Car For Sale: Nero Turbo

February 27, 2011

When it comes to the subject of ’80s turbocharged Japanese ferocity, these are indeed a rare sight.

Isuzu Piazza Nero Turbo, tuned by Irmscher. Sweet rims too.

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.

There's an engine hidden in there somewhere, I just knows it.

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).

Can't help but think that rear end reminds me of a Ford Laser.

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.

Isuzu Piazza Nero Turbo 1985 for sale on trademe »


  • Komeko says:

    Piazza ownership should be a compulsory requirement of every Australian before the age of 20. Otherwise, the Australians will continue to repeat the same inaccurate information about the cars until the end of time.
    The Australian and US press both hated the car, because Isuzu would not play ball with (bribe) them, and because GM did play ball with them.
    The Australian Piazza did not receive the more desirable Bosche/Hitachi hot wire MAF fuel injection system, and instead received a (locally GM sourced ?) trap door system that did not provide the higher performance level of the hot wire system.
    Lotus did not “fix” the handling of the Piazza. The best handling model of the line was the 1987 RS, which had an in house designed suspension. The Irmscher is very good too. The Lotus springs are too soft, and the body roll is excessive. A base model with slightly stiffer shocks will out handle the Lotus tuned suspension.
    Not sure what you are calling the west, but in North America, Cordias disappeared 25 years ago, all the Celicas and Supras rusted away 20 years ago, and no one has seen a Starion for 15 years.
    Specific to the Starion, which is one of my favorite cars, the Piazza/Impulse matches the performance numbers of the Starion ESI-R with .1 or .2 above or below in every single category. And the US press hated the Starion too, saying it had a truck engine. Plenty of unjustified negative comments to go around from the automotive press, leaving the public to take everything they write with a grain of salt.

  • kyteler says:

    I want this. It would be good to the fun, I would even convert it to 5spd if I could find the damn parts elsewhere. At which point, I believe legend says… that I will become a god! Mostly to myself but that’s fine by me.

  • Orion says:

    Thanks for the comments Komeko, always good to see there are still some enthusiasts out there.

    I guess what I meant to say was that when people talk of ’80s Jap turbos with a certain fondness these days they rarely ever mention the Piazza, but are quick to remember the Supras, Starions and their ilk.

    With regard to the Lotus suspension being better, this was based on an old neighbour of mine having one “donkeys years ago” that he said handled pretty well. Granted it probably had aftermarket shocks and springs fitted also, which would have affected his perception of the car somewhat.

    and I agree that the auto press can be an enthusiast’s worst enemy at times.

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