The Truth About Cars » I-Mark http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 19:13:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » I-Mark http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1986-isuzu-i-mark-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1986-isuzu-i-mark-hatchback/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=474845 In the late 1980s, if you didn’t want to buy your Isuzu Gemini as a Geo/Chevrolet Spectrum, you could get it as a genuine Isuzu. I-Marks are (and were) very rare, though we have seen an ’87 in this series), and so this one with gigantic ISUZU badging has some historical interest for the true […]

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In the late 1980s, if you didn’t want to buy your Isuzu Gemini as a Geo/Chevrolet Spectrum, you could get it as a genuine Isuzu. I-Marks are (and were) very rare, though we have seen an ’87 in this series), and so this one with gigantic ISUZU badging has some historical interest for the true connoisseur of cheapo 80s hatchbacks.

The only I-Mark I’ve ever driven was the needs-some-TLC ’81 diesel in the clip above, and it was a fine car. However, that was the earlier Chevette-sibling rear-wheel-drive version. Today’s I-Mark Junkyard Find is the front-wheel-drive sibling of the Holden Gemini (among many others).
That’s the 70-horse 1.5 liter 4XC1 engine right there, close cousin to the engine in the early-90s Lotus Elan.
It was cheaper than the Civic, Corolla, and Sentra, and… it was cheaper.
This one almost made it to 100,000 miles during its 27 years on the planet.
It probably still ran when towed away, but expired tags spelled its doom.
When a car owner knows that the junkyard is the likely next stop, the Cotton Candy Little Tree usually gets replaced by a New Car Scent tree. That’s the law.
You want luxury? An I-Mark with factory sunroof in 1986— that’s luxury!

02 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 30 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 32 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 34 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 35 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 36 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 37 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 39 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 41 - 1986 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Isuzu I-Mark http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1987-isuzu-i-mark/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1987-isuzu-i-mark/#comments Sun, 30 Sep 2012 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=461840 North Americans bought the post-Chevette Isuzu Gemini under several marques. There was the Spectrum, sold as a Chevrolet, a Geo, and a confusing Chevrolet/Geo. In Canada, you could get a Gemini badged as a Pontiac Sunburst. And, of course, there was the Isuzu I-Mark, a destined-for-China’s-steel-industry example of which I’ve found in a San Francisco […]

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North Americans bought the post-Chevette Isuzu Gemini under several marques. There was the Spectrum, sold as a Chevrolet, a Geo, and a confusing Chevrolet/Geo. In Canada, you could get a Gemini badged as a Pontiac Sunburst. And, of course, there was the Isuzu I-Mark, a destined-for-China’s-steel-industry example of which I’ve found in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.
These things were cheaper than a Corolla, had front-wheel-drive, and… they were cheaper than a Corolla.
The 1.5 liter four delivered 90 horsepower, which wasn’t so bad in 1987, and the I-Mark proved more reliable than, uh, the Hyundai Excel?
All in all, a forgotten commuter appliance that now serves as a reminder of The General’s musical-marques efforts of the 1980s and 1990s.


Who can forget the “Joe Isuzu” ads of the 1980s? Let’s watch a few for the I-Mark.

11 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1987 Isuzu I-Mark Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Curbside Classic: 1982 Isuzu I-Mark Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/curbside-classic-1982-isuzu-i-mark-diesel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/curbside-classic-1982-isuzu-i-mark-diesel/#comments Tue, 28 Sep 2010 14:36:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=366778 Sorry, Hemi Cuda fans, but this is one of my most prized CC finds. As you know all too well by now, CC is not about haunting car shows for immaculate trailer queens. It’s about documenting the cars that were once so (kind of?) common on our streets, and now are mostly gone. When is […]

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Sorry, Hemi Cuda fans, but this is one of my most prized CC finds. As you know all too well by now, CC is not about haunting car shows for immaculate trailer queens. It’s about documenting the cars that were once so (kind of?) common on our streets, and now are mostly gone. When is the last time you ran across a gen1 I-Mark? There’s probably a thousand Hemi Cudas (genuine or clone) for every I-Mark still soldiering along. And let’s not forget that in addition to just its rarity, the I-Mark also represents GM’s first big global car adventure. The T-Cars were made and sold by the millions all over the globe. I assume you recognize a mildly disguised Chevette or Opel Kadett C when you see one?

The global car concept has been around for a while. The new for-1973 Kadett C (still RWD) was designed to be built throughout the General’s far-flung empire. In Europe, the Kadett offered coupe, sedan and wagon versions. Vauxhall in the UK created the hatchback Chevette, almost identical (externally) to the US built shitty little Chevy, except for the grille. But for the Asian region, GM designated Isuzu to adapt and build the T-Car, called Gemini, both for production in Japan, as well as in Australia as the Holden Gemini. Even Korea built a version of the Gemini, the Daewoo Maepsy. Yup, Daewoo was already building GM small cars thirty years ago, but a long way off from designing them.

There are two main reasons this I-Mark is still in service: they both have to do with the fact that its a diesel. That means its damn near indestructible; unlike the fragile Olds diesel the Detroit GM mothership cooked up, the Isuzu-designed and built diesel four has a legendary reputation. It’s the same little four found in the little Isuzu diesel pickups (and a few S-10s and Blazers), of which there are several still around hereabouts. And that’s not to say the Isuzu gas four wasn’t a tough little number too; actually, the diesel engine was based on the gas version. Yes, the T-Car may have looked alike externally the world over, but the Isuzus had a drive train that was in a whole different league than all the rest. Of course, it was also the Isuzu diesel that was available as an option in the Chevette. Haven’t found one of them with the tell-tale BIODIESEL sticker on the back, yet, but who knows?

The second reason is that the biodiesel boom in places like Eugene has given cars like this a whole new lease on life. A few years back, anything with a rugged diesel motor had a ready market and surprising value. That died down along with oil prices and the biodiesel bust, but this I-Mark is still clattering along. And man, do they ever clatter.

When we first moved to Eugene in 1993, we knew a family that lived two blocks down the street that had this exact same kind of Isuzu. And when I went out to get the paper in the morning, I could hear him start it up, like buckets of marbles-sized hail falling on a parking lot of new cars. Unbelievably loud, but his already then-old Isuzu just wouldn’t stop clattering, no matter how much he neglected it. It’s probably still at it in Portland somewhere.

Another factoid: this car was sold in the US as the Opel-Isuzu in its first couple of years, from ’76 through ’79. It replaced the Opel Kadett, which had fallen on hard times, along with the value of the dollar. Or was it a called the Buick Opel by Isuzu? Who remembers? Joe Isuzu, undoubtedly. The point was that GM was offering a Japanese built version of the Chevette at its Buick dealers. But who cared? Certainly mot Buick dealers. They were all-too eager to rid themselves of the little tin cans cluttering up their showrooms. So Isuzu set up its own shop in the US in 1981, and the rest is history, although not one with a happy ending.

This I-Mark is parked in front of its owner’s place, which is dominated by a very intensive gardening operation. Perhaps he’s growing the feedstock to keep his Isuzu fed.

More new Curbside Classics here

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