1. Home

Mitsubishi celebrates 100 years by recreating its first car

by Ben Hsu

Underneath the early-20th century body will be a 21st century drivetrain.

Mitsubishi Motors is commissioning a recreation of their very first car, the 1917 Model A.

One hundred years ago Mitsubishi was still largely a shipbuilding company when it decided to delve into making cars as well. Mitsubishi claims that the Model A was the first mass produced car in Japan (prior cars dating back to 1907 had been one- or two-offs built by tinkerers and inventors), though the entire production "run" tallied only 22 units. It wasn't exactly a sales success, as the market was flooded with cheap, truly mass produced imports from Ford and GM.

None of the original Model As are known to exist, but Mitsubishi wants to commemorate its 100 years in the carmaking business by honoring this important model. The original plans are long gone as well, so Mitsubishi will recreate the Model A on an existing platform with its latest technology.

The result will be a Model A body mated to the "chassis" of an Outlander PHEV. Instead of the original 35-horsepower four-cylinder, the new Model A will run on the Outlander PHEV's plug-in hybrid system.

Mitsubishi Motors North America has selected West Coast Customs, the shop made famous from the Pimp My Ride TV show, as the builders of the tribute car. While the choice of shop seems odd, perhaps the result will include several big-screen TVs in it, something the Model A's creators could've never dreamed of 100 years ago.

Read more!