Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beautiful Goodbye: 1989 Isuzu 4200R Concept

In the late 1980s, Isuzu Motors was selling cars in decent numbers worldwide, but had mainly front-wheel-drive sedans and hatchbacks along with perhaps its best-known product, the Giugiaro-designed Piazza (badged as Impulse in North America), and worked closely with British sports car maker/engineering firm Lotus. It was also making some very nice concept cars in the COA series (to be written up another time), but in 1989, Isuzu broke the mold with the 4200R.

The Isuzu 4200R was styled by Lotus employees working with Isuzu Europe Chief Designer Shiro Nakamura, was a sleekly styled 4-passenger grand tourer with discreet rear doors and a Lotus-engineered 4.2-liter 32-valve DOHC V8 mounted midship, Lotus-engineered active suspension, an LCD screen in the dashboard, extensive use of plastics and aluminum in its construction, and appeared to be a production-ready design.

However, Isuzu's parent company, General Motors, disapproved of the 4200R's technology and its very real threats to Corvette sales and Cadillac engineering, and just a few years after the all-new third-generation Gemini, second-generation Piazza and Yanase Ltd. exclusive PA Nero luxury coupe/wagon duo debuted with styling clearly derived from the 4200R, Isuzu car production was stopped (citing "aging designs and decreasing sales"), and Isuzu made do with badge-engineered Hondas for the Japanese domestic market and several other Asian markets until 2002. 

The 4200R was broken up and destroyed shortly after Isuzu car production ended, but in 2010, Shiro Nakamura worked with game designer Kazunori Yamaguchi of Polyphony Digital to recreate the 4200R for the video game Gran Turismo 5

Isuzu 4200R as seen in Gran Turismo 5. Picture (c)

This pic and all following pics (c) Isuzu and

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