Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Impulse may be the first time many of you have ever heard of, much less had the opportunity to buy, one of Isuzu’s best cars. Let’s see if its price makes it all the more memorable.
The first time you drive a Dodge Viper is sort of like your first sexual experience. It starts with a sense of excitement mixed with trepidation. It ends with either a self-satisfied sense of accomplishment or beating yourself up for having screwed it up so royally. Either way, it’s a rite of passage that many people eagerly anticipate.
Buying last Friday’s 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 would allow not only checking that drive off of the ‘ol bucket list, but said driving would help rack up the Viper’s mileage which at present sits at a woefully low 9,800 miles. A $42,000 asking price was the major hurdle to overcome in both of these endeavors. That seemed a jump too high for many of you. At least that was the implication given by the 56 percent No Dice loss you all awarded the Dodge.
Dodge isn’t making Vipers anymore. In fact, it’s a wonder that Dodge sticks around at all considering that the money-making truck division has been spun into its own Ram brand. History books are filled with brands that have come, had their hot minute, and have gone the way of Elvis. Some are remembered fondly while others are almost totally forgotten.
As a marque, Isuzu is one that’s hard to forget since the company still sells medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks here in the States. At one time though, the company sold much more than that. Isuzu’s start in the U.S. market came in 1972 with the introduction of the badge-engineered Chevy LUV pickup. In 1976, General Motors dipped a bit deeper into Isuzu’s well, offering the “Opel by Isuzu” car line as an adjunct to the Buick brand. Those Japanese-sourced cars entered the market in replacement of what had become too-expensive German Opels. Based on the global T-car platform that was shared with the Chevette, the Isuzus never generated much enthusiasm or sales but did help Buick meet its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements.
Isuzu struck out on its own in 1981, setting up an American dealer network and introducing the same models under the questionable I-Mark name. Those cars laid the groundwork for the introduction in 1983 of the Giorgetto Giugaro-designed Impulse coupe. Isuzu’s close ties to GM (the American company owned a sizable chunk of the Japanese automaker at the time) meant that a number of its models showed up in the States as both Isuzus and under GM brands, including that company’s “import-fighter” GEO line.
This 1991 Isuzu Impulse XS was one of those cross-competive models, having been sold with minor bodywork changes as the Geo Storm. Like the first-generation Impulse, this coupe is based on a sister sedan. Unlike the earlier car, though, this one is FWD. For enthusiasts, that may seem like a step backward from the RWD first generation. Fortunately, GM also owned Lotus at the time and put the two companies together to massage the Impulse’s handling and, in return, give Lotus access to Isuzu’s twin-cam 1.6-liter four for its M100 Elan sports car.
That eager engine also powers this Impulse, here offering 130 horsepower and 102 lb-ft of torque. It’s matched in this car with a four-speed automatic. To date, those mechanicals have pulled the Impulse along for 169,000 miles.
Along with a sporty motor and not-so-sporty transmission, this Impulse gets handsome factory alloys, and semi-hidden headlamps. It features a body style eerily reminiscent of the contemporary Buick Reatta coupe. Paintwork appears to be in decent shape, and the car looks to have all its original decals and badging including the cool “handling by LOTUS” badge on the front fenders.
The interior features some plastics that look far chintzier than their age and condition imply. A carpet toupee on the dash cap and a double DIN aftermarket radio are notable additions to the space. Interestingly, the front and rear seats don’t share their upholstery pattern, a way perhaps of even Isuzu acknowledging the ridiculousness the rear space affords.
According to the ad, the car comes with a clean title, new LED lights, and a fresh battery. The seller claims it “runs like a top.”
The question for you all is whether this rare Isuzu’s $7,000 asking price is at the top of the market. What do you say, is this Impulse worth that as it sits? Or, is that too much for an Impulse purchase?
Long Beach, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.
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