When it comes to the subject of ’80s turbocharged Japanese ferocity, these are indeed a rare sight.
Marketed as the successor to the cult 117 coupe, styled by Giugiaro, tuned by Irmscher, and with a 2 litre turbo donk under the hood powering the rear wheels, once can’t help but feel that the Isuzu Piazza should be heaps popular, given the resurgence of ’80s nostalgia in the last few years. Unfortunately, they just aren’t.
Being sold in Australia and New Zealand as a Holden probably didn’t help either.
Isuzu preferred to concentrate on whacking giant turbos on trucks instead back then, which made it a somewhat lesser player in the emerging ’80s sports car market – but it was mostly General Motors’ meddling which saw the Piazza sell rather poorly outside of Japan. In the western world you hardly ever hear of Piazzas being mentioned in the same breath as Cordias, Celicas or Familias, let alone Starions, Supras or RX-7s, which is kind of a pity because the SOHC 8-valve intercooled 4ZC1 engine actually had a similar amount of power (180ps) as the corresponding G63B Starion engine of the era.
Unsurprisingly the Japanese still love them, and the Irmscher derived suspension in the Nero Turbo models was a step up from the rather mundane live rear axle on the standard Piazza (the Lotus tuned versions which came along later offered better handling still).
About the only thing I can fault about this Piazza is the slushbox, but other than that, it’s definitely something refreshingly different from the usual fare of ’80s Jap turbo offerings, and is furthermore clean and unmodified to boot. Hopefully it ends up going to a good home; if there’s one thing good about the less ‘popular’ cars it’s that the enthusiasts tend to be a lot more passionate about their rides. Even the price is realistic, for once.