by Slade Yuille.
Giugiaro joined Corrozeria Ghia
in December of 1965
and got right to work on two designs that were presented
to the public at the Geneva Motor Show three months
While the G230S-delivered Ghia
450 SS only involved
the modification of a few details (grille, light clusters),
and not the basic shape, it was the Isuzu 117 Coupé
that was to be the Turin designer's first real research
project in his new capacity as Styling and Design centre
director at Ghia.
The car went into mass production in 1968 and stayed
for thirteen years, with almost 100,000 units to its
credit. Substituted in 1981 by the Isuzu Piazza, designed
by Giugiaro at Italdesign. In Japan the 117 coupé
was to become a classic among four seater coupes.
much so that, along the lines of the noblest clubs of
European car lovers, when it left production, an Isuzu
117 Fan Club was founded that keeps the historical record
and organizes meetings and shows.
Giugiaro had a four-seater coupe theme which led him
naturally to the shape layout of the Fiat Dino. In a more compact form, this design repeats the Dino's
belt-line movement and the cut of the trunk lid.
design of the back side window is original: the window
base runs parallel with the belt line rising slightly
towards the tail, while the top line is broken just
at the start of the C-pillar.
The very classic front end, sports double circular headlights
with a horizontal mesh grille. The boot-lid catches
the eye for its very low cut, done to divide the tail
section into two symmetrical parts. The rear light clusters
are unusual in their upside-down isosceles trapezoidal
shape with rounded corners.
The 117 Giugiaro, a super-refined version boasting newly
designed interiors, went on the market in 1979. Upholstery
and seating expressed shapes, materials and colors that
the designer had chosen one year earlier for the Italdesign
Megagamma concept car.