American classic style with Japanese roadster rort and reliability? Japanese boutique carmaker Mitsuoka returns to Singapore with the limited-run Rock Star
Photos: Lionel Kong
[Updated November 2020 with video review]
For all of Singapore’s highly restrictive rules, we actually do have a fairly interesting automotive landscape. Being a right hand drive market means that we have access to many Japanese cars, as evidenced by the numerous Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) models that litter the dealer lots of parallel importers all over the island.
Occasionally, something a bit unique drops upon our shores, and the Mitsuoka Rock Star you see here most definitely falls in that category.
For the uninitiated, Mitsuoka is a small Japanese car manufacturer that functions more like a coachbuilder. What they do is they take a car from a fellow Japanese brand, and craft a whole new body over them. The results are often fascinating, to say the least.
Mitsuoka has had a presence here back in the 2000s, but given that their volumes are generally small, they found it tough going when Certificate of Entitlement (COE) prices started to spike around 2012 or so, and therefore quietly exited our market. Now though, they’re back, and their new dealer is parallel importer and used car trader MyCar Pte Ltd.
The Rock Star is one of two models that MyCar is bringing in for now (the other being the Nissan March-based Viewt small car), and it looks absolutely like nothing you’ll ever see on our roads – besides the handful of rare, right-hand drive conversion Corvette Stingrays that is.
Its styling is modelled after the classic Chevrolet Corvette C2 (aka the Stingray) from the 1960s, and it looks more at home driving down the Pacific Coast Highway rather than East Coast Parkway. But that alone is enough to get many Singaporeans to turn their attention towards it, but mostly with an expression of wonderment and confusion more than fascination, since classic American muscle cars are virtually non-existent here.