We’ve done a few articles on Isuzu before (here and here) and it’s quite clear that the old Japanese marque’s car-making division started to run into financial rocks in the early 90s. And now we hear that after soldiering on for years selling only rebadged GM SUVs, Isuzu is deserting its last real passenger car market, the USA (here at japanesenostalgiccar.com). However one of the standout memories from the late 80s JDM era were the extraordinarily lavish series of TV commercials for the Isuzu Gemini.
Many JDM car commercials were filmed in Europe during that time, and so it’s not surprising that the Isuzu commercials were shot in Paris. But the memorable thing about the Isuzu ads were the amazing stunts, which were performed by the Remy Julienne organisation, which also performed the stunts for the (original) Italian Job, the Taxi series, and most of the James Bond films, to name a few.
Here’s a compilation of the Isuzu commercials for the FWD Gemini.
And here’s a JDM documentary from the mid 80s on how some of those extraordinary stunts were done:
But the market for people who need a car for performing choreographed urban stunts (the ad tagline in Japanese was “Urban Acrobat”) was rather quite small, and as we know, by the early 90s, Isuzu was effectively no more as a car maker.
….and by the way it’s pronounced “Gem-min-nee”, not “Gem-min-nye” as, well…everyone…says it. The idea was that the original 70s concept was to be “GM’s Mini”, but nobody ever used the originally-intended pronounciation. Except in the JDM ads.