Stored 10+ Years: 1986 Isuzu Impulse Turbo

The Impulse is one of the great lost cars of the 80s. There is so much going on with them: Giugiaro body, Japanese engineering, Lotus tuning. They looked terrific, were fun to drive and have held up over time pretty well. They are also extremely rare.

The basic fact is that there just aren't any sporty, compact, affordable rear-wheel drive cars anymore. But back in the late 70s to the early 90s there were many options.

The Impulse was one such option when it debuted in 1981. It was otherwise known, perhaps fittingly (given the Italian design) as the Piazza outside North America. This was way back when Isuzu was an equal contender alongside Honda and Toyota for king of Japanese auto sales in North America. The Impulse was way nicer than most other Japanese cars at the time. Isuzu made a great call in commissioning Giugiaro to do the body work. Japanese design was struggling to find a language, and he helped them see how they could craft a look, tone and shape that neither America nor Germany were seizing upon - yet.

Engines were either naturally aspirated or turbocharged 4-cylinders. This is the rarer and far more desirable 2.0-liter turbo, with a 5-speed manual transmission, ventilated front disc brakes, and rear solid disc brakes. The seller says the suspension is by Lotus, but I thought it was only offered on later models.

The seller says this survivor has been in enclosed storage for over a decade and needs a cleaning. They do mention a new battery and oil change, however, and that is was "started up". 10 years is a long slumber for any car, so it may need more, but the basics are here, and it looks great in presumably original Turbo trim, wheels and rear spoiler.

The Impulse is flying low on the collector radar but deserves a new appraisal as a special, exotic car of multinational breeding. To sum it up, it's pretty and fast.

Available here on craigslist for just $2,800.

1 comment: