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Mitsubishi unveils recreation of the company's first car

by Ben Hsu

Built by West Coast Customs, the execution leaves something to be desired.

Mitsubishi Motors is 100 years old this year. For its centennial, Mitsubishi Motors North America has unveiled the Re-Model A, a tribute to their first car.

A hundred years ago, Mitsubishi Corporation — already one of Japan's largest companies with their hands in everything from shipping to actual ships — decided to delve into automobile manufacturing. The first car began construction in 1917 in a corner of the firms Kobe, Japan shipyards, and it was called simply the Model A.

To commemorate this occasion, Mitsubishi commissioned a homage to this Model A to be built by West Coast Customs, the shop mad infamous in the MTV show Pimp My Ride. None of the original Model As, built between 1917 to 1921, are known to have survived, so the Re-Model A was constructed atop a Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid platform.

The result is, to put it charitably, not an accurate representation of the Model A. In fact, it looks like a theme park mock-up of "generic 1920s car." The proportions are definitely off, with the hood much longer and sloped than the original's. The shape of the upright radiator grille is completely different, as is the headlight location. Details, such as the hood louvers or curvature of the fenders, were not included.

The strange thing is, Mitsubishi has the ability to create an accurate Model A replica. The Model A most commonly seen in photos and at car shows is itself a recreation, built in 1972 by Mitsubishi Motors Japan based on extensive research by journalist Eizo Ikeda and automotive historian Heitatsu Igarashi.

While the 2017 effort is noble, and a hundred years is a momentous occasion for any automaker, the execution leaves something to be desired.