NEWS: Mitsubishi unveils a hideous tribute to its first car

Mitsubishi began work on its first car, simply named the Model A, in 1917. That was 100 years ago, and so to celebrate this momentous occasion Mitsubishi Motors North America commissioned a recreation of it. Sadly, the Re-Model A, as it is called, it just plain ridiculous. 

The “Re-Model A” was built by West Coast Customs. It is a shop you may remember from the MTV show Pimp My Ride, which was only ostensibly about rides, and not at all about pimping. Despite assurances by Mitsubishi Motors North America representatives that the team knew what they were doing, that was clearly not the case.

Eagle eyed readers might notice that, for one, it looks absolutely nothing like the original. We could list the aberrations, but that would probably take more time than exists until the heat-death of the universe. I mean, just look at this abomination.

Let’s take into account the fact that it was based on the chassis of a modern Outlander plug-in hybrid, which probably does not match up at all to the Model A, wheelbase-wise, or in any other fashion. Even so, it’s still just a shit job.

Why, for instance, are the fenders just squared off? The orignal’s — which was probably hammered over a piece of wood in a corner of a freaking shipyard — has way more curvature.

Just for reference, this is what the Model A is supposed to look like. Note details such louvers on the hood, the tall upright radiator, and headlamps. Just because you throw some round lights and a big square grille on it doesn’t mean it looks the same. A lot of cars from the era shared this general design, but this isn’t even in the same ballpark. And on top of it all, it’s slathered in a gold so garish even Donald Trump’s apartment would ask, “Don’t you think that’s a bit much?”

Perhaps the worst part is, the “original” Model A in these photos is also a replica, proving that a faithful recreation can be done. None of the true originals, manufactured between 1917 and 1921, survived. The car in Mitsubishi Motors Japan’s collection was built in 1972 on a Mitsubishi Jeep platform, based on research by automotive journalist Eizo Ikeda and automotive historian (and the man who helped curate the cars at the Toyota Automobile Museum) Heitatsu Igarashi.

This, on the other hand, looks like it was created via a game of telephone. Look, we give props to Mitsubishi Motors North America, for trying to do something to honor what is truly a momentous occasion for any automaker. We just wish it would have been something worthy of the marque’s storied history, something fitting for a centennial, something that didn’t look like an automotive Quasimodo.

Images courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors.

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42 Responses to NEWS: Mitsubishi unveils a hideous tribute to its first car

  1. Jim Simspson says:

    Sometimes just cause you can does not mean you should… why not simply show off the recreation that your Japanese parent already made it’s a serious modern recreation of your history and not a cartoon of the original…
    Kudos for the idea of wanting to do something to celebrate your history, but not for the execution, your money and effort was wasted on this, your honestly better and certainly more capable than this… your parent company has already done much better… I personally would call this an opportunity missed particularly for a company with the rich history and resources of Mitsubishi…

  2. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Not much more I can say beyond Jim Simpson said. They could have used the budget for this to track down some legacy examples of the first to come to the US and restore it. This is just an irrelevant hot-rod and a bad one at that. Go one step further; donk it, plaster the name of the designer on the side and then drift it into a jersey barrier.

    This is one effort out of touch.

  3. Rob Vail says:

    Oh dear, it’s worse than I thought. Much worse. What a waste of money for a company that can’t afford to waste money.

  4. BlitzPig says:

    Seppuku, it’s the only answer to this.

  5. Myron Vernis says:

    I watched this build on television. All parties concerned were well intentioned but, as Jim so eloquently noted, they really missed the mark. More of a parody than an homage, it will be interesting to see what they do with it.

  6. Given the current condition of Mitsubishi I think this is a fitting representation of their current corporate condition.

  7. Keith Measures says:

    Who didnt see this coming really? The moment it was mentioned that west coast customs was heading this job you just knew it was going to come out this way

    I guess maybe its worse than i expected

  8. Alan says:

    What else would we expect from the company who has squandered its heritage and marketshare away with such astonishing efficiency?

  9. SHC says:

    Mitsubishi… you have reason to be embarrassed, West Coast Customs… you have reason to be ashamed! What a gross monstrosity!

    • Michael says:

      Trust me west coast customs isn’t ashamed. And why would they be ashamed, they are the ones getting paid by OEM’s to create horrendous “corporate builds”.

      I wish I can build an empire the same way, without having to be an engineer or an actual automotive designer and still get to fool the 50+ year old execs that manage the OEMs (not really…)

      I hope Nissan puts in new, younger blood to manage mitsubishi north america

  10. Nathan says:

    No more Evo and now the North American office does this? You’re Mitsubishi Motors. You build your own cars. Have some dignity!

    This just further shows that Mitsubishi has lost its way more than the other Japanese marques, a turd of a company with cheap plastic crap that could rival GM in poor interior quality.

    These fools should have taken the words of The Juggernaut in a well-known Internet parody into account:
    (Censored) West Coast Customs! I don’t need them to pimp my ride!

    • Michael says:

      The execs at mitsubishi north america is to blame. And theyll continue to work and get paid bleeding this company dry with their “bold” ideas until they retire…

  11. ET says:

    I always thought that of the TV shows that build cars with stupid deadlines to add drama were pathetic. Who in their right mind would spend money on a car where the goofy guys putting it together were given a reason to take shortcuts? It does not make good TV, It makes the business look like fools. Just like the entertainment industry. That said, this is so pathetic I would have expected it to either be from Unique Rides or American Chopper. Even Counts Customs could do better than this mess. Maybe they can send this over to Gas Monkey and to get some of this or whatever the stupid slogan is. IOW, it looks like the builder was given two days to build this and did it in one.

  12. Ryan says:

    Willy wonkers car.

  13. Eddie says:

    Wow, talk about the best of intentions gone horribly wrong.

  14. Mike Batty says:

    Well they got the colour right at least. There ends the tribute. Always figure Mitsubishi a non player in the North American market and they do nothing to change my mind. I’m sure they built good tanks and ships over the years but as an auto company they are right up there with the likes of Fiat-Chrysler who leads the industry in not knowing where to go.

  15. MikeRL411 says:

    I watched the “build” program and was nausiated at the basic approach. Why start with a modern hybrid power train and a Ford Model A to begin? Count’s Customs is a real Joke! They are marginal at best at producing Pimp Mobiles!

  16. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    The legacy build would have been a 1969 Dodge Colt / Mitsubishi Galant. Mitsubishi’s first car in America.

  17. Brignola says:

    My suggestion; Donate it to Disney World where they can use it to parade Mickey-Mouse and friends every night. Children will love this thing

  18. RX626 says:

    “Pimp My Mitsubishi”

  19. Cesariojpn says:

    Who decided on the “Hot Rod” look?

  20. Jim Marriner says:

    Revenge for Pearl Harbor?

  21. KiKiIchiBan says:

    That is an embarrassment.

  22. Randy says:

    Well, to be fair, if they were told to recreate the car, vs. reproduce it. Probably couldn’t have a hotrod/tuner place do coachwork.

    As a rod, it’s not horrible, but as everybody else said, it’s NOT a reproduction.

    I wonder how much they spent, and could that money have put to better use by putting it toward something new in the showroom. . . Unless this is a stealth 2020 Lancer Evo…

  23. nlpnt says:

    It’s a few bumps short of looking like it was made from Lego.

  24. jivecom says:

    Mitsu I gave you the benefit of the doubt on this. By that I mean I lightly defended the idea in comments
    Thanks for making me look like a fool! I feel almost as dumb as this car looks, for thinking it might be different

  25. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Don’t forget Mitsubishi’s return to aviation, now considered by themselves as a failed effort to be written off. I had so much hope for this plane and was rooting for it. Alas, it starting accumulating delays by years instead of months. It’s almost like they want to take it to a quiet field and bury it. Breaks my heart. There’s so little news regarding it’s progress, I don’t even know if it’s still going on for testing, right in my backyard state. I wanted the MRJ to succeed so bad…

    • Michael says:

      Hmmm interesting, never heard of the MRJ until now. Is this a Mitsubishi North America venture or a Mitsubishi Motors Corporation venture?

  26. THFan says:

    Just no. You can overthink a design. Cars like this have to meet appearance first. This looks like someone put modern day spokes on a ModelA go kart. ugly af.

  27. Punto8 says:

    I am sorry but I have to disagree with 99% of the post here. I absolutely detest the majority of Mitsubishi’s current product line BUT the result of this build is actually kind of cool. The builders, materials and the way they executed maybe questionable but the end product is something most “purist” would drive or, very least, admire at a car show or on the street. This is a critical time for JNC aficionados. As the prices of our cars reach idiotic amounts, it’s important we remain true to why we got into these cars in the first place. We enjoyed cheap, reliable and different cars. I, for one, am hanging up my JNC pass now that our hobby is teetering between snob car club status and hipster chop and crash desicration. One Love JNC! Quit Bandwagoning and stay original 😉

  28. Zerob says:

    I was watching the west customs show where they did this and had to track down some place to just thrash this idiotic idea. Jesus Christ! Why hasn’t anyone called it a bad idea at some point!? They cut a perfectly nice an functional Outlander to do this shit! I wish I could see the unveiling of this car at some corporate event and people just trying not to burst into laughter. This is a testimony of how far a bad idea can go. Jesus – I just can’t get over it.

  29. Kenneth Overby says:

    I know it’s a bit late, but….
    West Coast Customs should be ashamed…..
    (they must have been smoking Crack the whole time during the build)
    and Mitsubishi North America should demand their money back.
    I would have driven this straight to the crusher

  30. West Coast was told to take the outlander and turn it in this car it wasn’t supposed to look just Like the model A but I think they did a great job cause I watched the show too

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