TOKYO, Japan – A Mitsubishi Model A (above) has been selected by the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame, a non-profit organisation, as a Historic Car – one that has stamped a mark of excellence in Japanese automobile history.
The prototype was assembled in 1917 and completed in November 1918 with a total of 22 cars assembled by 1921.
”The car,” the automakers said, ”was the first Japanese series-production vehicle and sold with a view to mass production. It was also acknowledged to be a car of significance in Japan’s automotive industry history.”
‘NO DESIGN DRAWINGS’
There were few specialised automotive tools or machinery in those days, Mitsibishi added, and first Model A was built by hand using hammers and chisels. The wooden body was spray-coated for protection and the interior used luxury British wool.
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”With no design drawings and with little knowledge of gasoline engines, car bodies or interiors, or any experience in production processes,” Mitsubishi said, ”our engineers overcame many difficulties and demonstrated that the domestic mass-production of automobiles was possible.
The Model A was designed at the Kobe shipyard of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company – later changed to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
REPLICA ON DISPLAY
A replica of the Mitsubishi Model A, recreated using documents from that time, is on show at the Mitsubishi Auto Gallery in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture.
*JAHFA: A non-profit organisation to praise the achievements of people who contributed to developing of the Japanese automotive industry as well as those who promoted the industry’s science and culture. It inducts such people to its Hall of Fame to hand on their achievements to future generations.