Open Roads, June | Lot 165
1975 Isuzu 117 XE Coupé
$34,100 USD | Sold
| St. Louis, Missouri
23 - 30 June 2021
- The first Japanese car designed entirely by an Italian stylist, pairing Japanese engineering excellence with the elegant styling of Giorgetto Giugiaro
- One of only a few known examples in North America
- 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine paired with desirable four-speed manual transmission
- Features include power windows, air conditioning, AM/FM radio with cassette player, and Panasport-style alloy wheels
The 117 Coupe debuted in 1968 taking on the role of Isuzu’s halo model, a stylish coupe intended to boost showroom traffic. Sharing its underpinnings with the pedestrian Florian sedan, the 117 stood head and shoulders above the Isuzu line, thanks in large part to its attractive fastback styling, designed by none other than the great Giorgetto Giugiaro. Resembling a Japanese Fiat Dino Coupe, the 117 Coupe had the distinction of being the first Japanese car designed entirely by an Italian stylist, and it was highly regarded in Japan for its excellent quality and snappy performance. The 117 enjoyed a successful 13-year production run as Isuzu’s premier GT car, and cherished examples are highly collectible in their home market.
The 1975 Isuzu 117 XE Coupe offered here is one of only a few known examples in North America, previously in the care of a dedicated enthusiast and collector who maintained it in excellent order. Well maintained and enjoyed on casual drives, it was also shown on occasion, including at the inaugural 2018 Pebble Beach Japanese Automotive Invitational, proudly representing the Isuzu marque.
The Giugiaro-penned body looks particularly fetching with its dark metallic green livery and Panasport-style alloy wheels. Highlights of the styling include the polished window trims, slimline chrome bumpers, graceful wraparound backlight, and signature JDM wing mirrors. The roomy and stylish interior is trimmed in period-appropriate black vinyl, with original switchgear and fittings. Equipment includes a three-spoke sport steering wheel, electric windows, AM/FM cassette player, and factory air conditioning. The rear seats offer a respectable amount of passenger space for a grand touring coupe of this size, and there’s a generously sized boot for a weekend getaway’s worth of luggage.
With interest in JDM classics on the rise, collectors are expanding their interest into iconic Japanese automobiles. This Isuzu 117 Coupe is an ideal entry point into this fascinating realm of collecting, and with its unique blend of Japanese engineering excellence and svelte Italian style, it is sure to turn heads wherever its next custodian takes it.