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Friday, December 1, 2023

Isuzu's Sleek Wonder: Decoding the 4200R Supercar Phenomenon

Forgotten ONES - Isuzu, renowned for its distinctive lineup of pickups, SUVs, trucks, and commercial vehicles, stands out as a leading automotive manufacturer in Japan. However, many are unaware that the company once delved into the realm of supercars with the unveiling of the Isuzu 4200R concept at the Tokyo Motor Show 1989.
In 1989 Isuzu launched a mid-engined supercar concept named Isuzu 4200R. (Picture from: Jalopnik)
Crafted in collaboration with Lotus, the Isuzu 4200R showcased a futuristic design that remains timeless, even by today's standards. This collaborative venture between Isuzu and Lotus was forged during their affiliation with General Motors.

The visionary mind behind the 4200R's design was Shiro Nakamura, who later moved on to contribute to Nissan's automotive legacy with creations like the Juke and GT-R. Nakamura's design team included esteemed automotive designers such as Peter Horbury and Julian Thomson, recognized today for their work with Volvo and Jaguar.
Left side view of 1989 Isuzu 4200R. (Picture from: Jalopnik)
Despite its sporty demeanor, the 4200R boasted four doors and a conspicuous absence of the B-pillar, accentuated by two sliding rear doors set slightly rearwards to enhance accessibility. The rear of the car exuded elegance, featuring a broad, dark horizontal stripe across the taillights adorned with both Isuzu and Lotus badges.

Characterized by a raked windscreen, a sleek bonnet, and an extended rear overhang, the 4200R emanated strength and speed without succumbing to the over-aggressive design common among contemporary sports cars. The cab-forward proportions were emblematic of the era, characterized by organic volumes and meticulous graphics.
Interior view of 1989 Isuzu 4200R. (Picture from: Jalopnik)
Powering the Isuzu 4200R was a V8 DOHC 32-valve engine with a 4.2-liter capacity, delivering an impressive 350 horsepower—an exceptionally robust figure for its time. The 4200R featured an all-wheel-drive system, commonly known as a four-wheel drive, and was equipped with an active suspension system courtesy of Lotus.
Rear side view of 1989 Isuzu 4200R. (Picture from: Jalopnik)
Inside, the 4200R's futuristic interior design offered a glimpse decades ahead of its time. Serving as the ultimate mobile office, the interior boasted amenities such as a video tape deck, a fax machine, satellite navigation, and a high-quality audio system. In retrospect, the car's fax machine seems superior to the infotainment systems that merely read texts and emails.
The Isuzu 4200R garnered widespread acclaim for its sleek styling and impressive specifications following its debut at the Tokyo Auto Show. Emboldened by the positive response, Isuzu subsequently embarked on the development of a 3.5-liter V12 engine for Lotus Formula One car—a project that, unfortunately, met neglect and never came to fruition. *** [EKA [25082016] | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | JALOPNIK ]
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