Isuzu's forgotten sports car: The Impulse RS

When most people hear “Isuzu”, the first thing thst springs into their mind is likely going to be diesel engines and trucks. But what if i told you that Isuzu once made sports cars as well? And that their sports cars were also good?

In 1980 Isuzu lauched the Piazza, a Giugiaro-designed, wedge-shaped, sporty 3-door liftback coupe, which replaced the beautiful 117 Coupe. It was sold as the Isuzu Impulse in the USA and Canada, and as the Holden Piazza in Australia.

The 1st gen Piazza/Impulse was RWD and was sold until 1989 (only in the US, in Japan it was sold until 1991).

The 2nd gen Impulse was launched in 1990, and was only available in FWD. It shared its underpinnings with the cheaper Gemini Coupe, which served as the base for the Geo Storm.

In 1991, however, the Impulse RS was added to the lineup. This version featured an AWD system with a 43:57 rear-biased torque split, a rear viscous differential, a center planetary differential, viscous coupling and 4WS. The RS’s engine was a turbocharged, 1.6-litre 4XE1W inline-4, which produced 130 hp and 138 Nm, which was coupled with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The suspension geometry was tuned by Lotus, and the Impulse RS’s engine later found it way under the hood of the rare Lotus Elan SE.

The Impulse RS is a very rare car. Just 800 were made during the car’s 1-year production run. About 600 of these were sold in the US, the others ended up in Canada. Only 130 of them are still known to exist.

That being said, the Impulse RS is still, perhaps surprisingly, quite affordable. Just a few months ago, a pristine white example sold on Bring a Trailer for just $8,900!

While this car is pretty much obscure and forgtten, it still somehow managed to have a big impact on the automotive world.

The styling for this car was directed by Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s current Chief Designer, who also happens to have designed the Nissan GT-R.
One of Nakamura’s colleagues, Peter Stevens, borrowed cues from the 1989 Isuzu 4200R concept and adapted them for the McLaren F1.
Additionally, Isuzu’s engineering team ended up developing the rally-winning Subaru Impreza WRX.

The Impulse RS wasn’t a car that could be picked up by anyone and driven at its limits with confidence in a matter of minutes; its drivers had to take their time to study it, if not master it, to get the best out of it.
Once the driver had mastered the RS, however, the car could easily outperform its rivals, such as the Nissan 240SX, the Honda Prelude Si and the Acura Integra GS-R.

Over the years, the Impulse RS has gained a cult-like following, and owners have resorted to all sorts of unconventional ways to keep their cars running.

The Isuzu Impulse RS is a seriously underrated Japanese sports car.

If you find one for sale, i’d reccomend you to buy it, because i highly doubt it’ll stay this cheap for much longer. Plus, you’d be the owner of a car of which only 130 examples are still in road worthy condition.



Isuzu is overally forgotten. What about the pizza- i mean piazza?

06/08/2020 - 06:54 |
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06/10/2020 - 19:03 |
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