These ’80s Isuzu Gemini Ads Were Stunt-Filled Wonders
No ideas were too wild.
Back in the day, manufacturers knew how to sell a car. No ideas were too wild, and they’d frequently commission stunt drivers to exploit the limit of even the most basic of economy cars. If, like me, you’ve been on the internet since the advent of Youtube, that means you’ve probably watched a whole lot of these old car videos. Two memorable stunt-car videos, in particular, had a chokehold on my childhood, one of them you’ve probably seen.
First Video: A Supercut of Isuzu Gemini Advertisements
The Isuzu Gemini, sold in the U.S. as the Isuzu I-Mark or the Chevy/Geo Spectrum, was a surprisingly agile Japanese subcompact car. The overwhelming majority of I-marks and Spectrums were powered by an uninspiring 70-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder, not much in the way of sporting goodness. If you splurged and believed in the power of an Isuzu subcompact car, however, you could be persuaded to hotter versions with more than 110 horsepower, which was a lot for the mid-to-late ‘80s. The Japanese model got a sporty version that Lotus breathed on.
This video was uploaded in 2009 and is likely a reupload from pre-2007. I can tell because I distinctly remember viewing it when I was at least three years away from driving age, and I was 16 when I got my temporary permit in 2009.
The video is a supercut of Japanese advertisements for the Isuzu Gemini. Watch as they bound and stunt-drive through a Parisian landscape, set to the ‘00’s era pop euro trance song, “She Moves” by Karaja. Did this video inform my music tastes too? No comment.
Second Video: Isuzu’s Follow-Up
The next generation of Isuzu Gemini got a similar treatment, sans the supercut to Eurodance music. In America, this Gemini came in three forms: the Geo Storm, Isuzu Impulse, and the super-rare Isuzu Stylus.
This video is super unsearchable, unless you speak Japanese. I’m not even sure how I found it on Youtube, but I locked it in my favorites more than a seven years ago.
The stunts are cool in this video, but it’s not quite as entertaining, and the camerawork is clearly sped up. The Seine river jump includes a landing that looks a lot less graceful. The car choreography revolves around anthropomorphized cars in love, a theme that ups the cuteness, but it’s not as charming as the original ads.
It’s too bad manufacturers aren’t really doing adverts like these anymore, unless it’s a super expensive sports car. Could you picture a modern economy car doing the same tests today? Maybe that would even get people interested in traditional cars again and end the sedanocolypse.