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Mitsuoka unveils stretched, retro-styled Mazda MX-5

by Ronan Glon

The Mitsuoka Roadster costs about the same as a Porsche Cayman GTS.

Known around the world for its wild, retro-styled creations, Japan's Mitsuoka Motors has introduced a highly modified version of the last-generation Mazda MX-5 whose design is inspired by British roadsters from the 1930s.

The only visual links between Mitsuoka's Roadster and the MX-5 are the A-pillars and the doors, which have been carried over with almost no modifications. The Miata's rounded front end has been replaced by an extremely long hood, bulged fenders and a classic car-like front end characterized by MINI-sourced headlights, a faux chromed bumper and a tall grille with vertical slats.

Out back, the Roadster gets a much taller trunk lid and four round tail lamps, a look reminiscent of the Jaguar-inspired, Nissan Micra-based Viewt that Mitsuoka sold in the 1990s and the 2000s. The Roadster forgoes period-correct wire wheels in favor of 17-inch alloys.

The interior is standard Miata fare save for minor details like custom sill plates and a Mitsuoka emblem on the steering wheel. The automaker promises the Roadster comes standard with heated seats, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control. Buyers can choose between a soft and a hard top.

The long hood suggests otherwise, but Mitsuoka has not made any mechanical modifications and the Roadster packs a stock Miata-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 160 horsepower. The four-banger spins the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic gearbox controlled by shift paddles.

The Mitsuoka Roadster isn't simply a design study or a one-off model. It's on sale now across the UK with a base price of £53,800, a hefty sum that converts to over $82,000.

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