A masterpiece of the 1970s with an Italian design.

*This is a translation done by a machine.

What is the most beautiful coupe in Japanese car history? "Isuzu 117 coupe" is a model that is always mentioned when a question like that comes up. It went on sale in December 1968, and was the flagship model of Isuzu passenger cars for a long time until 1981.

It was in the mid-1960s that Isuzu decided to develop a specialty model in order to raise the brand's recognition, and asked Carrozzeria Ghia of Italy to design it. At that time, it was also the first project led by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who transferred from Bertone.

Giugiaro, who transferred to Ghia in December 1965, ran the Isuzu project for the Geneva show in March of the following year. That's when "Isuzu Ghia 117 Sport" came out. The beautiful coupe style won Concours d'Elegance in this year's show. By the way, the Fiat Dino Coupe by Bertone, whose silhouettes are said to be very similar, debuted in March 1967, one year after the appearance of the 117 Sport.

The production model, which debuted in December 1968, was called "117 Coupe" and almost reproduced the design concept of Giugiaro both interior and exterior. Therefore, the production was very difficult, and especially the initial model produced until 1973, the number of production was small due to a lot of manual labor (2458 units), and it is now called "Handmade (HM) Series" and is highly valued among enthusiasts.

At first, it was only a newly developed 1.6-liter DOHC unit (120ps with Mikuni solex twin carburetor and 130ps with Japan's first electronically-controlled fuel injection), but later a 1.8-liter SOHC SU twin (115ps) and a low-cost SU single (100ps) Etc. The highest model of 130ps in the handmade era is called "EC", and it is said that only 140 units are produced. The 117 coupe EC's vehicle price of 1.87 million yen is probably close to 10 million yen in today's sense. It was a very expensive model.

Isuzu partnered with GM in 1971 and succeeded in streamlining production of the 117 coupe. Since 1973, production of the minor change model has increased dramatically(1.8 litter only). Compared to the latest production before and after the reform, the difference was about 10 times.

In 1977, minor changes were implemented again, making the 117 coupe the third generation. The distinctive round 4-light headlights have been replaced with angled corners, and the 2-liter engine is finally available. Rare models with diesel engines are also available.

Following the 117 coupe, the flagship of the Isuzu brand was the Piazza by Giugiaro (Italdesign), also a model that has left its mark in the history of Japanese car design.

Jun Nishikawa's Highlights!

The car is a PA90 with a 1.6 liter DOHC engine, and it's definitely an early "handmade" series. It is a de facto one owner model, with a Single-digit number plate (Characteristics of old Japanese cars) remaining. Unfortunately, we cannot inherit the license plate. The current owner is a foreigner and there is no evidence of using this car in Japan, so the 47,000km odometer can be considered an actual mileage.

Only the left side of the body has been repainted and sheet metal again, but the rest is non-restored preservation. Looking at the condition of the engine and the interior, it was very calm in the atmosphere of a car with a mileage of about 30,000 to 40,000 km. Speaking of 117 coupe, the window frame of Nishijin weave is famous, but the condition was good and the color remained vivid.

I started the engine for the first time in a while, but it started immediately and the idling was stable, so I can say that the condition of the engine is good.

Unfortunately, there is no original wheel. I am currently wearing a 15 inch Watanabe wheels but it comes with a set of 5 chromodra wheels combined with an original 14 inch tire. It's a better combination for Italian design. Of course it depends on your taste.

This is a famous car born by a collaboration between Japan and Italy, and it is also a representative work of Giugiaro. How about making your debut in the classic car rally with a gallant early handmade 117 coupe in excellent condition.

Vehicle Specifications

Model Year1969
Year of Purchase1969
Engine Capacity1,584cc
Steering WheelRight
Chassis No.PA90-5200262
Engine No.
AreaGunma, Japan