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The Mitsuoka Orochi Is a Really Weird-Looking Car

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author photo by Doug DeMuro April 2017

In the long, strange history of oddly-proportioned Japanese automobiles, one stands above the rest. It's called the Mitsuoka Orochi, and it is profoundly weird-looking. Today, I'm going to tell you about it.

Let's start with the obvious: the Orochi's appearance. Sold from 2007 to 2014, the Orochi has the general lines of an exotic sports car -- it's midengined and rear-wheel-drive, for instance -- but some incredibly strange design elements. Specifically, the front end is absolutely bizarre, in the sense that it looks like the designer tried very hard to make the car look like it was smiling, or possibly eating something. There are eyes, there's a mouth, and there's a chin. I truly believe it was modeled on an image of some sort of happy-looking animal.

The rest of the car is strange, too. The windshield is tremendously flat, while the doors have these bizarre swoops that would normally look out of place -- if it wasn't for the similarly swoopy front and rear fenders, which make the entire car look like a Hot Wheels test track. The rear isn't so bad, though it, too, includes way more curves than any one vehicle should.

Interestingly, this isn't out of the norm for Mitsuoka: It's a brand primarily founded on building ugly cars. In fact, they're known for slapping 1930s-style front ends on vehicles like the Nissan Sentra, making those cars look absolutely bulbous and bizarre. This is their business plan! In fact, if you look at Mitsuoka models other than the Orochi, you might find yourself starting to think the Orochi is actually pretty attractive.

Under the Orochi's hood, which probably looks like a grinning rabbit, you'll find a relatively potent power plant: a 3.3-liter Toyota V6 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. Although I think that engine only makes something like 240 horsepower, it's worth noting the Orochi only weighs 3,400 pounds -- so it probably has decent performance. When people aren't laughing at it.

Maybe the most bizarre thing about the Orochi is its price: Despite being styled like a deflating parachute that landed on a set of exercise balls, they sold these things for something like $100,000. Wikipedia claims production was "limited" to 400 units over the first 4 years. I have no doubt sales were limited, too.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Mitsuoka Orochi Is a Really Weird-Looking Car - Autotrader