MITSUBISHI MOTORS CORPORATION (MMC) announces that the Mitsubishi Model A, which gave origin to car building, has been selected by the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame* (JAHFA), a non-profit organization, as a Historic Car – one that has stamped a mark of excellence in Japanese automobile history.
Starting prototyping in summer 1917, Mitsubishi Model A was completed in November 1918 with a total of 22 cars manufactured by 1921. The car is the first Japanese series-production passenger car built and sold with a view to mass production. It is also acknowledged to be a car of significance in the Japanese automotive industry history.
Although there were few specialized automotive tools or machinery in those days, the first Mitsubishi Model A was built by hand using hammers and chisels. The wooden body was spray-coated for protection, and the interior used luxury British woolen cloth. With no design drawings to work to, and with little knowledge of gasoline engines, car bodies or interiors, or any experience in production processes, Mitsubishi engineers overcame many difficulties and demonstrated that the domestic mass production of automobiles was possible.
The Mitsubishi Model A was designed at the Kobe Shipyard of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) today. The MOTORS CORPORATION split from MHI in 1970.
A replica of the Mitsubishi Model A, recreated using the document at that time, is exhibited at the Mitsubishi Auto Gallery in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture.
* JAHFA: As a non-profit organization, JAHAF’s mission is to praise the achievements of people who contributed to building and development of today’s Japanese automotive industry as well as those who promoted the industry’s science and culture. JAHFA inducts such people to its Hall of Fame to hand their achievements on to future generations.