There are a list of cars that I simply will not own. One of those is a Nissan Micra K11, the other is the Mitsuoka Viewt. I will say though that if I was absolutely desperate and needed a car to get from A to B, I would choose the Mitsuoka Viewt over a Nissan Micra K11. I’ll be even more honest with you, I would rather walk 10 miles in a pair of new Dr.Marten boots that are a size too small across Winslow, Arizona than drive a Nissan Micra K11.
Moving away from my obvious hatred of the Nissan Micra K11, the Mitsuoka Viewt is a strange beast of a car, especially on UK roads. The public who don’t know anything about cars, will look at the Mitsuoka Viewt and think it’s odd looking. Those of the public who know a bit about cars will have a double take on it. Is it a shruken Jaguar S-Type, or a really bad body kit? The rest of us will see these cars and wonder who hurt the owner to make them think it was a good idea to buy it?
I’m being harsh on the Mitsuoka Viewt, but bare with me on this because that was my initial impression of it. When I looked in to the origins of the Viewt, I liked it a bit less given it’s Nissan Micra underpinnings. It wasn’t until I looked in to Mitsuoka themselves did I actually start to appreciate the Mitsuoka Viewt.
Where does the Mitsuoka Viewt come from?
Mitsuoka are a Japanese company that were founded in 1968 and are primarily a coach builder. Effectively they take already produced vehicles from Nissan and Mazda and apply their own styles to these cars and then sell them. While they were founded in 1968, the first reference I could find of a car their built was the 1982 BUBU50, which is a 3 wheeled microcar. Think along the lines of the BMW Izetta that had a fling with a Peel P50.
The Mitsuoka Viewt was initially based on the Nissan Micra K11, and then the Nissan Micra K12. Not that it actually matters. The styling, along with most of the other Mitsuoka vehicles, takes a heavy influence from the Jaguar Mk2 or Jaguar S-Type. It’s said that they take influences from American cars as well as English cars from the 1950’s and 60’s, but for this article let’s just accept that they have a fetish for the old Jaguar’s of the 60’s and decided the look would suit the hateful Micra K11.
All Mitsuoka Viewt’s in the UK are grey imports, being imported straight from the country of their birth – Japan. It wasn’t until 2015 did Mitsuoka agree a deal with a UK based distributor to have their newer vehicles sold in the UK. But up until then, if you wanted a Viewt you needed to go down the routes of grey imports in your usual places. I’d love to have seen the shipping container coming from Japan. Full of Subaru Imprezas, Toyota MR2s, and the Mitsuoka Viewt.
Personally speaking, I drove past a Mitsuoka Viewt near my home and the wife was sat next to me in the car. I pointed it out to her and she asked “what the hell is that?”. This, to me, means the Viewt is actually quite an usual head turning car. It would also mean that you wouldn’t lose it in a car park either, and that’s worth it’s weight in gold some times.
To me though the thing that really let’s the Viewt down – other than my obvious hatred of the Nissan Micra K11 – is the top half of the car. This is an obvious carry over from the Micra K11 with it’s big bubble like cockpit and deep windows. I am adamant if the headroom of the car was shortened by a good inch, and the base of the windows raised by an inch, the car would look so much better. You would then look at the Mitsuoka Viewt like you would do the Nissan Figaro. That is a car with classic styling done right. It’s even got the rust proofing of a British 1960’s car too!
Obviously, given my choice of cars that I’ve written about and own, I’m an odd ball when it comes to what I like in a car. And while I like odd ball cars, unloved and forgotten cars, I find it hard to make a case for the Mitsuoka Viewt. Maybe one day when I’ve got nothing on, I’ll buy a Viewt – or a Micra K11, if I have to – and hack the top of it to adjust the lines of the car to see if I’m right about it looking better.
While though I can defend every car I own when the wife takes aim and fires her hatred on them, I would only agree with her view on the Viewt. Saying that, she doesn’t like Paddy the Corolla E11 either. So maybe she has no taste?