Illustration for article titled PCH, Island Nation Edition: Honda Rover or Lotus Isuzu?

So yesterday we pitted a couple of classic Motown wagons against each other in the Choose Your Eternity poll, and the result was so close to a tie as to make no difference (with the Dodge photo-finishing past the Ford). Today we're going to look at a couple of cooperative efforts between the island of the Rising Sun and the island whose empire's sun never set. Yes, Japanese style and British reliability, together at last! Fasten your seat belts, everyone!


Let's face it, Rover's cars never sold well in the United States (for reasons we really don't need to explain here), so when it came time to sell the Rover 800 over here, the marketing suits at British Leyland figured they'd just call it something else. And so it was that the Sterling was born; with Honda V6 power and British good looks, it looked like a can't-possibly-miss; no oil leakage, no clattery tractor-engine sounds, no dullsville Japanese-sedan styling. Yes, the Sterling was quite a car, and this 1989 Sterling 827 SL, available for the farthingly low asking price of a cool grand, could soon be gracing your garage. Now, don't be intimidated by the British electrical system; after all, the reliability of the Honda running gear is so profound that it emits a force field of Japanese quality that actually prevents problems in unrelated systems! Would we make this stuff up? And that bad talk going around town about poor build quality and corrosion? Hogwash! Though the description on this car is a bit sparse...

Was there ever an Isuzu that was cool enough to be a Project Car Hell car? Most emphatically, yes! The Impulse with the "Handling By Lotus" option is such a car. This '89 Impulse has rear-wheel-drive, Giorgetto Giugiaro styling, and the aforementioned suspension tuning done by none other than the road-gripping gurus at Lotus. It's got the Chex wheels, a somewhat new clutch (though you might consider asking to see the receipt), and... we're not sure what else. Sure, Isuzu never really measured up to the quality standards of Honda, Nissan, and Toyota, but it can't be that bad. Can it?


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