Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Needs New Shoes: 1988 Isuzu Impulse

The Isuzu Impluse was such an unlikely combination of Italian styling (Giorgetto Giugiaro), Japanese durability, & British handling (Lotus baby!) put into a turbocharged rear-drive hatchback that it almost caused a singularity in the space-time-continuum, ending life in the galaxy as we know it.  Thankfully that didn't happen, but it is no small coincidence that Yao Ming, Martina Hingis, & the Maltese rapper known as Hooligan were born the same month as the first Impulse (a JDM Piazza) was released.  Find this 1988 Isuzu Impulse offered for $2,500 in Ontario, CA via craigslist.

The Impulse sales in North America started in 1983, but things didn't get really good until the 1988 model year introduction of Lotus tuned suspension as standard.  This meant bigger sway bars, and sportier shock/spring tuning that allowed the 2.3 liter inline-4 to put its 110 horsepower and 127 ft-lbs of torque to the pavement via some 18 inch wheels in this car...what a shame. 

What a buyer needs to do is ditch those wheels and pickup a set of the classic 8-bit style wheels -- here just buy an entire car, this '88 Impulse is offered for $975 in Idaho looks like it will do the trick.

 See another impulse buy? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. I had one of these in the mid-to-late 1990s (this was post jumping out of planes and center trying to bang a lot of girls all over the East coast and pre getting married and turning my attention only to my wife (don't think she reads this but maybe) so my memory is fuzzy.

    I do remember I had a late 1970s Jeep Wagoneer which looked about exactly like this:


    that only got about 8 mpg. And once lost a front wheel after service at Pep Boys, luckily I knew enough not to slam on the brakes when I saw it take off down the road.

    But it was the 8 mpg that just wouldn't do since I was banging a girl who lived in Fayetteville, NC at the time while I was attending college, briefly, in VA - about 3 hours away. And there are a lot of all girl's schools in VA where some other banging could have been happening.

    So I either sold, or traded, the Wagoneer on an Impulse. It was a great car I think other than the fact that the electronic OD wouldn't engage, so wasn't as great as it was meant to be.

    It did get me back from the club to a friend's house at around 2 am on a Saturday night while I was offffffffffffffffffff my gourd on an acid trip listening to Front 242's Soul Manager, which is a 13+ minute song that felt like 50 minutes. Or 5 hours. At one point I think I was driving 5 mph but I could have been driving 75 mph. I honestly don't know.

    I do know that I've never heard that song the same way again.

    Those were not great days, then again, those were some pretty great days.

    1. I kind of want to buy an Impulse after reading this.

    2. That would be an Impulse buy for sure.

  2. My cousin had one of these. One Christmas as I was pushing her out of my grandmother's nearly flat driveway (she was stuck in the snow), it occurred to me that these weren't FWD... Up until that point, I had no idea. I had just dismissed them as another FWD, slightly fugly, econobox.

  3. Always liked these. They look like Mk2 Sciroccos with rounded edges. Kinda like when your mom cut the crust off your sandwich.

    I wonder if the Impulse pissed off VW by looking so similar. Giugiaro was in a bit of a "one trick pony" phase, but the trick worked.

    As tempting as one of these is, I think now I'd lean towards the Scirocco because I figure that parts hunting for a 30-year-old Isuzu is not fun.

  4. There's a reason it looks like a Scirocco. Legend has it VW rejected the design so Giugiaro sold it to Isuzu instead.

  5. I agree about the wheels. Those stock ones are up there with the soccer ball and the Aztec.

  6. I had one of the previous lotus tuned versions. Slow very, and did not handle well, i.e. Ford ltd. It was a very big disappointment. Cs

  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FE-XurEfQo


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint Eastwood...it don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="http://www.IMAGE_LINK.com" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.