The Honda Civic Turned Into A Fake Dodge Challenger Is Going Into Production

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Coachbuilding is almost a lost art, but Japanese company Mitsuoka is trying to keep the magic alive. It has built some weird cars over the years, including a retro Miata that looked like a Morgan Aero 8 and a Jaguar XK120 had an affair. The most unconventional build in recent memory was this – the M55. Initially a concept, the fake muscle car is going into production.

Unveiled in November 2023 to celebrate Mitsuoka’s 55th anniversary, the quirky Dodge Challenger lookalike is actually a Honda Civic underneath its vintage body. In the months that have passed, the company has received more than 1,300 messages from people wanting to buy the contraption: “This was the first time for us to receive such passionate messages directly from so many people of all ages and both sexes.”

Due to popular demand, Mitsuoka has decided to make the M55 a reality. However, it’s going to take a while. The company intends to have the car on sale near the end of 2025. Additional details are yet to be disclosed but we’ll remind you the concept was based on the Civic five-door hatchback and had a 1.5-liter engine hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox.

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Last month, Honda brought a sporty Civic RS prototype to the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon, possibly hinting at a Civic Si hatchback with a stick shift. It’d be great if Mitsuoka would build the M55 with the larger and more potent 2.0-liter engine. Either way, the fake Challenger with right-hand drive is going to be sold only in Japan.

While the car’s front says Challenger, the rear makes us think of 1970s Japanese coupes, such as a Nissan Skyline or a Mitsubishi Galant GTO. The profile is an obvious reminder that the automotive oddity is a Civic at its core. Inside, Mitsuoka went through the trouble of adding retro-looking blue upholstery and it swapped out the Honda badge on the steering wheel for its logo.

The M55 may be an acquired taste but we must give credit where it’s due. Mitsuoka certainly has imagination, and there are apparently enough people interested to warrant the development of a production model. This is more than just a comprehensive body kit since the headlights and taillights are also tailor-made, as is the front grille. The rear window louvers seem to take inspiration from a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1.

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Mitsuoka reckons it won’t be able to build enough cars to meet demand because the conversion will take time since all necessary changes will be performed manually. Pricing has yet to be disclosed but given the extent of the modifications, it’s safe to say it won’t be cheap.