The first digit in the marking engine ISUZU says about the number of cylinders of the engine.
The next two letters indicate the engine belonging to the series. But in this case, if these two letters, the first standing V, then the motor is V-shaped.
The last digit indicates the revision number of the engine in the series.
Examples (this is all produced ISUZU currently own engines for cars and jeeps):
6VE1 - 6-cylinder V-twin petrol engine volume of 3.5 liters.
6VD1- 6-cylinder V-twin petrol engine volume of 3.2 liters.
4JX1 - 4-cylinder diesel engine in volume of 3,0 l.
In 1916, vehicles were built under the company name of Tokyo Ishikwajima Dockland Company Ltd.
This changed in 1937 to the Tokyo Jidosha Kogyo (Automotive Industry) Co Ltd; it was this company which was the beginning of Isuzu Motor Ltd. Truck production began in 1939 and by 1943 the diesel engines which the company had designed and developed were being fitted to its vehicles; Isuzu had established the formula which was to make it a leader in the post-war era.
In order to market cars, Isuzu signed a ten year agreement with Rootes Motors to assemble Hillman Minx saloons. These cars were built up from 'knocked-down form' between the early fifties and 1957, by which time they had become completely Japanese manufactured.
Primarily, Isuzu has been a truck manufacturer and, in 1974, held some 62% of the medium-heavy truck market in Japan. Besides this, 40% of all heavy trucks and 45% of all light commercial transport in Japan were also Isuzu products. The remainder went for export to South-East Asia, Africa and America.
The truck range was extensive and, by 1974, Isuzu were offereing its operators a huge choice of cabs, frames, and special bodies, as well as multiple-axle combinations and four and six-wheel drive for off-road vehicles.
To power the whole range there were no less than two four-cylinder and five six-cylinder diesel engines, the largest being 732 cubic inches in swept volume. At the lower end of the 1974 truck range was the KB30LU which was built by Isuzu for distribution in the USA by General Motors.
The very popular Chevy LUV (light utility vehicle), as it was called, made large inroads into the leisure-vehicle market. It was powered by a single-overhead-camshaft, four-cylinder, in-line, water-cooled 110 cube engine, producing 75 bhp. Of course, this relationship with GM would prove fortuitous - Holden Gemini.
The car-construction side began to bear fruit after GM's involvement, as both companies were working closely on a new Isuzu car based on a GM Opel Kadett. Isuzu built some 120,000 of these units in 1975 of which half were exported to the US and marketed under the Oldsmobile banner.
By 1977 Isuzu had become used to GMs influence. The conundrum for the sales guy was to sell a German-designed car, built by a Japanese based GM subsidiary company, produced for the United States and then sold as a home-bred American model.
In 1987 Isuzu formed a partnership with Fuji Heavy Industries to form - SIA (Subaru-Isuzu Automotive) - and now there was a clear distinction between the maker adept at car manufacture, and the one best suited to concentrate on commercial vehicle manufacture. Isuzu still manufactured some models, such as the Impulse (Geo Storm) until 1992, and Stylus (Geo Spectrum) until 1993. SUV's remained re-badged GM models however.
Cash strapped, in 2006 GM would sell its shares in Isuzu to two Japanese trading companies and a bank for about $300 million to fund its turnaround in North America. By that time their share holding had dwindled to 7.9%. An opportunity for a car as brilliant as the Gemini had long passed into history - and for the folk here at Unique Cars and Parts, that is a shame - however we will toast the little Gemini for a long time to come - they were brilliant.