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The Mitsubishi Minica is a kei car produced by Mitsubishi Motors for the Japanese domestic market since October 1962. It was first built by Shin Mitsubishi Heavy-Industries, one of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' three regional automotive companies until they were merged in 1964. It is the oldest Mitsubishi passenger car still in production, and the only one which predates the company itself.

The precursor of the Minica was the Mitsubishi 360, a series of vans and Kei trucks introduced in 1961. Designed for the lowest kei car vehicle tax classification, it was powered by a 356cc engine producing 17PS (17hp/13kW). After the successful introduction of the Minica, the 360 continued alongside until 1966.

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The first Minica was first introduced as a two-door sedan based on the Mitsubishi 360, with a front-mounted ME21 359cc twin cylinder two stroke air-cooled engine driving the rear wheels, transverse leaf springs in front and beam axle/leaf springs at the rear.

In 1966, the Mitsubishi Minicab cab-over pickup truck was launched to replace the Mitsubishi 360. Powered by the same air cooled two-stroke 359cc engine as the Minica, it came with cargo gates on three sides to simplify loading and unloading.

The second generation Minica was introduced in July 1969 with a three-door sedan body, 359cc OHV engine and coil springs front and rear. Two 2G21 SOHC water-cooled powerplants were optionally available, the Red 28hp (21kW) engine and the Gold engine fitted with twin SU carburetors developing 38hp (28kW), which was fitted as standard to the GSS sport model. A two-door wagon body was added in December, which would remain in production until the fourth generation in the early 1980s.

The Minica Skipper was introduced in May 1971 as a two-door coupé with liftable rear window, and a choice of 2G21 Red or Gold engine.

Also in 1971 the Minicab underwent its first model change. The Minicab EL offered a new interior and a longer cargo bed. Ride quality was improved with the adoption of a front wishbone and rear leaf spring suspension.

The third generation Minica was introduced as the Minica F4 in October 1972 with a 359cc OHC engine in the same basic configuration, but with the liftable rear window of the coupé, which itself continued production with the new engine as the Minica Skipper IV. Also in 1972, a panel van was added to the Minicab lineup, along with the Minicab W with a new engine.

In April 1976 the kei car regulations were revised again, and the car and wagon received a new 471cc engine, a small increase in length, and a new name, the Minica 5. The next year, the car and engine grew once again, creating the Minica Ami 55.



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