The what what you ask? Well, here’s a real unicorn if you ever spot one… You may know of the carmaker Mitsuoka, the 10th officially-registered carmaker in Japan, but you may not have heard or recall much about one of their wildest (weirdest?) creations, called the Orochi…
Once you see one though, you’ll never forget it. I’ve actually sat in one, many, many years ago. I didn’t get to drive it though, if only because it was un-registered and cost more than a million ringgit. Or was it two million? I forget.
Thing of it is, how many cars do you know of out there that were styled after…. a dragon? Yes a dragon. A mythical 8-headed Japanese one called Yamata-no Orochi. It debuted (the car, not the dragon) as a concept at the Tokyo Motorshow in 2001, and finally went into production in 2006… complete with pupils in its headlights. No, really. Look closely at the headlights above… here’s a closer look at the car:
Weighing in at a hefty 1,580kg, despite its massive physical size, the Orochi was a strict two-seater, and I do recall the interior being somewhat cramped.
It measured 4,560mm in length, 2.035mm in width and a mere 1,180mm in height (slightly higher than my dining table, I just measured that) and was powered by a 3.3-litre V6 Toyota engine (3MZ-FE) mated to a 5-speed automatic gearbox.
While it may look like a one-off creation, the Orochi survived a production run that spanned 8-years and produced four iterations; Kabuto (above & below), Zero, Gold Premium and Final Edition in 2014.
It never sold in vast numbers, and most were bought on a dare, me thinks. However, I do have to tip my hat (if I wore one) to the creators of this car.
If anything, it’s probably the most original design to come from any carmaker in Japan, and in a world where everyone’s copying everyone else, that’s really saying something. Quirky? Maybe, Original? Definitely. Here’s to you Mitsuoka, for having the guts to build something this audacious.- Chris Wee.