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Mizuiro Motor Company


#24
Mizuiro Karai '12
In the wake of the recent financial crisis, a decline in kei car sales for Mizuiro in favour of other automakers necessitated a new model by the company. Having spent a year in development, the resulting Mizuiro Karai (花蕾; flower bud) combined sportiness with practicality and value.

The Karai was instantly recognizable thanks in no small part to its swooping, rounded-off body and small, efficient LED headlights. It also differed significantly from other kei cars in that it had a kei-sized flat-4 engine as opposed to the de facto standard inline-3. Power from said engine was also transferred to the rear wheels to help harness its limited maximum output.

The Karai, as Mizuiro’s new flagship car, sported a unique badge in the shape of a flower bud. While it did not have as much cargo space as its competitors due to the unusual body shape, they were in turn somewhat over-optimized for practicality and lacked the finesse of the Karai, which served as Mizuiro’s return to form.

Karai
SPECS
Layout FR
Aspiration TB
Displacement 660 cc
Peak Power 47 kW (63 hp) @ 6300 RPM
Peak Torque 77 Nm (57 ft-lb) @ 5300 RPM
Weight 900 kg (1983 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 54/45
STARTING PRICE
¥1,040,000 JDM
COLOURS

Ardour Red

Tangerine

Hornet Yellow

Vivid Green

Electric Blue

Pacific Blue

Sandy Khaki

Steel Gold

Katsuobushi

Ethereal White

Sumi Black

#25
Mizuiro Inuwashi '13
A lightweight sportscar with an equally lightweight engine, the Inuwashi (犬鷲; golden eagle) was part of a novel approach by Mizuiro to cater to sportscar buyers. The Karai was inexpensive and sporty, but as a kei car, it had its flaws. At ¥3,175,000 ($28,966 US), the Inuwashi was created to compete among similarly-priced performance offerings, but only tipped the scales at 50-70% the weight of its competitors.

The most unique feature of the Inuwashi was its engine; sourced from the company’s Washiza (鷲座; Aquila) superbike, the punchy 1.3-litre naturally-aspirated inline-four revved quickly, propelling the sub-1,000 kg (2205 lb) car to 100 kph (62 mph) in six seconds. Connected to the engine was a six-speed sequential transmission similar to that on the Washiza, but overhauled for automotive use.

With an aluminum frame and aluminum bodywork, the Inuwashi possessed incredible agility and lacked sway bars due to its incredibly low weight. Its handling performance was impressive on its own, but the power provided by its engine made it into a true bird of prey among sportscars.

Inuwashi
SPECS
Layout MR
Aspiration NA
Displacement 1340 cc
Peak Power 118 kW (158 hp) @ 8900 RPM
Peak Torque 137 Nm (101 ft-lb) @ 7500 RPM
Weight 970 kg (2138 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 46/54
STARTING PRICE
¥3,296,000 JDM
$30,000 USDM
COLOURS

Ardour Red

Tangerine

Legacy Sunset Orange

Candy Burnt Orange

Hornet Yellow

Vivid Green

Kuromatsu

Electric Blue

Serene Blue Metallic

Pacific Blue

Steel Gold

Ethereal White

Steel Grey

Sumi Black

#26
Mizuiro Kaizoe '14
To go along with the performance-oriented Karai, Mizuiro needed a kei car that balanced sportiness with practicality. Therefore, the decision was made to resurrect the Kaizoe (介添え; helper) nameplate. This new Kaizoe was noticeably taller, allowing for more cargo space, but it retained many of its predecessor's features, including round taillights and a slim, low-set grille.

While the 660 cc flat-four engine used in the Karai was novel and helped lower the car’s centre of gravity, a three-cylinder of comparable displacement would ultimately be less complex, more reliable, and capable of a higher torque output. The Kaizoe’s inline-three, in particular, made 89 Nm (66 ft-lb) of torque over the 77 Nm (57 ft-lb) of the Karai’s flat-four, supplementing the maximum of 47 kW (63 hp) allotted to kei cars and allowing for a lower redline. Once again, the standard model (designated “T” for “turbocharged”) was offered alongside the S model, which lost 49 kg (108 lb) of weight and came with alloy wheels and a stiffer suspension tune.

While the more agile Karai was somewhat lacking in practicality, the Kaizoe easily solved such issues while retaining the charm of its predecessor.

T
SPECS
Layout FF
Aspiration TB
Displacement 659 cc
Peak Power 47 kW (63 hp) @ 6500 RPM
Peak Torque 89 Nm (66 ft-lb) @ 3300 RPM
Weight 1098 kg (2421 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 56/44
STARTING PRICE
¥1,320,100 JDM
COLOURS

Ardour Red

Tangerine

Hornet Yellow

Vivid Green

Electric Blue

Legacy Coastal Blue

Sandy Khaki

Katsuobushi

Ethereal White

Legacy Snow Grey

Sumi Black
S
SPECS
Layout FF
Aspiration TB
Displacement 659 cc
Peak Power 47 kW (63 hp) @ 6500 RPM
Peak Torque 89 Nm (66 ft-lb) @ 3300 RPM
Weight 1049 kg (2313 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 56/44
STARTING PRICE
¥1,517,850 JDM
COLOURS

Ardour Red

Tangerine

Hornet Yellow

Vivid Green

Electric Blue

Legacy Coastal Blue

Sandy Khaki

Katsuobushi

Ethereal White

Legacy Snow Grey

Sumi Black

#27

engineering wise it’s very good, but the design lacks a lot


#28
Mizuiro Tozansha '17
The Mizuiro Tozansha (登山者; mountaineer), first introduced in 2017, was a small three-door SUV with its sights set on the subcompact off-roader market. It was the product of Mizuiro's sports-car expertise distilled into a form engineered to shrug off difficult terrain. The Tozansha's styling—particularly its simple front fascia—exuded confidence, defying trends of excessive aggression that had defined the automotive industry in the 2010s. Its L-shaped taillights extended inwards and downwards simultaneously, improving visibility while maintaining visual integrity.

Due to the car’s stature, a flat-4 engine layout and offroad undertray were used to more effectively lower the centre of gravity. With a displacement of 2.5 litres and natural aspiration, it provided decent power quickly, crucial for tackling steep grades.

Alongside the standard N model was the X model, with upgraded suspension, a bull bar, and a more powerful engine as standard features. The N lent itself well to both off-road and on-road conditions, but the X was a thoroughbred adventurer that punched above its weight when taken off the beaten path.

N
SPECS
Layout F4
Aspiration NA
Displacement 2497 cc
Peak Power 99 kW (133 hp) @ 5500 RPM
Peak Torque 215 Nm (159 ft-lb) @ 3600 RPM
Weight 1201 kg (2648 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 54/46
STARTING PRICE
¥3,450,400 JDM
$32,200 USDM
COLOURS

Ardour Red

Serene Blue Metallic

Pacific Blue

Steel Blue

Sandy Khaki

Steel Gold

Katsuobushi

Ethereal White

Cloud Grey Metallic

Tungsten Grey

Sumi Black
X
SPECS
Layout F4
Aspiration NA
Displacement 2497 cc
Peak Power 138 kW (184 hp) @ 6400 RPM
Peak Torque 246 Nm (181 ft-lb) @ 3600 RPM
Weight 1222 kg (2694 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 53/47
STARTING PRICE
¥5,070,150 JDM
$47,350 USDM
COLOURS

Ardour Red

Hornet Yellow

Electric Blue

Serene Blue Metallic

Pacific Blue

Steel Blue

Sandy Khaki

Steel Gold

Katsuobushi

Ethereal White

Cloud Grey Metallic

Tungsten Grey

Sumi Black

#29
Shimizu GP70 '68
Following a bevy of victories in the All Japan Road Race Championship, Shimizu decided to try its hand at auto racing. Using a British-made chassis and bodywork reminiscent of 1960s endurance racers, the GP70 was built for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Behind the driver’s seat sat the same 2.5-litre SOHC V8 used in the Mont Blanc, having had everything except the engine block either upgraded or replaced with race-ready components that included DCOE carburetors and a racing exhaust system. It produced 165 kW (221 hp) of power—a figure that ultimately contributed to a top speed of 294 kph (183 mph) and a 0-100 time of 5.34 seconds.

While some design elements were carried over, the somewhat dated body shape was ultimately scrapped in favour of a more angular design for Shimizu’s first road-going midship sports car: the Gran Paradiso.

GP70
SPECS
Layout MR
Aspiration NA
Displacement 2496 cc
Peak Power 165 kW (221 hp) @ 7100 RPM
Peak Torque 252 Nm (186 ft-lb) @ 5700 RPM
Weight 848 kg (1870 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 36/64
STARTING PRICE
N/A (development and production cost approx. ¥619,488/unit)
COLOURS

Yellow

#30
Mizuiro Aspect '19
The Mizuiro Aspect was created to fill a gap in Mizuiro's lineup, that being for a car with a little bit more power. Weighing in at 1233 kg (2718 lb), it was heavier than even the rugged Tozansha mini-SUV, but minimizing curb weight wasn't a priority for the Aspect. Instead, it had a longitudinally-mounted turbocharged inline-four engine producing 192 kW (258 hp) coupled to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, allowing it to reach 100 kph from a standstill in five seconds and giving it more of an edge on straightaways. Nevertheless, it was a Mizuiro, and what it sacrificed in raw handling dynamics, it made up for in spirit.

A more track-oriented version was also available. Called the Aspect R, it shed 88 kg (194 lb) and boasted a power output of 239 kW (321 hp), making it Mizuiro’s most powerful mass-produced car yet and resulting in a 0-100 time of 4.2 seconds. It was also appropriately equipped, with a rear wing, rain light, magnesium wheels, and most importantly, a stiffer suspension setup for tackling corners head-on.

S
SPECS
Layout FR
Aspiration TB
Displacement 1997 cc
Peak Power 192 kW (258 hp) @ 7700 RPM
Peak Torque 260 Nm (191 ft-lb) @ 4700 RPM
Weight 1233 kg (2718 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 56/44
STARTING PRICE
¥3,740,000 JDM
$35,100 USDM
COLOURS

Blazing Red Metallic

Ardour Red

Tangerine

Legacy Sunset Orange

Candy Burnt Orange

Biwa Blue Metallic

Legacy Coastal Blue

Ethereal White

Cloud Grey Metallic

Pewter Grey

Sumi Black
R
SPECS
Layout FR
Aspiration TB
Displacement 1997 cc
Peak Power 239 kW (321 hp) @ 8300 RPM
Peak Torque 307 Nm (227 ft-lb) @ 6900 RPM
Weight 1145 kg (2524 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 56/44
STARTING PRICE
¥4,167,600 JDM
$39,050 USDM
COLOURS

Blazing Red Metallic

Ardour Red

Tangerine

Legacy Sunset Orange

Candy Burnt Orange

Biwa Blue Metallic

Legacy Coastal Blue

Ethereal White

Cloud Grey Metallic

Pewter Grey

Sumi Black

#31

Why not offer a manual on the Aspect, to satisfy the enthusiasts even more? At any rate, it’s a formidable entry into the affordable sports car market.


#32

It was indeed offered with a six-speed manual for both trim levels, in part due to the lower reliability of DCTs.


#33
Shimizu Mont Blanc '10
At the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, the surprise revival of the Shimizu luxury brand had many excited for the possibilities of a modern Shimizu lineup. At the forefront of this reveal was the seminal Mont Blanc, reborn as a luxury MPV with styling ahead of its time.

With production beginning in 2010, the new Mont Blanc became renowned for its wealth of interior space, benefiting from a high ceiling and more than plenty of legroom for its two rear seats. Cargo space was also abundant, given the two-box design carried over from the first Mont Blanc. Under the hood was a transversely-mounted 5.2-litre V12 providing smooth power to all four wheels via an electronically-controlled 7-speed automatic gearbox.

Despite being almost a full metre longer than its predecessor, its competitive price tag and spacious interior helped it once again set a standard for Japanese premium cars.

Mont Blanc
SPECS
Layout F4
Aspiration NA
Displacement5194 cc
Peak Power 264 kW (354 hp) @ 5900 RPM
Peak Torque 461 Nm (340 ft-lb) @ 3900 RPM
Weight 1962 kg (4325 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 57/43
STARTING PRICE
¥10,856,000 JDM
$82,500 USDM
COLOURS

Deep Red

Space Blue Metallic

Titanium Bronze

Dusk Bronze

Brilliant White

Peak Grey Metallic

Piano Black

#34
Shimizu Matterhorn '11
As part of fabled Japanese luxury marque Shimizu's return, another familiar nameplate returned to the forefront. The second-generation Shimizu Matterhorn was a svelte four-door limousine with a sumptuous, high-tech interior and its own version of Shimizu's new 5.2-litre V12 engine.

Many distinctive design features were inherited from the previous-generation car; these included the four round headlights (now housed within a sleek cluster alongside an L-shaped DRL strip and turn signal), as well as the bar across the trunk that bore the car’s name. A number of cutting-edge design elements were thrown into the mix, such as crescent-shaped LED taillights and retractable door handles. The engine, carried over from the Mont Blanc, was given a boost in power and now sat longitudinally, powering the rear wheels.

The new Matterhorn was developed with its sights set on similar European luxury offerings, and thus easily surpassed the standards set by its predecessor. While it wasn’t held in as high a regard as its competitors, Shimizu’s manufacturing mettle produced a well-built car that rewarded those who knew where to look.

Matterhorn
SPECS
Layout FR
Aspiration NA
Displacement5194 cc
Peak Power 279 kW (354 hp) @ 6400 RPM
Peak Torque 490 Nm (361 ft-lb) @ 3900 RPM
Weight 2213 kg (4879 lb)
Weight Distribution Front/Rear 55/45
STARTING PRICE
¥10,620,000 JDM
$101,000 USDM
COLOURS

Deep Red

Deep Laver Metallic

Space Blue Metallic

Titanium Bronze

Dusk Bronze

Brilliant White

Peak Grey Metallic

Piano Black

#35

I may not be a fan of the front, but omg rear end is fucking beatiful


#36

I agree. The front is more than a little odd to me, but at least the rear is much better - and as its name suggests, it represents the peak of its manufacturer’s ambitions.