Destined for failure?
By Julian Edgar
"An overpriced understatement?"(Car Australia, May 1986)
Despite the fact that it wasn't released in Australia until 1986, the Piazza's shape was first shown to the world in mid-1979. It was at that year's Geneva Motor Show that Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design displayed the Ace of Clubs prototype. The car had been commissioned by Isuzu as a replacement for the gorgeous Bertone-styled 117 coupe, and the very positive reaction of show-goers encouraged Isuzu to put it into production as the Piazza.
The Piazza (known in the US as the Impulse) was exquisitely beautiful - especially in the context of Japanese cars of the time. When there was a generic move towards sharp-edged, aggressive wedges, the Piazza's compound, organic curves looked - and in fact proved to be - a decade or more advanced in styling. Changes for production to the shape Ace of Clubs were minor - compared with the original show car, the Piazza had a 35mm longer wheelbase and a slightly shorter nose.
Isuzu was a small company, and could not afford the time or money to create the rest of the new car from scratch. Consequently the Piazza was built on a lengthened rear-wheel-drive Gemini underbody, resulting in the engine being positioned well forward. The 59/41 unladen forward weight bias was far more akin to that of a front-wheel-drive car than a rear-wheel-drive with sporting aspirations. The front suspension comprised modified Gemini double wishbones (the pivot points were more widely spaced and the lower link was trailing instead of leading), while at the back the live axle was suspended with upper and lower links and a Panhard rod. Anti-roll bars were used at both ends and power-assisted rack and pinion steering was fitted.
When the Piazza was finally released in Australia in April, 1986, Holden's magazine advertisements extolled its virtues.
*Taken from Auto Speed
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