SEMA Mitsuoka Orochi4:29:00 PM
by Mike Satterfield
The Mitsuoka Orochi is one of those wonderful automotive oddities that somehow escape the sketchbook and end up in production. It's likely that you have never heard of a Orochi or the manufacturer Mitsuoka, that is unless you are a car nerd. Most people who saw it at SEMA exclaimed it must have been some kind of kit car or home made. But the Mitsuoka was built in a factory by one of Japan's most unique car companies.
Mitsuoka is a boutique manufacturer of Neo-Classics or has some have described them "Fashion Cars" like the Yuga which resembles a London Taxi, or Nouera which looks kind of like a little vintage Jaguar. They also made a small city car called the MC-1 which was little more than a 50cc power chair with a windshield. Needless to say that the small Japanese company produces some of the most wonderfully eccentric cars in the world.
The Orochi is no exception, built from 2001-2014 Jalopnik called it the "World's Ugliest Car" and many have said it is not really a supercar, however, Mitsuoka did not set out to build a supercar, the set out to build an attention getting car. The company said "Orochi is the car to ride to gather attention from everyone", and categorizes this car as a "Fashion-Super Car".
The car takes its name from the mythical Yamata no Orochi, a mythical 8-headed Japanese dragon. The theme of 8 can be seen in the design with eight lights (four front and four rear), eight vents on the hood and engine cover, eight spokes on the factory wheels, and so on. Powered by a 3.3 liter Toyota V6 and weighing in at over 3,400lbs it is not a lightweight sportscar, but again this car was designed to be seen in, not to go racing.
This maybe the first Orochi in the USA, ever. The company that was promoting it is a Japanese lighting company called Sphere Light, but there was never anyone with the car. The red and white 50/50 paint job is interesting and the interior was reversed in red and white. Even in Japan a Orochi is a rare sight with just 400 being built in the entire production run, on all my trips to Japan I have only seen on on the streets of Tokyo.
Enjoy the rest of the photos below.