headlights and the grille, and a reshaped hood with a distinct center line. Modern-looking 18-inch multi-spoke wheels are wrapped by Michelin Primacy 4s but have white tire lettering. Finally, rear window louvres and new taillights with a ducktail spoiler round up the rear end.

We're not sure how else Mitsuoka could have tastefully modified the interior. PHOTOS FROM MITSUOKA

The automaker’s special website doesn’t mention anything about the specifications, but any gearhead will be able to recognize the Civic’s distinctive C-pillar kink.

That connection becomes even stronger when you peer inside, as most of the Civic’s interior remains untouched, save for the blue leather seats with old-school ventilation holes and the stamped silver Mitsuoka emblem occupying the space where a Honda badge would normally sit on the steering wheel.

But hey, at least it comes with three pedals and a six-speed manual transmission.

This is one concept car you'll be able to see in person if you find yourself in Japan for the holidays. PHOTO FROM MITSUOKA

Mitsuoka currently has no plans to put this into production, but if you find yourself in Japan this holiday season, you will be able to see the car in the metal in Mitsuoka’s Azabu showroom at 2-3-3 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, until December 16.

It will also be on display in Mitsuoka’s Toyama showroom at 270-1 Shimokutsuwada Fuchumachi in Toyama City from January 12 to 28, 2024. Does this concept tickle your fancy?

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.