Cars > Iconic

The Isuzu Gemini used to be common, but now it’s truly rare

So rare that seeing one on the road brings a smile to your face

The timeless exterior styling is still able to turn heads. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

On my way home yesterday, while stuck in traffic, I caught a glimpse of a little gold fastback coupe parked on the side of the road in Quezon City. As soon as I inched closer to it, to my surprise, I saw the name “ISUZU” emblazoned at the back of the car. I snapped a picture and sent it to my dad. He confirmed that it was indeed an Isuzu Gemini.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a two-door version of the Gemini,” my father said. “Most of them were four-door sedans.”

The four-door sedan was mainly used as a taxicab in the 1970s, before the Toyota Corolla stole its gig—yes, long before the Vios appeared.

The Gemini was a tiny, rear-wheel-driven sedan or coupe. According to my dad, most of the four-door sedans were driven by the 1.8-liter 4BF1 diesel engine, while the sportier two-door coupes (like the one in these photos) ran with the 1.6-liter G161Z in-line-four gasoline engine.

We love that classic fastback shape. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

While the four-door sedan was the weapon of choice among taxi operators back then, the beautiful fastback Gemini coupe did battle with the Mitsubishi Lancer 1600 “L-Type,” the Toyota Corolla SR “Macho” and the Ford Escort.

What used to be a prevalent sight all around Metro Manila is now a rarity. The one that I saw wasn’t exactly car-show-worthy, but it was obvious its owner had taken good care of it.

Raise your hand if you owned one (or even if you were able to ride an example).

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.