Mitsuoka Orochi, a Motor Car with Dragon Inspiration

Mitsuoka doesn’t usually produce cars but converts models from other Japanese manufacturers to retro looks. British classics such as the Jaguar Mk II or the typical London Taxi inspire.

The Mitsuoka Orochi is a Japanese sports car designed and built by Mitsuoka Motors as a concept car in 2001, with updates and revisions to the design appearing in 2003 and 2005, before finally being put into production and offered for sale in late 2006 as a 2007 model.

A small manufacturer in Japan, chiefly known in Southeast Asia, very few of their vehicles have reached our shores.

In 2001, Mitsuoka unveiled their mid-engined sports car, the Orochi, at the Tokyo Motor Show. This name comes from the mythical eight-tailed dragon “Yamata no Orochi”.

The launch tag at the world premiere, Mitsuoka, said: ‘Orochi is the car to ride to gather attention from everyone.’ Categorised by Mitsuoka as a
Fashion-Super Car.

If you look at the front aspect of the Orochi, apply a little imagination, and you can visualise the facial features of a dragon, with the eight’ nostrils’ on the bonnet and menacing ‘mouth’ grille.

Four years after the coupĂ©, Mitsuoka showed the open Orochi, known as the ‘Nude Top. Sadly, this convertible version didn’t go into production. Instead, the Orochi coupĂ© was manufactured as a ‘limited edition’ from October 2006. Officially, a maximum of 400 units were to be built, although far fewer were built.

In 2005, Mitsuoka developed a new chassis to accommodate a 3.3-litre V6 engine from Toyota. Power transmission to the rear wheels was provided by a five-speed automatic. During the production period, Mitsuoka offered various unique edition models of the Orochi. The first of these was the Orochi Kabuto in 2007 with a newly developed carbon body kit, spoilers at the front and rear and a four-pipe exhaust system. Five examples rolled off the production line starting in 2009.

In April 2014, the Final Edition of the Mitsuoka Orochi made its debut. Five examples were available in two paint colours, ‘ Gold Pearl’ or ‘Fuyoru’.

Seven months later, the one-off Orochi 7-Eleven Evangelion was produced as an exclusive art car in the style of the Evangelion anime series from the 1990s.

If you ever spot one, please photograph it.