Mitsuoka is a Japanese car make that captures the hearts of many for its timeless yet affordable selection of cars, but do you know about the man behind the wheels who brought us these stunning models? The well-loved company would not have established itself as one of Japan’s most successful niche brands if not for the ethos of its Founder, Susumu Mitsuoka. Though little about him has been mentioned, there is much to appreciate of a young child’s love for cars turned dream come true.
As a self-proclaimed British car nut, Susumu Mitsuoka had always aspired to become recognised as one of Japan’s fully-fledged carmakers. This aspiration stemmed from Mitsuoka’s lifelong fascination with cars and motorcycles since he was a growing child. He had a whirl at selling automobiles upon graduation from high school, yet found unsatiated about being a salesman – Mitsuoka wanted to become more involved in the process of car-making.
With bigger plans in mind, Mitsuoka single-handedly founded the “Mitsuoka Jidousya Kogyo” in 1968. The company was initially devoted to repairing automobiles and by the late 1980s, it expanded its services to include car dealerships and production of its cars and motorcycles.
Mitsuoka grew tired of the mundane, boxy cars that dominated the Japanese market and wanted something more. Individuality was the vision he had in mind for the future of his cars and coupled with his love for English classics, it paved the road for Mitsuoka’s inspiration of the types of cars he wanted to produce. It was only a matter of implementation.
A trip to the United States changed everything. Mitsuoka was introduced to cars with new interiors and replicated bodies of classic models. He fell in love with the concept and carried it with him back to Japan – thus, the Mitsuoka Motor we have come to know and love today was set in stone, and the rest is history.
After years of perfecting the handcrafted replicas of models and being restricted to a low production capacity of fewer than 100 vehicles annually, Mitsuoka’s works finally got the credit they deserved. Mitsuoka’s company was recognised as Japan’s tenth authorised domestic automobile manufacturer in 1996.
The dream was finally fulfilled, and it all started with a young man’s passion for cars. Mitsuoka wanted to create cars that allowed his and many others’ love for English classics to shine through amidst the repetitive landscape of Japan’s automobile industry. Today, Mitsuoka’s gorgeous works have made their mark across the world. His vision of individuality resonates deeply with many consumers’ shared appreciation of beauty, having customers coming back for more.