A mid-sized Gran Turismo type 117 Coupe was a 2-door fastback coupe introduced by Isuzu in 1968. The 117 codenames was used under a common development program of Isuzu mid-size vehicles including sedan, coupe and station wagon. The sedan and station wagon versions later became Isuzu Florian, while the coupe continued to be sold with its original name. Both 117 Coupe and Isuzu Florian shared mechanical features, such as FR layout with re-circulating ball steering.
The famous Italian stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro designed the car, so the car became the first Japanese car to be designed by any stylist from Italy. It also had the honor of being the earliest Japanese vehicle with DOHC and electronic fuel-injection. Another title that it held was being the first sports car with a diesel engine.
Throughout its lifetime, the 117 Coupe remained one of the highly exclusive vehicles and currently a well sought-after collectible. Total of 86,192 units of 117 were produced by Isuzu. Isuzu Piazza appeared as a replacement vehicle for Isuzu 117 Coupe.
A prototype version was first introduced at the Geneva Motor Show and Tokyo Motor Show in 1966. The initial production of 117 Coupe began on a small-scale in 1968. Initially, all the 117 Coupes were handmade and about 50 units were made each month. The introductory production unit came with a 1.6-L DOHC I4 engine where electronic fuel injection from Bosch was added in 1970. An additional EC tag was added to the models with fuel injection to represent ‘Electronic Control’.
A wide range of standard equipments were offered, such as leather seats, dashboard trim made of Taiwanese camphor laurel wood, and headrests. As for price, it was considered an expensive vehicle from Japanese standards. In 1971, Isuzu offered an 1800N version which was less expensive than the 117 Coupe and was equipped with 1.8-L SOHC carbureted engine.
Following the rising popularity of the 117 Coupe, Isuzu opted to move the model from preliminary production to the mass production. The 1.8-L engine was made standard and a wide range of versions were offered either equipped with fuel injection or without fuel injection and also with DOHC/SOHC options.
A facelift model was released in 1977 in which the front fascia was dropped in favor of four circular headlights with new rectangular lights. Plastic moldings introduced in the interior to reduce the production costs. The 2.0-L engine was added in 1978 followed by a XD diesel-powered version in 1979.
A special edition was introduced as the Giugiaro Edition in 1979. In 1981, the production of the Coupe was ceased and Isuzu Piazza was introduced as a successor of 117 Coupe. Piazza was also designed by Giugiaro.