Classic Recollections: Mitsuoka Rock Star inspired by Corvette Sting Ray
Cruising in a Corvette can make anyone feel like a rock star. This is why, I suppose, Japanese coachbuilder Mitsuoka is calling its latest creation just that.
The company, headquartered in Toyama, was founded in 1968 and made its mission to craft fun, unique cars by body-swapping existing models and nameplates, creating quirky little rides.
Officially, the Rock Star was inspired by emotions like "hot passion" and the "escape of the everyday," but there's no denying its striking similarities to Chevy's classic sports-car icon, particularly the second generation 1960s C2 Sting Ray.
It all starts with a current Mazda MX-5 two-door convertible. From there, skilled tradesmen craft on unique body panels, giving the lil' cruiser such pronounced features as creased fenders, a louvered hood and even chromed bumpers.
Other details, such as quad taillights, white lettered tires and bespoke, mag-appearing wheels, are definite throwbacks to the Vette's retro roots. Even the badge is uncannily connected, proudly bearing two crossed flags. Inside, the Miata's cabin is largely untouched save for custom stitching on the seats. Features like push-button start, a Bose sound system, navigation screen and heated seats remain.
Underhood, Mazda's peppy four-cylinder engine remains and can be paired to either a 6-speed manual transmission or an automatic.
The car comes in six exterior paint colors, named after U.S. locations, including Arizona Yellow, Los Angeles Blue and New York Black. Even we here in the Windy City get a shout out, securing the title of Chicago Red.
The car's launch and fanfare aren't for naught: it marks the celebration of the company's 50th anniversary. As such, only 50 will be shipped in 2019. The total run will be limited to just 200, with the rest coming in 2020 and 2021.
There are some options to choose from but, overall, the vehicle's pricing starts around $40,000. Currently, there are no plans for any to be distributed stateside.
Autoworld Yenko diecasts
It's hard to get your hands on a rare Yenko car but, thankfully, diecast maker Autoworld has made it a whole lot easier.
The company has released a new limited edition two-pack of 1:64 cars, which are not only uber-rare Yenkos but ones designed off exact cars featured and photographed in my new book, "COPO."
The set contains a green 1968 Yenko Camaro, matching one George Edwards still owns today after buying it new in July of '68 from Roy Stauffer Chevrolet in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The other diecast is another seldom seen sight -- a red 1972 Yenko Stinger Vega. Only 400 were made between 1971 and '72. Today, there are fewer than a dozen known examples remaining.
Both models, part of Autoworld's Johnny Lightning series, contain rubber tires and a diecast metal body and chassis. The two-pack is available now for $13.99 at autoworldstore.com.
• Share your car's story with Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn about his book at COPOthebook.com.