Mitsushita Kronos: The Retro.
Price new: $8,800
During the 1990's, the 1950's and 1960's nostalgia was very strong, especially in Automotive Industry. Car companies such as Ossan, BKOO and Dearborn were all making their own retro style car, and with the introduction and success of a new reimagined FATI, it's clear that retro design is thriving indeed.
Mitsushita also had their own retro style car during this period. In form of the big Mitsushita Classic reminiscing of the old 1950's big Mitsushita.
And with the year 2000 approaching, the retro design doesn't seem to lose traction anytime soon. Mitsushita decided to introduce it's new retro car. Mitsushita Kronos.
Based on the popular Kei-car Mitsushita Kani. The Kronos was inspired by 1950's Little British Cars such as Conan C22 and Vanquist V4. Smaller than either of those, the Kronos is a Kei-car through and through. It's also very similar to the earlier 1990's Ossan Unique Cars range, but those were bigger than Kei-regulation with 1000 or 1300cc engine.
Despite having the body that looks like it came from the 1950's, it came with all the great features of then (2000) motoring. Airbags, Power Steering, 6 Speed Gearbox, ESP, Fuel Injection, Disc brake, Split folding seats, sunroof,
simple climate control and many other things that the actual 1950's cars cannot offer.
Mitsushita went into trouble with making the Kronos as authentic as possible. Throttling is by cable, not electric drive-by-wire and the exhaust have been tuned to sound old-fashioned and not like a vacuum cleaner. The gearbox is floor mounted, however. And the interior is merely adequate, but they did put some retro touches on it, such as wood trim, retro stereo, and also some of the knob is made of bakelite-substituted material. The engine is 660cc, 45hp. It's the same unit as those in the Kani. Light, efficient, reliable. The car itself didn't cost more than a typical Kani, available from about $8,800.
Mitsushita Kronos was intended to be a limited production car, with 5,000 unit available only in Japan. But the demand for it was so great that Mitsushita decided to make another 25,000 with even more features such as Turbocharged engine, automatic transmission and various other electronic gizmo. The first 5000 sold out near immediately. The later 25,000 sold out a bit less quickly, but for the first 2 years the second hand value was higher than new.
These still command high price today (2017) with near no depreciation. As it combines great Mitsushita reliability and economy with acceptable performance and retro looks. It's also been export out from Japan and became a popular second hand imports around the world.