Isuzu Gemini

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Isuzu Gemini
MHV Isuzu Gemini II.01.jpg
1988-89 Isuzu Gemini hatchback
Overview
Manufacturer Isuzu (1974–1993)
Honda (1993–2000)
Production 1974–2000 (Japan)
Assembly Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan (1974–2000)
Chronology
Predecessor Isuzu Bellett

The Isuzu Gemini was a subcompact automobile that was produced by the Japanese automaker Isuzu from 1974 to 2000. The same basic product was built and/or sold under several other names, sometimes by other General Motors brands, in various markets around the world. While the first generation was of a rear-wheel drive design, later versions were all front-wheel drive. The last two generations were no more than badge-engineered Honda Domani until 2000.

1974[edit]

First generation
Isuzu Gemini PF Osaka JPN 001.jpg
Overview
Also called Isuzu Bellett Gemini
Isuzu I-Mark
Opel-Isuzu
Buick Opel
Production 1974–1984
Body and chassis
Class Subcompact
Body style 2-door coupé
4-door sedan
Layout FR layout
Platform T-body
Related Isuzu Piazza
Daewoo Maepsy
Holden Gemini
Opel Kadett
Pontiac Acadian
Pontiac T1000
Vauxhall Chevette
Powertrain
Engine 1,584 cc G161Z I4
1,817 cc G180Z I4
1,817 cc G180W DOHC I4
1,817 cc 4FB1 diesel I4
1,817 cc 4FB1T TD I4

The first Gemini was the Bellett Gemini, first seen in November 1974. It was based on the third-generation Opel Kadett C on the General Motors T-car platform and came in four-door sedan and two-door coupe body styles. The chassis code was PF50, although the later 1.8-liter versions were called PF60 and the diesels PFD60.[1]

In June 1977 the Gemini received its first, light, facelift. The bigger 1817 cc G180 series engine became available, fitted with rectangular headlights rather than the round units used on the 1600. This model offered 110 PS (81 kW), although this output dropped to 105 PS (77 kW) if an automatic transmission was fitted.[2] In November of the same year the 1600 was updated, now with square headlights and an engine with the I·CAS oxidation catalyst ("Isuzu Clean Air System") which could manage the 1978 emissions standards.[3] One year later the Gemini 1800's engine was upgraded to meet the 1978 emissions standards.[4] Power remained unchanged, and the automatic now offered the same power as cars with manual transmission.[5] The ignition system was now of a transistor less type, and the trunk lid was now opened remotely (not added to the Gemini 1600 until the end of December). The Gemini Black and 1800 Minx were also added, the Minx with a two-tone paintjob and the Black with black paintwork and more sporty yet comfortable equipment including alloy wheels.[4]

1979 facelift Gemini (Holden-labelled version for the Australian market)

In June 1979,[1] the Gemini received a new slant nose with rectangular headlights and a redesigned rear end. The changes were actually more comprehensive than that, also including a redesigned (longer) engine bay and a wider radiator opening for two new engines added in November (the twin cam G180W and the new 4FB1 diesel) which both required wider radiators for more air for cooling.[6]

In Japan, sports models were available originally with the "ZZ" name. Later, ZZ/L (1980), ZZ/R (1981), ZZ/T, and ZZ/E models were added. These were equipped with an Isuzu G180W 8-valve DOHC 1.8-liter engine, most commonly fuel-injected, producing 130 PS (96 kW) at 6400 rpm. These models also came with a shortened remote throw manual shift lever and optional factory LSD differential.[7] There was also a mildly sporting model of the OHC 1800, called the LS/G.

In October 1982 a version of the diesel with Bosch VE electronic fuel injection was also added; this provided 8% more power than the regular version (66 versus 61 PS) and was fitted to the LT-E and LJ-E models. For those who wanted more, a 73 PS (54 kW) turbo diesel appeared a month later. Also featuring electronic fuel injection, this model also received a standard rear anti-roll bar. Counterintuitively, the two more powerful diesels were never available with the coupé bodywork.[8]

The Gemini was complemented in 1981 by the Giugiaro-designed coupé Isuzu Piazza, based on the Gemini's platform, which was introduced in the United States in 1983 as the Isuzu Impulse and in Australia in 1986 as the Holden Piazza.

In other markets[edit]

The North American market version was originally sold as the "Opel by Isuzu" and then the Buick Opel, but for the 1981 model year it metamorphosed into the "Isuzu I-Mark".[9] The diesel engine was available in the I-mark, but the standard engine was a 78 hp (58 kW) (SAE net) version of the 1.8 litre G181Z engine.[10] The diesel gradually lost sales after USA's brief love affair with the diesel car came to an end in the early eighties, and eventually it was only available in a single coupé version.[9]

Isuzu Gemini was also sold in South Korea as Saehan Gemini, whose manufacturer became Daewoo Motors in 1982. It then became Daewoo Maepsy after 1982 and remained on sale (later as the Maepsy-Na after a facelift) until it was replaced by Daewoo LeMans in 1986.

In addition to sedan and coupé models, Holden in Australia produced the Gemini as a three-door station wagon and three-door panel van, which were derived from the Opel Kadett C Caravan and Vauxhall Chevette wagon, with Isuzu Gemini front panels. The panel van's side panels came from the Bedford Chevanne. The Australian Holden Gemini was fitted with an Isuzu G161Z petrol engine, although 1979 and later models were available with a 1.8-litre 8-valve SOHC diesel engine (4FB1). The more common G161Z was a 1.6-liter 8-valve SOHC fed by a Nikki carburettor. The Holden Gemini was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1975.

Post-1983 Gemini ZZ-R (PF60)

In Europe, the Gemini was equipped with the 1.6-liter engine which produced 68 PS (50 kW) DIN there; the discrepancy in stated power (down 32%) may have been entirely due to the differences to the SAE (gross) measuring system used on Japanese market cars.

Sold as:

  • 1975–1984 - Holden Gemini - Australia (1982–1984 in New Zealand badged as an Isuzu, as the brand had already been established by the earlier Bellett)
  • 1975–1983 - Opel Gemini - Malaysia, Thailand
  • 1976–1979 - Opel Isuzu/Buick Opel - United States
  • 1976–1982 - Saehan Gemini - South Korea ("Saehan Bird" in the export)
  • 1982–1986 - Saehan/Daewoo Maepsy/Maepsy-Na - South Korea, Saehan Maepsy before
  • 1982–1988 - Saehan/Daewoo Max - pickup version, South Korea
  • 1981–1984 - Isuzu I-Mark


1985[edit]

Second generation
Isuzu Gemini 201.JPG
Overview
Also called Isuzu I-Mark
Chevrolet Spectrum
Geo Spectrum
Pontiac Sunburst
Chevrolet Gemini
Holden Gemini
Production 1985–1990
Designer Giorgetto Giugiaro
Body and chassis
Class Subcompact
Body style 3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
Layout FF layout
Platform R-body
Powertrain
Engine 1.3 L 4XB1 I4 (JT140, export only)
1.5 L 4XC1 (LC5) I4 (JT150)
1.5 L 4XC1-T (LC0) turbo I4 (JT150)
1.6 L 4XE1 DOHC I4 (JT190)
1.5 L 4EC1 diesel/TD I4 (JT600)
Transmission 3-speed automatic
5-speed manual
5-speed semi-automatic (NAVi5)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 94.5 in (2,400 mm)
Length I-Mark Hatchback: 157.9 in (4,011 mm)
I-Mark Sedan: 160.7 in (4,082 mm)
Spectrum Hatchback: 157.4 in (3,998 mm)
Spectrum Sedan: 160.2 in (4,069 mm)
Width I-Mark: 63.5 in (1,613 mm)
Spectrum: 63.6 in (1,615 mm)
Height I-Mark: 54.1 in (1,374 mm)
Spectrum: 52.0 in (1,321 mm)
Chronology
Predecessor Chevrolet Chevette (Spectrum)
Opel Isuzu (I-Mark)
Pontiac Acadian (Sunburst)
Successor Isuzu Stylus (I-Mark)
Passport Optima (Sunburst)
Geo Storm (Spectrum)
Pre-facelift Gemini FF (JT150)
1985–1987 Holden Gemini (RB) SL/X
1988-89 Isuzu I-Mark hatchback (North America)
1989 Chevrolet/Geo Spectrum

General Motors sought a replacement for their world car T-body Kadett / Gemini, and this time, instead of building one design on several continents, they decided to build a world car in one location and export it to several continents. As a considerable portion of the T-body manufacturing had been turned over to Isuzu in Japan for economic reasons, so would the manufacturing of the replacement. In 1984, Isuzu again commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro who was responsible for the 117 Coupé and the Piazza. This time, he was to design an economy car on the new front-wheel drive R-body platform. The R-body featured a MacPherson strut front suspension and beam axle rear suspension, which foreshadowed most of GM's offerings through their current model lineup. Giugiaro's design followed the Piazza design very closely in shape and detail, though the proportions made the Gemini appear shorter and taller in its three-door version, and a four-door sedan (notch back) was also designed.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Isuzu presented the designs to GM prior to freezing them, and GM ordered a number of detail changes to them without ever consulting the designer, Giugiaro, which was taken as an insult, and ended the long relationship between the noted Italian designer and Japan's oldest car builder. The insult was serious enough to Giugiaro that he denied the design was his until a decade after the vehicle went out of production.

The R-body Gemini was introduced in May 1985 as the Gemini FF (after it had already gone on sale as a Chevrolet in the United States), with an all-new line of engines. In Japan, originally with chassis code JT150, it was available with a carburetted 1.5-liter SOHC engine. An also newly developed 1.5-liter inline four diesel engine (JT600) was added to the lineup in November. At the other end of the lineup, a 120 PS (88 kW) fuel-injected and turbocharged version of the 1.5-liter 4XB1 engine ("Irmscher") was added in May 1986. Originally, the transmission started out with a choice of a 5-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic, but NAVi5, an automated manual transmission, was added in 1986.

The FF Gemini underwent a facelift in February 1987, receiving a more aggressive front styling with wraparound headlight as well as other minor changes. At the same time the "FF" moniker was dropped, as parallel production of the preceding RWD Gemini came to an end. In March 1987 the Gemini saw its European premier, at the Geneva Salon. European sales of the already somewhat dated Gemini were disappointing, and Isuzu soon withdrew from the European passenger car market entirely.

A 1.6-liter DOHC engine with 135 PS (99 kW) was introduced in February 1988. Export versions were also available with a smaller 1.3-liter four to suit taxation systems based on displacement.[11] This offered 72 PS (53 kW), while export specification 1.5s had 76 PS (56 kW) on tap and the naturally aspirated diesel offered 52 PS (38 kW) outside of Japan.[12] Trim levels were widely varied, from basic models ("C/C" in Japan, "LT" in general export markets, and "S" in the US) to Irmscher, ZZ, and Lotus Tuned versions, and plenty of optional equipment and dealer options were available.

North America[edit]

In the US, the vehicle was available from Chevrolet (and later Geo) as the Spectrum, or from Isuzu themselves, as the I-Mark. GM's Pontiac division sold the I-Mark as the Pontiac Sunburst in Canada from 1985 to 1988. Sales were limited to coastal markets initially, as import quotas restricted the number of cars General Motors could sell in the United States.[13] The Spectrum was presented at the end of November 1984, with cars already on sale in 16 eastern states. Due to the quotas, only 29,500 cars were available the first model year, about a quarter of what GM had hoped to be able to sell.[14]

GM Canada announced that the Sunburst's replacement would be the Passport Optima in 1989. For GM, this was an entry level vehicle to attract young buyers and to compete with Japanese midsize cars in the US market. Chevrolet's Spectrum lacked many of the options and equipment of the I-Mark, though both were available with the 70 hp (52 kW) 1.5-liter SOHC non-turbo and 110 hp (82 kW) turbo engines, but no diesel engines were offered in the US. The turbo model I-Mark was called the RS model in 1988 and then changed to the LS model in 1989. The I-Mark was available with the 125 hp (93 kW) 1.6-liter DOHC engine in 1989 only, as the RS model. In 1988 and 1989, the LS and RS models were offered with Lotus Tuned Suspension, the sportier suspension featuring more rigid dampers, alternate spring rates, and bigger sway bars.

Sold as:

  • 1985–1989 Isuzu I-Mark - United States, Canada
  • 1985–1990 Isuzu Gemini - Japan, Europe, and Central America
  • 1984–1988 Chevrolet Spectrum - United States & Canada
  • 1988–1989 Geo Spectrum - United States
  • 1985–1989 Pontiac Sunburst - Canada
  • 1985–1990 Holden Gemini - Australia and New Zealand
  • 1985–1990 Chevrolet Gemini - Chile


1990[edit]

Third generation
1990-1993 Isuzu Gemini (JT151) sedan 01.jpg
Overview
Also called Isuzu Stylus
Production 1990–1993
Body and chassis
Class Midsize
Body style 2-door coupe
3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Platform R-body
Related Geo Storm
Isuzu Impulse
Asüna Sunfire
Powertrain
Engine 1.5 L 4XC1 I4 (JT150)
1.5 L 4XC1-T turbo I4 (JT150)
1.6 L 4XE1 DOHC I4 (JT190)
1.8 L 4XF1 DOHC I4
1.7 L 4EC1 diesel/TD I4 (JT600)
Transmission 3-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 96.5 in (2,451 mm)
Length 165.0 in (4,191 mm)
Width 66.1 in (1,679 mm)
66.7 in (1,694 mm) (4WD sedan)
Height 54.1 in (1,374 mm)
1991–1993 Isuzu Gemini Hatchback
1991–1993 Isuzu Gemini sedan

The Gemini was redesigned for 1990, and the coupe version was now renamed the Gemini Coupe. The last models were produced in 1993.

The Isuzu Gemini Coupe was the basis for the Isuzu Impulse and Geo Storm in the United States and Canada, and for the Asüna Sunfire which was sold for the Canadian market for the 1993 model year only.

A 4-door sedan with similar mechanical components was sold as the Isuzu Stylus in the United States and Canada. The Geo versions lacked some of the more expensive and advanced features of the Isuzu (and Asüna) versions.

All these variations were used on the last of the Geminis—Isuzu Impulse, Isuzu Piazza, Isuzu Gemini MkII, Isuzu Stylus, and Asüna Sunfire.

The third generation appeared in March 1990. Body size was wider than the previous generation.

The series name was called the type JT641S, the type JT641F, and the 4WD car is the same type JT191S. The car is 1,700 cc turbo diesel type JT191F, 4WD gasoline turbo cars with 1,600 cc DOHC gasoline type intercooler JT151F, the car is 1,500 cc, and 1,600 cc DOHC gasoline car gasoline. The top-line Stylus RS model had either the 1.6 L turbo engine (1991) or the 1.8 L non-turbo engine (1992).

The higher trim level packages offered "ZZ handling by Lotus" and "specification Irmscher" as the performance models in the lineup, but was carryovered from previous generations.The top model was the "Irmscher R" JT191S type is equipped with a high-power engine + full-time 4WD. The suspension packages that were installed on the second generation Isuzu Piazza were also shared on the Gemini sold in Japan, including the four wheel steering setup.

It was originally intended to be a four-door sedan, and coupe from September 1990, three-door hatchback has been added in March 1991 later. Sedan sales has been started from December 1990 under the name "STYLUS" in the North American market. As the recession began to take hold in Japan, known as the "bubble economy", Isuzu was affected particularly hard, and after a corporate restructuring, Isuzu decided to abandon passenger car production and focus on commercial truck and SUV production, as the Isuzu Trooper and the Isuzu Rodeo found many buyers internationally, with badge engineered versions sold in Europe as Vauxhall/Opel Frontera (Rodeo) and Vauxhall/Opel Monterey and Holden Frontera (Rodeo) and Holden Jackaroo/Monterey (Trooper) in Australia with assistance from General Motors, and Honda also selling the Rodeo as Honda Passport and the Trooper as Honda Horizon (in Japan) and the Acura SLX(in the United States.[15]

The total production volume of vehicles was 406,625 units at the end of the third generation (from HQ Isuzu), with 17,754 units sold in the United States (from Ward's Automotive Yearbook).

1993/4[edit]

Fourth generation
4th Isuzu Gemini 1.JPG
Overview
Production 1993–1996
Body and chassis
Class Midsize
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout FF layout
Related Honda Civic
Honda Domani
Honda Integra SJ
Rover 400

Isuzu halted production of the Gemini and replaced it with a rebadged version of the Honda Domani.


1997[edit]

Fifth generation
ISUZU GEMINI5-1.jpg
Overview
Also called Honda Domani
Acura EL
Production 1997–2000
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout FF layout
Related Honda Civic
Honda Integra
Rover 400
Honda CR-V
Dimensions
Wheelbase 103.1 in (2,619 mm)

The 1997 Gemini generation was a rebadged Honda Domani sedan. Production of this model ceased in 2000.

Safety[edit]

In Australia, the 1982–1984 Holden Gemini was assessed in the Used Car Safety Ratings 2006 as providing "significantly worse than average" protection for its occupants in the event of a crash.[16]

Related information[edit]

Isuzu Geminis and I-Marks were the most popular taxicab models in the Philippines in the 80s and early 90s. Models were phased out and gradually replaced with newer models from Toyota and Nissan.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 11, '80s Japanese Cars (in Japanese), Tokyo: Nigensha, 2007, p. 239, ISBN 978-4-544-91018-6 
  2. ^ Lösch, Annamaria, ed. (1978). World Cars 1978. Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books. p. 351. ISBN 0-910714-10-X. 
  3. ^ 自動車ガイドブック [Japanese Motor Vehicles Guide Book] (in Japanese) (Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association) 25: 109. 1978-10-10. 0053-780025-3400. 
  4. ^ a b 自動車ガイドブック [Japanese Motor Vehicles Guide Book] (in Japanese) (Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association) 26: 113. 1979-11-01. 053-790026-3400. 
  5. ^ Automobile Guide Book 1979/1980, p. 168
  6. ^ Yamaguchi, Jack K. (1980), "Consummation of the Turbulent Decade", in Lösch, Annamaria, World Cars 1980 (Pelham, NY: L'Editrice dell'Automobile LEA/Herald Books): 66, ISBN 0-910714-12-6 
  7. ^ 絶版車カタログ 国産車編 Part3 1970~1979 [Japanese Historic Car Graffiti: Car Catalog part 3, 1970–1979]. Eichi Mook (in Japanese). Tokyo: Eichi Publishing (英知出版). 1997. p. 57. ISBN 4-89461-004-3. 
  8. ^ World Cars 1984. Pelham, NY: L'Editrice dell'Automobile LEA/Herald Books. 1984. pp. 344–345. ISBN 0-910714-16-9. 
  9. ^ a b James M. Flammang (1994). Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, 1946-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc. p. 308. ISBN 0-87341-158-7. 
  10. ^ Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (March 10, 1983). Automobil Revue '83 (in German/French) 78. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag, AG. p. 337. ISBN 3-444-06065-3. 
  11. ^ Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed. (1990). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1990 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. pp. 388–390. 
  12. ^ Ruiz, Marco (1986). 'The Complete History of the Japanese Car: 1907 to the Present. Rome: ERVIN srl. p. 132. ISBN 0-517-61777-3. 
  13. ^ Snyder, Jesse (1985-02-18). "Old name, new partner add up to new Nova". Advertising Age: 74. 
  14. ^ Schuon, Marshall (1984-11-25). "About Cars; Chevrolet's Trio Challenge Imports". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ Organizational structure in the automobile industry revolution SFC Keio Keio University Shonan South Fujisawa Campus 1995 organizational behavior theory OB68 group REFERENCE FOUND ON jAPANESE WIKIPEDIA SITE #6 AND 7
  16. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]