You'll be reading a lot about the new Ford Mustang today, which is why I was planning on doing a story on the Mitsuoka Galue Convertible, a Mustang-based neo-classic.
For no particular reason, of course, besides how naming a Mustang-based car "Galue" is pretty funny.*
Laugh all you want at Mitsuoka, but you're missing out: they're cool. Founded on the notion that people should be able to buy a "bespoke" car, Mitsuoka really does employ a team of craftsmen who modify regular production vehicles into Mitsuoka models. They put it quite eloquently, at least in translation: "The car manufactured in that way…is really only in the world for you."
You may not understand why, but people buy their vehicles. In 1981, they began by making extremely small, scooter-based vehicles for local deliveries and to skirt some vehicle licensing requirements in Japan, but by 1987 had started to make neo-classics.
It somehow all makes sense. Upon taking the reins from company founder Susumu Mitsuoka in 2004, his brother (and singer in an Elvis tribute band) Akio Mitsuoka said, "We want to provide cars which arouse young people's interest," and all indications are that classically-styled vehicles based on popular Japanese cars really do arouse young people's interest.
Even though Japan is one of the most difficult countries in the world to get a driver's license and pass a car inspection—not to mention expensive for tolls, fuel, parking, and just about everything else—Mitsuoka is considered a manufacturer and has a strong fan base.
Anyway, the Crazy Timer. I was looking for high-resolution photos of the Glue…er…Galue, when I called up Mitsuoka's website and was presented, full screen, with the Himiko Crazy Timer.
Since it's based on the outgoing Mazda Miata, and is undoubtedly the most expensive flavour of Miata, AND it's the first BRAND NEW car to be featured in #bcotd, it deserves a look. Here goes:
- It is green.
- It is the result of a collaboration with one of Japan's most influential stores, Isetan.
- It only comes in automatic, with the shifter and handbrake done in hand-painted tartan.
- It has crocodile leather) interior. (That said, how can anyone tell from photos?)
- Prices start at 5,994,000 jpy, about $55,000 US.
- They hope to sell 20.
I fully appreciate this is low hanging fruit, but here's some badly translated Japanese marketing copy on the car:
"The representative crocodile tone sheet over about seven days just painting process in order to give a vivid color such as neon, starting from a special body colors that are painted by hand, feel sexy wild, Isetan tickle playful It is a gem of gems only taste in the collaboration, such as interior parts of the tartan pattern of two types, with Isetan Shinjuku-studded commitment to everywhere."
Pre-ordering a Himiko Crazy Timer is the only way to be invited for a factory tour, something the company has never done before. It's not something that would make me want to buy a car, but for the Mitsuoka faithful it must be a big deal.
As for the Himiko, let me be the first to propose a collaboration between Flyin' Miata and Mitsuoka. There must be some way to clothe their Corvette-powered V8 Miata in a Mitsuoka suit in time for SEMA 2015…