KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1979 Isuzu 117 XG

1979 Isuzu 117 XG 01

Giorgetto Giugiaro penned many stunning cars — the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint, Ferrari 250 GT, Iso Grifo — but here’s one that’ll throw the old guard at Concorso Italiano into conniptions: the lovely Isuzu 117 Coupe. It almost feels strange to be mentioning an Isuzu — perhaps best known in the US for making the ubiquitous GM box van — for sale in Detroit, but here it is nonetheless.

1979 Isuzu 117 XG 03 1979 Isuzu 117 XG 04

This particular 117 Coupe is one of the final facelift kouki models, mass produced after Isuzu partnered with GM and modernized the interior with plastic and other bits from the General’s parts bin. These are far less desirable than the early handmade models, which can often sell for upwards of $35,000 to $40,000 in Japan. However, with a price tag of $16,500, it’s still not exactly on the cheap side.

1979 Isuzu 117 XG 021979 Isuzu 117 XG 07

This model is a late XG, meaning it has the far more desirable, and frankly sublime sounding, fuel-injected DOHC 1.8-liter engine. Finding parts in the United States might prove to be a challenge, but Isuzus are pretty bulletproof (I should know, I just drove one across the motherland), and if necessary, you can always overnight parts from Japan.

1979 Isuzu 117 XG 081979 Isuzu 117 XG 06

Unfortunately, the dashboard seems to have the dreaded cracking that has befallen many a JNC, but the excellent condition of the checked pattern rear buckets perhaps makes up for it. The rest of the car is claimed to be mint, and has only 69,785 km (43,362 miles) on the odometer. At $16,500, will it be the one that’ll have your kidney quaking in its boots? The ad can be found on Craigslist

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14 Responses to KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1979 Isuzu 117 XG

  1. Myron Vernis says:

    I saw this car at last year’s St. John’s Concours and it is very nice. As I recall, it was imported by JDM Legends a couple years ago.

    I’m a big fan of these cars and have had one as a semi-regular driver for the past four years. Super dependable and more thumbs up from pedestrians/other drivers than just about any other car I’ve ever had. The relatively affordable price is icing on the cake.

  2. Bart says:

    Yeah, this is a sweet ride. I would love to own one someday. The clean lines of these cars make them forever classic. They look gorgeous from every angle, and imo, there isn’t anything more you could ask for with automotive design.

  3. Jim Simpson says:

    Completely agree with everything that Myron said I sure love my car… and the affordable price of admission is one of the few car bargains left..

  4. Skorj says:

    Though the handmade Series 1 are a smidge more attractive, the last of the series has aged really well too. The 117 is one of the most under-valued kyusha for some reason. Perhaps in Japan due to its oji-san demographic?

    • Bart says:

      Isuzus in general are under-valued, imo.

      • Skorj says:

        Bellett Type-R are though fully recognized, both collectors and drivers. Minty Type-R are already pushing 4 million.

      • Negishi no Keibajo says:

        The Isuzu Impulse/Piazza; another Giorgetto Giugiaro collaboration. While it screams of the 80’s, it manages to be a “soft” wedge. My hat’s off for them to collaborate with Giugiaro and Lotus.

        I owned a Chevy LUV pickup which was an Isuzu and it was a great truck. Next time you go to the airport, many of those baggage loaders with ramps are powered (and abused all day) by Isuzu engines.

  5. Yoda says:

    Wow, that steering wheel flat-out screams Opel. I’d have expected to see the Luv Mikado part in there.

  6. Ryan Senensky says:

    This car is cool and all but is a far cry from his best work. That crown goes to…

    The Zastava Yugo.

  7. psyaddict says:

    those wheels

  8. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Those curves…

    Speaking of which; what happens to the dies that stamp out these beautiful curves after production ends? In the small airplane world, sometimes an individual will buy them up to keep producing replacement parts or better (or risker) yet, produce a small follow-on model rebadged. Or do they simply get melted down? When Fiat couldn’t make the X-1/9 work anymore, Bertone took over for a few more years.

  9. Peter Q says:

    Always liked these, this one was parked in a garage in Fuchu, a suburb of Tokyo –

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