Mitsuoka is a Japanese car maker that isn’t well-known. The company has produced a few models with entertaining names such as the Bubu, Zero, Viewt, Yuga and Like; none of those are spelled incorrectly, we assure you. The Mitsuoka Rock Star will probably be the firm’s crowning glory.

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A sheep in wolf’s clothing

What you are looking at, in the Mitsuoka Rock Star, is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. It is a Mazda MX-5 that is pretending to be a 1960s Chev Corvette Stingray. If we hadn’t mentioned it, you’d probably not have guessed the underpinnings of this little car.

Mitsuoka rebodies the best-selling roadster of all time, with a raft of changes to alter its appearance. The changes include, but are not limited, to a completely new front-end including chrome bumpers and circular headlights, a new bonnet with vents, replacement rear fenders, and a completely bespoke rear –end with circular taillights. The only components from the donor MX-5 are the doors and side-mirror housings.

Identical inside and underneath

The Mitsuoka Rock Star may be completely changed on the outside, but the company has not done anything to the interior of the MX-5. The cabin remains as it left Mazda’s factory in Hiroshima. If buyers wish they can add a few custom options, but these are limited to aesthetics.

Under that bulging bonnet, is Mazda’s 1,5-litre naturally aspirated inline four. The engine develops just shy of 100 kW, a little less than the original Stringray did, but the newer car does tip the scales at around one metric ton. Owners could choose between a short-throw six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.

Since the project was announced late last year, Mitsuoka has managed to get orders for every one of the 50 cars it intends to produce.