Isuzu Motors Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer, began in 1916 with the first car built in partnership with Wolseley Motors in 1922. The Isuzu name meaning “fifty bells pealing in harmony and celebrations,” is also a river located in Japan.
Specifically, the Isuzu Impulse was originally the Isuzu Piazza, Italian in design by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Italian whose vision produced iconic cars like the Lotus Esprit, the Ferrari 250 GT and the original Volkswagen Golf, was introduced in the US market in 1983. There were two generations of the Impulse which the second generation came in 1990 and lasted until 1992. From what I have read, there were nearly 13000 of these produced in the second generation and very few exist today. So we have a car whose initial design combination was Italian then later accompanied by a General Motors platform. GM, who owned almost half of Isuzu also owned Lotus during this time. The Impulse, whose suspension was "tuned" by Lotus, was manufactured by Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan. In 1993, Isuzu refrained from selling cars in the U.S. and remained focused on SUV's, trucks and heavy duty diesel powered vehicles.
The green “Handling by Lotus” badge has four letters “ACBC” which are the initials of Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, the founder of Lotus. A true legend of the automotive industry, Chapman designed lightweight and simple suspensions which limited body roll with softer springs, stiffer dampers, and high grade sway bars. All second generation Impulses came standard with the Lotus “tuned” suspensions.
This 1990 Isuzu Impulse XS (first year of the second generation) weighing in at 2448 lbs, features a 1.6-liter, dual-overhead-cam, four-cylinder engine producing 125 horsepower and comes with a 4 speed automatic front wheel drive AND “Handling by Lotus” suspension making this fuel efficient car a very fun and sporty car to drive. The hatch back is unique in design as it is primarily all glass. An equalizer equipped stereo system with two speakers strategically located in the back, makes it a great car for tailgating. The five star rims are badged with the Isuzu name. The instrument panel is indicative of an early 90's attempt to be different. However, I applaud the ingenuity. It has 42000 miles on it and was a one owner car acquired from the state of Arizona. There is no rust on this 27 year old automotive “mutt” and the interior looks new.
Although I have not owned this car very long, I just happened to have stumbled upon it online. It certainly has received a lot of attention and the fact that it is so rare makes it all the more fun. Parts are still available, at least the parts I have had to get. This will be a great car to take to car shows as few will recall them being made and perhaps many seeing an Impulse possibly for the first time