Rate It: Not a Corvette, but the Miata-Based Mitsuoka Rock Star

Colin
By Colin Wood
Mar 19, 2021 | Rate It, Mitsuoka, Rock Star

Ever look at an ND-chassis Miata and think to yourself, “I really wish that looked more like an old-school Corvette?” Well, small Japanese car maker Mitsuoka has you covered.

First, the name—which we promise we aren’t making up: Rock Star.

Available in two trims, “S” and “S Special Package,” the Rock Star is powered by the 1.5-liter engine rated for around 129 horsepower. A six-speed manual is standard on both trims, with a six-speed automatic only available on the S Special Package.

Mechanically, it's identical to the MX-5 upon which it is based, with the only notable differences being that the Rock Star has its unique exterior styling and a slightly modified interior.

Also of note, Mitsuoka’s current lineup also includes a Toyota RAV4 made to look like a Chevrolet K5 Blazer and another restyled Miata, this time looking suspiciously like a Morgan Aero 8.

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or is this just a weird-looking Miata?

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Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/21 12:05 p.m.

You know, toss on some side pipes and I'm a customer. 

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/19/21 12:22 p.m.

I dig it.

It's the Corvetty's grandkid. There's an RX-7 under there.

 

ChrisTropea
ChrisTropea Associate Editor
3/19/21 12:25 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I agree, Side pipes and im sold. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/21 12:42 p.m.
ChrisTropea said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I agree, Side pipes and im sold. 

And don't give me any of this "it's powered by an inline four so pipes on both sides would be wrong."

Dude, I'm checking off the box for side pipes.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 12:53 p.m.

Ever since these broke cover, I've been praying someone would send us one for an LS conversion. C'mon people!

gearheadmb
gearheadmb SuperDork
3/19/21 1:09 p.m.

I hate it.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/19/21 1:42 p.m.

Berkeley yes. I've wanted one bad since they announced them years ago. But once again, the US doesn't get the fun stuff

philacarguy
philacarguy New Reader
3/19/21 2:10 p.m.

starting price $41,700 equiv, and sold out of all 50 made.  Yeesh.  The real deal is not too far from this cost, especially after you throw in a few options.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 2:25 p.m.
philacarguy said:

starting price $41,700 equiv, and sold out of all 50 made.  Yeesh.  The real deal is not too far from this cost, especially after you throw in a few options.

You don't buy one of these as a cheap way to get something that looks like a Corvette.

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 2:29 p.m.
RichardSIA said:

LHD version available? Importable to US?

Kit version? Price less than the 'Vette it resembles?

Not really a copy and certain the tooling cost them a bundle since it includes new bumpers and trim.

With GM announcing they are going full retard, er um, Electric, this may become the only option for a real "Corvette" soon. devil

Buddy, don't use that word.  Period.  You can have your opinion, but that word shouldn't be used.

We can all point and laugh at the rest of your backwards opinion(s) around cars, but honestly when was the last time you bought a new car?

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/19/21 2:35 p.m.

I have to say that is one of the most successful 'retroification' I've seen on any car.  Better than a lot of the Japanese body kits and light years better than those awful retro C3 kits you see on C5 Corvettes.

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
3/19/21 2:49 p.m.

Better than most but the stack height below the body crease looks too tall. Like the area from the point of the nose down is too thick. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 2:57 p.m.

I happened to take this picture back in the early ND days - looks like Sept 2015.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
3/19/21 3:11 p.m.

Most of those Miata conversions have wonky proportions.  This is not one of them. 

 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 3:18 p.m.

Liking the Vet looking cars. But the Morgan. Oh my!!!!!  Yes please!!!  

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/19/21 3:35 p.m.

Not for me, thanks anyway.

That RAV4 / Blazer looks like the Canyonero from The Simpsons.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
3/19/21 3:40 p.m.

I'd rock it, if only to wind up the Vette and Miata folks at our local cars and coffee. Better yet, someone needs a faux-911 kit on a Miata chassis to really get tongues wagging.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 3:56 p.m.

You've gotta get the right angle for the photos, but is this good enough?

There's the M1stang, too. Which is a great little caricature.

.

Or Cobra?

And you can't use a fake TVR to troll American gearheads, but I kinda want one.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/21 4:10 p.m.

Miata-based Toyota 2000GT?

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 4:18 p.m.

Weirdly, an NB-based 2000 GT would be both more powerful and lighter than the original.

Just came across this. Put a rotary in and you'd really confuse people.

CatDaddy
CatDaddy New Reader
3/19/21 4:47 p.m.

Heck yeah! I like all of them a lot. 

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/19/21 4:58 p.m.

It's the ying to the Habu's yang. 

One looks like a vette but goes like a miata. The other looks like a miata but goes like a vette.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/21 6:05 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I've seen that one before, too, and it's pretty perfect. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/21 6:09 p.m.
Vajingo
Vajingo HalfDork
3/19/21 6:57 p.m.
Stefan (Forum Supporter) said:
RichardSIA said:

LHD version available? Importable to US?

Kit version? Price less than the 'Vette it resembles?

Not really a copy and certain the tooling cost them a bundle since it includes new bumpers and trim.

With GM announcing they are going full retard, er um, Electric, this may become the only option for a real "Corvette" soon. devil

Buddy, don't use that word.  Period.  You can have your opinion, but that word shouldn't be used.

We can all point and laugh at the rest of your backwards opinion(s) around cars, but honestly when was the last time you bought a new car?

While I don't condone making fun of people due to disabilities, I REALLY WISH EVERYONE would realize the proper term for retard. Hell, we use it in the automotive industry for crying out loud! 
Ex: "That was a retarded way to do that." Acceptable. It may have been a backwards (or less than ideal) way of accomplishing something. 

more better ex: "don't retard my progress."


bad ex: "did you see that retarded guy?"- go read an encyclopedia.

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 7:28 p.m.
Vajingo said:
Stefan (Forum Supporter) said:
RichardSIA said:

LHD version available? Importable to US?

Kit version? Price less than the 'Vette it resembles?

Not really a copy and certain the tooling cost them a bundle since it includes new bumpers and trim.

With GM announcing they are going full retard, er um, Electric, this may become the only option for a real "Corvette" soon. devil

Buddy, don't use that word.  Period.  You can have your opinion, but that word shouldn't be used.

We can all point and laugh at the rest of your backwards opinion(s) around cars, but honestly when was the last time you bought a new car?

While I don't condone making fun of people due to disabilities, I REALLY WISH EVERYONE would realize the proper term for retard. Hell, we use it in the automotive industry for crying out loud! 
Ex: "That was a retarded way to do that." Acceptable. It may have been a backwards (or less than ideal) way of accomplishing something. 

more better ex: "don't retard my progress."


bad ex: "did you see that retarded guy?"- go read an encyclopedia.

Except in this case that wasn't the use he was going for.

Certainly if you're talking something like a distributor or similar, sure.  There are uses of that word.  There are other ways to describe the same thing, but it is understandable in the context of the situation.

The context is the important aspect, especially with his documented apparent hatred of anything past 1955 in terms of the advancement of society or technology (unless it serves his purposes, like the internet or this forum).  So screw him and his backward-ass comments and thinking.

The word is not to be used lightly.  Period.  The fact that you're quasi-defending it?  Seriously?  GTFO.

Vajingo
Vajingo HalfDork
3/19/21 7:35 p.m.

In reply to Stefan (Forum Supporter) :

No. YOU Gtfo. And GFY. 

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
3/19/21 8:08 p.m.

Just looking at that, without comparing it to anything else, I like that just as it sits. Any additional info on it?

The M1stang is about as ridiculous looking as anything I've ever seen, and the fake cobra ain't much better.

The baby vette looks decent - at about half that price, it be a fun novelty. The square body on a rounded body rav4 is as silly as it is ugly; That morgan aint bad.

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
3/19/21 8:11 p.m.

In reply to Vajingo :

Since both those "people"  (and I use the term loosely) are being azzhats, when they should not have been posting at all, just ignore them.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 8:28 p.m.

I'm confused by the RX7 replicas.  Seems like a better platform for that would be an.....  RX7.  Especially since the Miata and the last 2 RX7's shared so much with the NA.

It would be interesting to see one in person- live matters- as I'm probably one of a handful of Miata owners who don't really like the ND looks that much.  So seeing a kit in person would really matter.  The "TVR" is cool- especially when the original had some peculuar design ideas on it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/21 9:11 p.m.
03Panther said:

Just looking at that, without comparing it to anything else, I like that just as it sits. Any additional info on it?

The M1stang is about as ridiculous looking as anything I've ever seen, and the fake cobra ain't much better.

The baby vette looks decent - at about half that price, it be a fun novelty. The square body on a rounded body rav4 is as silly as it is ugly; That morgan aint bad.

Blackwell SPR1. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/21 10:26 p.m.

Here, I'll just call a timeout. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/20/21 1:49 p.m.

And we're back.

Thank you. 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/20/21 2:05 p.m.
03Panther said:

Just looking at that, without comparing it to anything else, I like that just as it sits. Any additional info on it?

The M1stang is about as ridiculous looking as anything I've ever seen, and the fake cobra ain't much better.

The baby vette looks decent - at about half that price, it be a fun novelty. The square body on a rounded body rav4 is as silly as it is ugly; That morgan aint bad.

I would get the fun out with that.

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/20/21 2:16 p.m.
Colin Wood said:
feature_image

Mmmm the goodness this would be with a swap from Keith

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
3/20/21 2:29 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
philacarguy said:

starting price $41,700 equiv, and sold out of all 50 made.  Yeesh.  The real deal is not too far from this cost, especially after you throw in a few options.

You don't buy one of these as a cheap way to get something that looks like a Corvette.

It may actually be that way. I have no idea how hard it is to register a vintage car in Japan and get it inspected and registered. I follow a couple 550 spyder guys in Osaka and if Instagram translate is anything to go by they have all sorts of trouble with inspections and road tax.  

gumby (Forum Supporter)
gumby (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/20/21 3:11 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
And you can't use a fake TVR to troll American gearheads, but I kinda want one.

Now, something I have never said before, I want a Miata....

kazoospec
kazoospec UberDork
3/20/21 4:19 p.m.

This will probably be an unpopular opinion, but this thing reminds me of when Elf puts syrup on spaghetti.  Love syrup, love spaghetti, but the two together, not so much.  Considering you have a $25K Miata and apparently a $41K kit, that gives you $66K just in basic raw materials PLUS whatever it costs to integrate the two, paint and finish, add a semi-period correct interior, etc., etc., etc.   Seems to me you're at least bumping up against real Vette money, maybe even real Vette with performance oriented resto-modding already done.  

So that's a no for me.

15f80
15f80 New Reader
3/20/21 6:33 p.m.

My understanding is there are a few things going against a 'real Vette' in this situation: it would be a brutal process to get a 58 year old restomod legally imported & licensed in Japan, and city streets there are typically 2 feet narrower than the US. Using a recent vintage Miata starts to make a lot of sense for them.

mblommel
mblommel Dork
3/20/21 7:03 p.m.

Gonna have to be a no for me. Despite what looks like a lot of work put into the kit the styling looks tacked on to me. 

ShawnG
ShawnG UltimaDork
3/20/21 8:18 p.m.

In reply to mblommel :

The proportions on the mini-vette don't look out of whack but that RX-7 thing is all the way wrong.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/20/21 8:46 p.m.
15f80 said:

My understanding is there are a few things going against a 'real Vette' in this situation: it would be a brutal process to get a 58 year old restomod legally imported & licensed in Japan, and city streets there are typically 2 feet narrower than the US. Using a recent vintage Miata starts to make a lot of sense for them.

Look at my pic on the previous page - old Vettes are a lot smaller than new Vettes :)

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
3/20/21 8:50 p.m.

Be happier if they had gone for the Lotus Elan look rather than the Vette.

 

Miata was birthed in the dogma of minimalism and function while the Vette is the opposite, where form rules over the minimum of function.

Rons
Rons GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/21/21 5:05 p.m.
  • A number of those Miatae remind me of W2W racers from organizations such as the SCCA that has a pedantic desire to appease manufacturers. I’m thinking Super Saloons in Britain or various and sundry specials in the ICSCC.
wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
3/22/21 11:21 a.m.

I like the Fiat body style  a tad better than the current Miata, but hasn't the Corvette lookalike already been done - by GM?

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/22/21 11:29 a.m.

As my Opel-loving ex-boss likes to point out - that predates the Stingray. So really, the Corvette is a GT lookalike.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
3/22/21 2:43 p.m.

I posted these pictures to the local Miata club Facebook page, expecting a significant pushback, but it was just the opposite. Lot's of "Looks good, but I'm not spending that much money" type of comments.

No longer here.
No longer here. Dork
3/23/21 9:32 a.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:

I posted these pictures to the local Miata club Facebook page, expecting a significant pushback, but it was just the opposite. Lot's of "Looks good, but I'm not spending that much money" type of comments.

Miata forums= old dudes. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/23/21 4:36 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

As my Opel-loving ex-boss likes to point out - that predates the Stingray. So really, the Corvette is a GT lookalike.

And, IIRC, the Datsun Fairlady came before the MGB. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/23/21 4:37 p.m.
gumby (Forum Supporter) said:
Keith Tanner said:
And you can't use a fake TVR to troll American gearheads, but I kinda want one.

Now, something I have never said before, I want a Miata....

It looks like, and I mean this in a good way, someone used the Miata bones to create their own thing. And that's cool. 

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/24/21 8:59 a.m.

As someone who already drives a re-bodied ND Miata, and also owns a BFG-laiden Chevy musclecar, I am INTO this!

Would this be C-Street legal? Asking for a friend...

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