World Encyclopedia of Cars
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Mitsuoka

Mitsuoka

Mitsuoka is a company with reputation of the most original and extravagant Japanese automaker and, rather, with the shortest history. It was founded by Susumu Mitsuoka who after graduation at the time had employed in Hino Motors company. But the job there was against his hair and in 1968 he resigned. The same year Mitsuoka rented empty horse stable in Toyama prefecture and organized a shop for repair and predelivery inspection of cars. Since that moment Mitsuoka history begins. The company had employed, besides the founder, only three people at that time. For the first time his things were going bad but a year later situation improved and after some years the company already owed by developed branch network including 20 branches all over the country.

After power crisis in Japan and rapid jump in fuel prices Mitsuoka begun to import one-seated cars with motorcycle engines of 50 СЃСЃ capacity from France. They didn't require driver's license - according to local legislation they were equivalent to motorcycles. In 1982 Mitsuoka Motors started production of cars by own design. These cars were jokingly called Bubu Shuttle and were intended for invalids. For some next years Bubu line was expanded with new versions until Mitsuoka had decided to launch full-sized car production.

To fulfill his dream Mitsuoka left for USA and thoroughly studied work of small automobile companies for production of replicars - copies of old cars. Using his experience he has begun to produce replicars on his plant in Toyama. He mounted fiberglass body on the chassis of serial cars with appearance of prestige and famous retro cars, such as models of Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Daimler. The turnout was limited - some hundred items of each model, but they had a guaranteed demand. On May of 1990 Mitsuoka released original Le-Seyde model in amount of 500 cars which were sold over 4 days. In 1991 was issued another original model named Dore and in 1993 - Viewt model. Viewt's history is rooted back to legendary Jaguar Mark II of 1956. At the first years of its production 1000 cars were sold - it's a great amount for retro cars. Viewt is equipped with 1000 cc and 1400 cc engines with power of 60 and 85 hp respectively and automatic gearbox. Front-driven and rear-driven versions are available. In 1994 Mitsuoka developed construction of Zero 1 model. He was aimed to create a car imbued with "national Japanese psyche". Speaking of Zero 1 popularity, Mitsuoka has managed it. Thanks to Mazda engine with 1800 cc capacity and 130 hp power as well as light fiberglass body Zero 1 accelerates up to 160 km/h.

At the same time in 1994 Mitsuoka Motors was certified by Transportation Department of Japan which allowed to produce cars of own construction and it made Mitsuoka tenth Japanese automaker. It was a sensation for media.

Nevertheless Mitsuoka still remains a little company with stuff of 419 people only. Company's plant produces only several cars per day. There are no standard containers for welding works, assembly is mostly performed manually. In 2001 in Yokohama was opened own showroom of Mitsuoka. Besides, dealerships of company are located in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Brunei. The philosophy of Sususmu Mitsuoka represents production of cars with no analogues. This philosophy has proved its value what is evident from commercial success.

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