This is how much a 1983 Isuzu Impulse costs today

The history of the Isuzu automobile company is very extensive. In fact, Isuzu, not Toyota, made history in 1934 as the first Japanese automobile manufacturer. It is also the first Japanese car manufacturer to export its cars.

The company, known today as Isuzu Motors Ltd, was founded in 1917, and has taken over a century. The automaker shares Japanese automakers’ affinity for mass-produced cars (we’re really looking at you, Toyota and Honda).

Today, Isuzu has expanded its business dealings to include auto parts, military construction, and battery-powered vehicles. Partnership and cooperation is an integral part of the storied rise of Isuzu.

It began with Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering’s collaboration with Tokyo Gas and Electric Industrial (TG&E) to build automobiles in 1916. This trend continued with the Isuzu/GM partnership in the early 1970s to sell refurbished Isuzu vehicles from General Motors in the American market.

Although the company has since stopped selling its passenger car models in the US and North America, it continues to provide support in the form of parts and services through the American Isuzu Technical Center (ITCA).

Turning the car around was not an easy task for Isuzu as it had to face stiff competition from the likes of Nissan, Toyota and Honda. One of Isuzu’s best moments on the motoring scene was the introduction of Isuzu Piazza, known as Isuzu Impulse in the USA.

At the time, the Ford Probe and Honda CR-X were the only sports cars that caught fire in the American auto market. The Impulse, dubbed by the makers of Asso di Fiori (“Ace of Clubs”), was Giorgetto Giugiaro’s design successor to the Isuzu 117 Coupe. The concept was a huge success at the 1979 Tokyo Motor Show.

You could say that the Piazza represented the pinnacle of Isuzu’s wild experiments with slimy compact sports cars during the 1970s and 1990s. In the words of the designer himself, “Ace of Clubs” was a Copernican revolution achieved by integrating previous design innovations to create a single production vehicle.

After the Tokyo Motor Show, Isuzu sped up production of the Impulse with very little design change, but it wouldn’t be officially available in the USA until 1983.

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1983 Isuzu Impulse Overview

There have been two generations of Isuzu Impulse. The first generation released in America in 1980 was a three-door, rear-wheel drive coupe featuring a T-body chassis. It was also a sports hatchback as a nod to its predecessor – the Isuzu 117 Coupe.

Other than paper, Impulse’s suspension gave GM a role in building the car—tougher shock absorbers, softer springs, and wider stabilizer bars. These days, most people associate the Isuzu brand with trucks and SUVs, but the Impulse has turned into a turbocharged sports car.

Grape Milk says the Impulse design was an implementation of what was to become the second generation of Giugiaro-designed VW Scirocco, in which VW and the Italian designer were not separated while the cake was still in the oven. What eventually emerged from the furnace is the offspring of a marriage between Giugiaro, Isuzu and American General Motors.

Turns out, this connector coupling didn’t look good for Impulse, or the Isuzu brand, for that matter. The Italian side of the partnership envisioned a revolutionary, unconventional design for the Impulse, but the American side did not buy it. Therefore, the plan turned from the original Giugiaro idea into a fast but cheap car.

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It turned out to be a tough plan, even for GM. In the end, Isuzu and General Motors were left with a beloved but underappreciated sports car that the average customer was unwilling to pay dearly for. Non-mechanical features of the Impulse include power windows/door locks, stereo system, air conditioning, and cruise control.

As mentioned earlier, the production version retained most of its conceptual features, including an integrated steering wheel mod that also moved the instrument cluster. The wiper controls and exterior strobes are conveniently located under the steering wheel.

While the 1983 Impulse was a rear-wheel drive, the second-generation turbocharged version launched in 1990 offered customers a choice of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The toe suspension, along with four-wheel disc brakes and P195/60R14 tires telescoped on either side of the 14-inch wheels, made driving the car on hilly terrain easier.

The 1983 Impulse was driven by a 4-cylinder engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual transmission. At 90 hp, the 1983 Impulse wasn’t as fast as the next 1985 version at 2,732 lb.-ft. and 140 hp. With 166 lb-ft of torque and 2,411 lb-ft, the 1983 Impulse could hit 60 mph in under 9 seconds, which was typical of fast cars at the time.

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How much is a 1983 Isuzu Impulse today?

About $10,000 (to be exact $9,998) was the base price for a 1983 Isuzu Impulse. The price was on par with sports coupes at the time, such as the 1984 Chevy Cavalier and 1988 BMW 325. In today’s money, the 1983 Impulse sold for about 29,000 dollar.

Would you pay $29,000 for a 1983 Isuzu Impulse today? Not so fast, my friend. You can consider paying when you find one for sale. And if you find one that isn’t junk, it won’t be the fastest on the road, but you’ll almost certainly be the only pusher.

Impulse didn’t sell many units because Isuzu didn’t build many of them either. Only 200 Impulses made it to Canada, while the US got 602. What this means is that the 1983 Isuzu Impulse is a rare gem that today’s owners won’t want to sell for $29,000.

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