Mitsuoka’s M55 Brings Dodge Challenger Looks To A Honda Civic

Always wanted a muscle car but can’t stomach the road tax? Mitsuoka’s M55 might be just your thing then. 

While many of us in Malaysia might lust after the dream of owning a proper V8 American muscle car, our capacity-based road tax system (and possibly the right-hand drive nature of our roads too) has somewhat hindered this from being an actual feasible reality. Mitsuoka however may now be able to help with this, as its new M55 concept actually looks (kinda?) like a Dodge Challenger, but is in fact a humble Honda Civic underneath. 

Looking dead on at its front especially, the square-jawed face of this M55 with its quad-LED headlights and rectangular grille could really fool anyone into thinking that this is in fact none other than a modern-day Challenger. Though that illusion is unfortunately shattered somewhat by the time anyone starts to venture behind, as Mitsuoka sadly can’t really do much to make the curvy Civic-shaped silhouette fit the boxy Dodge profile. 

So the side therefore is admittedly a rather interesting mix of a boxy head grafted onto a swooping four-door body, with Mitsuoka not really doing themselves any favours too by adding louvres to the rear glass of its Civic hatchback base. In fact, the whole rear of this M55 looks not unlike a Challenger that melted somewhat. 

Now the black rear lip spoiler is certainly a nice touch that is reminiscent of a Challenger, but it unfortunately does not do enough to distract the eye from its especially goofy taillights Though the whole rear does get a lot more palatable if thought of as a mid-70s Japanese coupe (alá Mitsubishi Galant GTO) instead of the aforementioned Dodge. 

Moving on inside meanwhile, Mitsuoka has kept the modifications to a minimum by adding only some retro-tastic blue leather upholstery (complete with decorative metallic eyelets) to the donor Civic’s seats and a custom badge on its steering wheel. And joy of joy too like the Challenger to which it pays homage to, the M55 is to feature a six-speed manual transmission.  

Unsurprisingly however, said factory stick shift is bolted to the stock Honda’s 1.5-litre turbocharged four pot. No V8 growl here unfortunately, but registering one of these over in Malaysia will be affordable at least. 

Though that particular prospect actually now hinges upon Mitsuoka actually pressing the M55 into production, as the Japanese coach-builder has only intended for it to be a concept thus far. The official line by the company is for this concept is intended to recapture the ‘hot magma’ of the 1970s, and is not really intended for production. In reality however, it’s highly likely that Mitsuoka is judging demand here, and if enough buyers put up money for it, there’s certainly nothing to stop it building a production M55.

It is worth highlighting too for those unfamiliar at least that Mitsuoka has actually a history in creating retro Americanised machines from common Japanese cars, with the MX-5-based C2 Corvette-lookalike Rockstar and RAV4-based K5 Blazer-lookalike Buddy being among its most recent works. The Japanese coach-builder has also previously been responsible for producing retro British clones on humble JDM metal too, like the Micra-based Jaguar Mk II-lookalike Viewt, of which there are incidentally a few roaming the roads in Malaysia.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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