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Deluxe Diesel: 1983 Isuzu I-Mark Deluxe Sedan

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Here’s an unusual one, which isn’t too surprising coming from me. This 1983 Isuzu I-Mark Deluxe Sedan is on eBay with heavy bidding (no lie) and a current bid price of just over $1,300. It’s located in beautiful Bowling Green, Kentucky; a famous car town for sure, but not a place where I’d expect to see an Isuzu diesel car.

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This is a west Texas car and the “original owner had kept the car garaged and used it in part to tow behind his RV (some of the 99, 311 miles were put with the engine off).” The seller says that there is no rust on this car and it looks great, other than a couple of dings and that mis-matched left front fender paint. The seller has had this car for a year and planned on keeping it forever but they’re moving into a “senior living type place with restricted and limited parking” so they have to get rid of it. The seller has stockpiled a few extra parts and maintenance supplies so the next owner should be set for quite a while. Here is a similar car in Portland, so we know that the bottom, black-painted-portion isn’t an afterthought or a rust cover-up like so many cars in the Midwest suffer from: the indignity of sporting the dreaded rust-repair-bottom-black-painted-portion!

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Yes, a 5-speed manual! A few weeks ago I showed a 1982 Isuzu I-Mark but it was a two-door and it had an automatic transmission. Now, here’s a sweet 5-speed but it’s in a sedan, dang! That’s a hard choice, and oddly enough they’re about the same exact price; although this car is in jump-in-and-drive-it-now condition. The interior is in great shape on this car. The seller says that the “seat covers are there to protect the near perfect seats.” The 1983 I-Mark Deluxe and LS models got a three-position tilt steering wheel, quite a thing for an import in 1983.

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Isuzu knows its diesel engines. In 1983 Isuzu added a new ceramic glow plug that “provided almost instant starts”. Which means that this car wouldn’t work for anyone born after 1982, we all know that if something isn’t instant it’s either broken or soon will be (just kidding!, I kid the millennials!)… This is Isuzu’s 4FB1 engine, an 1.8L, 1,817cc four-cylinder diesel engine with 51 hp and 72 ft-lb of torque. It’s not a stump-puller but it’ll pull this little car along to the tune of around 45 mpg on the highway, there’s nothing wrong with that. The seller adds that the “A/C blows cold, service manual includes diesel engine, all gauges work except the oil pressure, spare tire, and jack in trunk  exhaust system good, new brake pads 3 months ago.”

I think that this would be a fun, little car. It’s certainly cheap enough to just use for commuting duty until it wears out, in another few hundred thousand miles, and the 5-speed would make it at least semi-enjoyable to drive. You may not win any awards at a vintage Japanese car show, but you’ll have a few admirers at any such show, not to mention you’ll pass up more than your share of fuel pumps along your commute. Are there any fans of these unusual cars out there?


  1. JoeT

    I’d take it if it were closer.

    Like 1
  2. grant

    It would make a decent commuter, but a “collector” car? I just don’t see it.

    Like 0
  3. John K

    Same drivetrain as the Chevette diesel, IIRC. If so, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

    Like 0
  4. Danno

    I’d be interested in seeing a shot of it after it’s been idling in the driveway for a couple of minutes LOL. I suspect these old diesels ultimately only appeal to anti-environmentalists.

    Like 0

    Someone had to mess with the radio AGAIN. Vacuums are your friend

    Like 0
  6. Chebby

    The biggest problem with these tiny diesels was tiny horsepower. Why didn’t Isuzu, VW etc remedy the power deficit by making a larger engine? Mileage still would have been strong, and fhe cars would not be taxed to climb hills and reach highway speeds.

    Like 0
    • Ed P

      Possibly the power was sufficient for markets outside of North America.

      Like 0
  7. Jim

    Whoever buys this will have the most reliable vehicle they could ever own!!


    Like 2
  8. Jim

    Another guy was on the news in Australia for clocking 1 million km’s on his Isuzu i-mark diesel!!


    Like 1
    • Gay Car Nut

      In Australia, It’s called the Holden Gemini. The same car as here in the USA, but with a different name. That’s international marketing, I reckon. :)

      Like 0
  9. Scotty G Staff

    Update: this great little car was sold for $2,103.23; the price of a dozen pairs of shoes, another lost opportunity.

    Like 1
  10. Gary johnson

    Yes it sold for $2100 to a buyer from Beverly Hills,Ca who also paid nearly $1,000 for a shipper to pick
    It up in Bowling Green,Ky. Where I lived at the time that I sold the car. I parked in my concrete driver and to this day there are no signs of any leaks. Had under 100k if an 18 wheeler had not hit it while I was stoppped st a traffic light which resulted in a salvage title —- I would still own the car. Yes, it brought &2100 with a salvage title and 33 years old. Buy the I got more than the selling price from the insurance as well and afriend restored it for $550. Guess that makes me a stupid buyer. Who knows may see it in a movie someday.

    Like 0
  11. Gay Car Nut

    I remember when the Isuzu I-Mark was sold in the USA. At the time, I thought it was hideous to look at. Thirty yrs. later, it depends on the years. This 1983 I-Mark is beautiful. I love the front end appearance. It looks more laid back than the earlier models looked. I’d buy an I-Mark Diesel if there were any still left running.

    Like 1

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