Mitsubishi Motors has announced that its seminal 1917 Model A 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.
Begun in the summer of 1917, the first Mitsubishi Model A was completed in November 1918 with a total of 22 cars manufactured by 1921. The car was 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 Japan’s automotive industry history.
Because there were few specialized automotive tools or machinery available in Japan in those days, the first Mitsubishi Model A was built by hand using hammers and chisels. The wooden body was lacquered, 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.
A replica of the Mitsubishi Model A, recreated using document at that time, is exhibited at the Mitsubishi Auto Gallery in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture.