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Autotrader Find: 1988 Isuzu I-Mark RS Hatchback

Today’s Autotrader find is a rare 1988 Isuzu I-Mark RS Hatchback.  While we all remember Isuzu for the SUVs and pickups it sold during the 1990s and early 2000s, the company also sold a trio of cars here in the US, dubbed the Stylus, the Impulse, and the I-Mark, along with a minivan – the Oasis.

The I-Mark was a subcompact car sold in other markets as the Gemini.  Altogether the Gemini was sold over five generations and under a number of different nameplates. The first-gen Gemini used rear-wheel drive and was sold here in the US as both the ‘Opel by Isuzu’ and as the ‘Buick Opel’ or ‘Buick Isuzu Opel’, in what was likely the only instance of a vehicle being sold with three brand names and no actual model name. The second- and third-gen models were also offered in the US; second-gen models, like the one for sale here, were sold as the I-Mark, while third-gen US-market Geminis used the ‘Stylus’ name.  Fourth and fifth generation Geminis were rebadged Honda Civics, and were never sold in the US, unless of course you count the actual Honda Civic, in which case they kind of were too.

Anyway though, the one for sale here is a 1988 model, which would’ve been from the Gemini’s second-generation.  While it was indeed sold in the US wearing an Isuzu badge, the I-Mark was also offered as the Chevrolet/Geo Spectrum, and in Canada as the Pontiac Sunburst.  During this time, four-door sedan and three-door hatchback body styles were offered; this one is obviously the latter.  Sales in the US were apparently limited to the coasts, as GM could only offer a limited number due to import quotas.  The fact that this is a performance-oriented RS model makes it especially desirable. Under the hood of the Isuzu I-Mark RS was a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 110 horsepower.  RS models were even offered with a suspension tuned by Lotus, and this one apparently has that option, given the ‘Tuning by Lotus’ badge on the rear hatch.  If you’re interested in owning a well-kept Isuzu I-Mark RS, this one comes with just under 95,000 miles on the odometer and an asking price of $8,299. Find it at an independent dealer in Kutztown, PA.

Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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