When The General decided to search his far-flung global empire for small cars to bring to North America, the first to come here were Vauxhalls and Opels. Then came Isuzu Faster pickups badged as Chevrolet LUVs in the early 1970s, followed by the Opel-derived Chevette/T-1000. The Suzuki-built Chevrolet Sprint showed up in 1985, along with a Chevy-badged version of the Isuzu Gemini: the Spectrum. Few Spectrums were sold, which makes today’s Junkyard Treasure a very rare example of GM badge engineering.
Isuzu sold rear-wheel-drive I-Marks here during the first half of the 1980s, then switched to a more modern Gemini front-drive platform for 1985. The Chevrolet Division needed a replacement for the Chevette (which, amazingly, remained on sale here all the way through 1987), and so a Chevy-badged I-Mark became the Spectrum for the 1985 model year. For a bit of 1988 and all of 1989, the Spectrum became a Geo, and these cars are the rarest Geos of all.
Like the Mitsubishi-built Colt of the same period, the Spectrum was a fairly generic cheap Japanese econobox. That’s 70 Isuzu horses right here.
The Miami Vice colors and weird high-heeled boot symbol on the HVAC controls went onto most Isuzu vehicles of this period. Note the block-off plate for the not-installed air conditioning button.
Spectrum. From Japan for Chevy… and you.
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