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Italian Design: 1977 Isuzu 117 GT

With grand looks, and a strong styling back bone, these Isuzu 117’s are interesting, and unique, Japanese built cars. Having been “styled” by the famous Giorgetto Giugiaro, who designed such cars as the Delorean DMC-12, and the Fiat Dino Coupe. In fact, if you look at a Dino Coupe, and this Isuzu, you can draw some similarities between the two. Graced with a beautiful design, round headlights, and chrome bumpers, this Isuzu came long before the age of plastic. In beautiful condition with a rare twin cam engine, this Isuzu is a rare sight in the states. This mini Dino can be yours for $14,000. Find it here on craigslist out of Whidbey Island, Washington.

Looking over this Isuzu brings to mind a couple of manufacturers. The Isuzu based 1.8 Dohc engine resembles an older Lotus twin cam engine. Quite clean, with no real troubles to speak of, this Isuzu has been recently serviced, and is ready to drive. Fitted with dual Solex side draft carbs, I am certain this power plant can provide some scoot, and fun sounds.

Looking inside of this Japanese built car reveals a very classy, and business oriented interior. The Italians know a thing or two about making a beautiful yet, functional sports car. The interior is described as mostly original with new interior carpets. The driver side seat has a vinyl condition issue, but it is very subtle, and appears to be the only notable issue of the interior. Squinting your eyes at the dash, you can almost imagine this is a Fiat interior.

The rich blue metallic paint lays wonderfully on this Italian designed coupe. Appearing without flaws, the paint and the body work appear perfect. The bumpers have been re-chromed, only adding to this rare beauty. The wheels leave a lot to be desired, and that would be the very first thing to address on this Isuzu. As far as known issues go, the oil pressure gauge is not functional, and I am guessing there is an intermittent turn signal issue. Otherwise this is an outstanding example of a 117. Would you bring home this rare and unusual Japanese classic?



  1. Scot Douglas

    Saw this on that other site a while back. Guy that owns this car also owns a company that makes some pretty sharp looking body kits / mods for miatas.

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  2. PaulbZ3

    So sharp and photographed well. Design is just so right. Were this imported With LHD? I think the ask is a little rich and would make an offer of $10K if I had room in my garage…

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  3. RicK

    never knew these even existed. reminds me of a dino fiat

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  4. Doyler

    Man why did I have to get laid off this week?

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    • Leon

      Work for Lowes ?? They laid off 2,000 management members Good luck to you

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      • Doyler

        Thanks. Not Lowes, a tech giant.

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  5. DRV

    Pretty little car.
    The islands have many cool Japanese 70s cars.

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  6. Blindmarc

    Love the design!

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  7. Gunner

    Wow. Learn something new every day. Never knew of this car. It screams Classic European Styling. Absolutely beautiful lines. I have no clue on the value of this car, however I believe that it will appreciate very well, and desirability will rise. Very good pictures! I want it, badly. Alas I must walk away…..again. Why do you guys do this to me? ;-)

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  8. brakeservo

    That first photo just screams “Jim Simpson!” Hey Jim – is that you? Where do you find all this cool stuff?

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  9. Russell

    I saw this car at his shop a couple months ago when I went to look at another car for sale. Kinda cool, I really like the design and the uniqueness. I actually went home and thought about it, but never knew the asking price. Many other cool cars in his shop as well, but I need an older Morris/Datsun/Toyota truck right now for all my Island errands.

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  10. Greg

    Beautiful car but how did they go from this to the styling on the I-Mark I bought in 1986?

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    • Marc D

      Why did they go to the styling of the I-Mark? because GM needed to dump its Open design and Isuzu needed a generic car to fill GM’s import car needs back when the big 3 needed fuel economy numbers to go up, Chrysler had Mitsubishi in its early days here, Ford had Mazda under its wing and GM had Isuzu, that’s were the Chevy Luv came from…. I did drive a 84 I-Mark diesel with a 5spd back in the 90’s, great on gas, fun to drive, made lots of fun diesel noise, but not much room for a 6ft driver.

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  11. Dolphin Member

    This seller, or a seller like him, usually has interesting Euro cars that he photographs in the same spot as the Isuzu shown here. He has manipulated the photos for a nice effect, probably with Photoshop.

    Atho it’s a great design because it was designed by a famous Italian car designer, the asking is pretty rich. It’s likely an import from Japan, but there are lots of other cars from Japan or Europe that I would rather have for $14K. You just need to wait until they are 25 years old to import them, which explains why this 1977 M.Y. car is over here.

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  12. DRV

    The contrast and saturation are turned up for the effect on these photographs. It makes sharp and cleaner appearing lines at the same time as making details disappear.

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    • CarNut from Winnipeg Member

      1 touch in settings on a decent phone. I have some amazing pics of my 86 Prelude Si. They were too good for when I put it up for sale so I had to un-enhance them.

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  13. Gerry Member

    His ask is in line with what they are going for here in Japan
    Have always wanted one just never had the finances or timing just right
    The later 2.0l EFI square headlight models can be had for less
    either way its still a bucket list car for me

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  14. Mark

    I once bought a BMW 2002 off eBay where the seller had taken “creative liberties ” with the photography. It looked perfect. I literally did not recognize the car when it rolled off the transport a month later.

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  15. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    Every time I see one of these I remember how Japan took over the world, in spite of crap cans like the Datsun 710…

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  16. tirefriar

    The view of the front angle is fantastic. At first glance I thought Fiat Dino Coupe and I wasn’t that far off – that was Giugiaro design as well. The back end is unmistakably Japanese of the 70’s/early 80’s era. Cool, but not $14k cool. BTW, most likely not eligible for California registration without a “creative” approach….

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  17. Jason

    Can’t trust these photos.

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    • rando

      I’m with ya. Looks good for a photo feature, but I’d rather see a phot that didn’t look touched. Kinda lilke model car kits where it says “retouched photo of actual kit”. What’s in the box isn’t always what is in the photos.

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  18. Car Nut Seattle

    Lovely looking car. I’ve seen pics of the Isuzu 117, but I’ve never seen one in person. For some reason, it was never sold in North America.

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  19. bcaviller

    would never pass the bumper requirements of the late ’70’s. Shame, it is a nice looking coupe. Very sexy lines.

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