British droptop fans looking for something a little different will soon have a striking new option to consider: the Mitsuoka Roadster.
Introduced in 2010, the Roadster is a classically styled and hand-built Japanese sports car built off the platform that underpins the now retired ‘NC’ Mazda MX-5.
Inspired by the topless English cruisers of decades past, Mitsuoka’s Roadster swaps the NC's round snout for a tall chrome-heavy grille and bumper arrangement, along with long wheel flares and a tapered rump.
The special Roadster is set further apart from Mazda’s original with a dramatically longer wheelbase, measuring 3030mm - compared to 2329mm with the NC MX-5.
Mitsuoka has retained most of the MX-5’s mechanicals for its own Roadster, including the 2.0 litre petrol engine, six-speed manual (with a six-speed auto option), and that retractable hard-top roof that boasts a rapid 12-second folding action.
But, despite its position as an MX-5 with a little somethin’ else, the Roadster won’t be a simple proposition for many UK buyers: getting into one will cost around AU$107,000 - before taxes and costs.
UK importer T W White & Sons is confident that it will see plenty of interest, though.
“The UK represents one of the largest classic car markets in the world. The unique design of the Mitsuoka Roadster draws inspiration from the classic Roadster heritage and combines this traditional styling with the latest state of the art technology,” Jen White, Mitsuoka Project Manager for T W White & Sons, said.
Compared to the new ND MX-5, which will hit Australia next month with a $31,990 starting price… well, you’d want to have a real big thing for modern Japanese cars built to look like classic British cars.