The Japanese Don’t Like American Cars But They Do Love A Corvette-Inspired Mazda MX-5

Niche Japanese carmaker and coachbuilder Mitsuoka has announced that it’s Corvette Stingray-inspired Rock Star has sold out.

We first told you about the Mazda MX-5 based sports car last October and were rather intrigued with what we saw. It seems that car fans in Japan were suitably impressed with the vehicle and have snapped up all 50 examples.

In order to create the Mitsuoka Rock Star, the company starts with the current Mazda MX-5 and strips away virtually every single exterior part. Next, the Corvette Stingray-esque parts are fitted, including a sharp front grille with bright chrome accents and a muscular hood. There are also bespoke side skirts, small air vents behind the front wheels, tiny circular headlights, an altered rear decklid, prominent rear arches, and four taillights.

The Rock Star manages to walk the tightrope of being a blatant rip-off and an original design quite well.

There’s no big V8 in sight, however. Instead, the Rock Star retains Mazda’s tiny 1.5-liter SKYACTIV-G engine pumping out 130 hp and 112 lb-ft (152 Nm) of torque. Customers can opt between a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic ‘box.

Buying an exclusive Corvette-bodied Mazda MX-5 doesn’t come cheap. According to Mitsuoka, prices for the Rock Star started at ¥4,688,200 (~$42,000) and topped out at ¥5,183,600 (~$46,800). Evidently, these prices didn’t dissuade buyers.

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  • Netsphere

    they dont like american cars because they drive like a brick, size of a house, and drink petrol by the tons

    • yomama

      Stop lying

      • Netsphere

        mom? wtf are you doing here

        • Adrian

          This is your sister. Come back to bed.

          • Astonman


          • Netsphere

            dont have any sisters by name of Adrian.

  • yomama

    Looks cool and all but I actually prefer the current miata body

  • cbATL

    I would buy this!!!

  • brn

    The Japanese don’t like American cars? I’m not sure that’s a true assumption.

    • Cobrajet

      Japanese have styled their own cars to look very much like them.

  • EM1

    When I was in Japan, I did see Wranglers, Escalades and GMCs. Their govt gives them incentives to buy Japanese.

    • Joe

      No “incentives to buy Japanese”. The government taxation system covers an array of details including engine size and type, vehicle length and width into tax number category systems, hence kei cars, 5 number cars (such as the Vitz, JDM Corolla Axio), 3 number cars (Crown, etc.). Japanese companies design for these constraints. American and other foreign brands do not, so they are too wide and have large engines and thus become uncompetitive and too expensive to buy and run. There are therefore incentives for smaller cars cos of mega congestion, and fuel efficiency (hybrids, PHEVs, FCVs, EVs). Import taxes do play a role, but they’re nowhere near as high as the US makes them out to be. For example, Ford did fine when they were selling rebadged Mazdas there, but since switched to their own massive inefficient American models and then exited entirely, blaming low sales.

      • Astonman

        good info!

      • brn

        EM1 is correct. Those sound like incentives to me. Not only that, but Japan gets pretty creative with protectionism.

        • Poor Manufacturing Management

          No, it’s not the whole story… often ignored is that all those new Escalades, GMCs etc you see in Japan are bought by already niche consumers who can handle the steering wheel being on completely the wrong side of the car for Japanese roads. US Feds hypocritically prevent this exact registration loophole from being legal on US soil, while the Japanese have been lenient on this for the last 70 years.

          Millions of Japanese have no consumer-desire to buy from any manufacturer who can’t appropriately configure a new vehicle to their road infrastructure – even headlight alignment illumination on such vehicles is completely in the wrong direction. European luxury brands for decades have offered a solution for the Japanese consumer – offer both LHD and RHD
          configurations on high end models and get all the sales.

          It took Ford 51 years just to work out where to appropriately put a steering wheel in the Mustang for it to successfully sell in decent numbers in the RHD markets of UK and Australia. Simple things seem to be quite hard for American managed brands to achieve – meanwhile European brand manufacturers have their 30 year old US factories shipping RHD models to UK, Australia, and Japan (where both RHD & LHD is shipped).

    • Jeep is about the only successful American car brand in Japan. Ford gave up, and Chevy / Caddy are about to die out any time soon.


  • Carl Estabrook

    Like an ingenue marrying an old roue.

  • Zo Fryer

    I taught UNIX in Akiba in 2001. The Japanese love American cars. They simply can’t afford them in Japan unless they are stupidly wealthy. But to be clear, the guy with the Corvette in Japan, even if it’s a 70’s gas crisis one, is ten times cooler than the loser with the GTR or Lambo.

  • Zo Fryer

    There was a character in a very popular Anime in Japan named Jiro Hitoyoshi recently. This was in 2015. His car was clearly a C3 Corvette that turned into a giant 4 legged robot. He has other traits that made him beyond cool. A born hero. Japan loves the Corvette.

  • Bash

    Drop a Hemi in it, not the hellcat one, even the 5.7 one will be just fine tbh.

  • Bob

    If Americans still designed cars like they care then maybe a lot more of the world would want them.

    • brn

      Americans design a lot of foreign branded cars.

      • Bob

        *American cars sorry. They do you’re right. I wish American cars still lead the pack in terms of design.

  • TB

    Gotta say that’s pretty darn sharp! Now…if I can only fit in a Miata…

  • The Terminator

    Should have the pop up headlights ( but new LED type ) from the original Sting Ray.

  • WANT!!!!!!

  • Blanka Li

    SOMEBODY give Mitsuoka the money to do this in the states.

  • brn

    That’s different. A statement like “American manufacturers don’t make cars that conform to the needs of Japan” would have been OK . To say that the Japanese don’t like American cars is very different. I like a lot of things that I don’t buy.

    • Marty

      Yes, this might be semantics, but I think it’s safe to say that statistically the Japanese don’t like American cars as much as they like other imported cars. 🙂

  • It’s actually fits better than Mitsuoka that looks like a Morgan.

    But selling it outside Japan would be hard proposition since the price gone up significantly. Like in UK you can get proper Morgan than Mitsuoka ones.

  • I hope this car, Will come to Indonesia

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