The first years of the 1917th century were very fertile for the nascent automobile. Furthermore, in a country like Japan where fundamental transformations (political, economic and social) were also taking place. In this context, numerous efforts were made to develop cars with Japanese DNA. However, it was the financial and industrial might of the Mitsubishi group that was able to turn such attempts into a reality brought into production, beginning with the Model-A in August XNUMX.
While the origin of the Mitsubishi group as a company dates back to 1870, Mitsubishi's history as an automobile manufacturer began long before the Motor Vehicles Division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd was renamed "Mitsubishi Motors Corporation" in 1970. The The first Mitsubishi vehicle to see the light was the Model-A, a car designed to transport passengers and produced entirely in Japan.
Two prototypes of this model were launched and exhibited at the Yaesu building in the Marunouchi district (Tokyo) and then at the Peace Expo, also in Tokyo, where it managed to attract great excitement.
Mr. Nakagawa, who was in charge of the engines at the time, stated after a while: “There was a lot of experimentation and guesswork involved in making the car's engine, gears and cooling system. We use systems to fit all the parts that, today, would be unthinkable in the manufacturing process of a vehicle ... "
For his part, Mr. Ushida, in charge of the engine design, added: “The car had a fairly large passenger interior, made of wood and a 35 horsepower engine. The limits of the car in motion depended on the driving skills of the driver. The passenger cabin was built on the experience of horse-drawn carriage production, so it was extremely heavy for its size. The maximum speed it reached was around 30 km / h ”.
Production began in August 1917 at the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. plant. Shortly thereafter it moved to Nagoya where it had been established there in May 1920. The Mitsubishi Model-A was marketed and sold by Ohte-Shokai KK, a company created jointly by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Corporation in 1918 for the purpose of importing and selling American-made automobiles and tires. However, after four years in which 20 cars were manufactured (plus 2 prototypes), the Model-A production was stopped in 1921 when the construction of airplanes, the first was the 1MF biplane, took precedence over vehicles.
Despite the low production of the vehicle, the Model-A became a pioneer for Japan and for Mitsubishi, an innovator ever since. Therein lies the origin of the creative engineering of the current Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and the consequent reputation for innovation, its robust reliability on the road, off-road tradition, etc ...
To pay homage to this vehicle, a replica was built in 1972 with materials of the time that is exhibited in the museum “Mitsubishi Auto Gallery” (MAG), recently renovated, inaugurated in 1989 and located in the MMC Research and Development Center in Okazaki, Japan.
Length: 3.830 mm.
Width: 1.620 mm.
Height: 2.070 mm.
Wheelbase: 2.727 mm.
Empty weight: 1.300 kg.
Engine: 4 cylinders, gasoline.
Displacement: cc 2.765.
Power: 35 CV.
Speed: 30 km / h.