MITSUBISHI MODEL A

1917

MITSUBISHI MODEL A

The company started production of the Model A in 1917, thus becoming the first series produced passenger cars in Japan. By 1921, a total of 22 cars, including prototypes, had been assembled at the Kobe shipyard of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. In designing the Model A, reference was taken from a car made in Europe.
The model was built using sketches of the dismantled base car. The engine was built of cast iron, the chassis of beaten sheet metal and the interior was made by experienced horse coachbuilders using hollowed-out lacquered white cypress. It was fitted with gas headlamps, used an air blown horn and the body shell was formed from lacquered steel panels stuck to a wooden frame. The interior trim used luxury English worsted fabric.
The Model A was displayed at the Fukuoka Expo in 1919 alongside an aircraft engine also manufactured by the Kobe Shipyard. Sales of the Model A were handled by the Ote Company, Mitsubishi's first automobile sales company and a joint venture between Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Corporation.