1979 Isuzu I-Mark Gemini 5 speed 1,584 cc SOHC


Good, but unappreciated


Rear parcel shelf rattled on delivery.

Engine had tendency to run hot when stuck in traffic, though it never over-heated.

Driver's door window seal broke after about two years in service.

Paintwork very poor - thin and tended to go matt too easily, requiring frequent waxing.

Rear axle patter under heavy, emergency braking.

Rear end tended to hit bumpstops when carrying three on rear seat.

General Comments:

The Gemini (as the I-Mark was called in Asia) was bought new to replace a six plus year old Vauxhall Viva as the Vauxhall Chevette was too pricey in comparison. The fact that the Gemini came with a larger engine, five speed manual gearbox and stacks more equipment made it seem better value.

It was based on the Opel Kadett C and inherited that car's mid section, with different front and rear styling.

It was a great handling car with lots of grip and good steering so that it always felt safe yet entertaining turning into curves - it was certainly much better than its similarly sized Japanese rivals of the day.

A hot knife through butter gear change made it a real driver's car, even though the odd angle of the gear lever took some getting used to. For the local market, the car came with supplementary gauges for oil pressure and amps, along with a tacho and quartz clock. Combined with houndstooth cloth seats and mock wood inserts, the cabin was really well trimmed and equipped, certainly so after the rather austere Viva Deluxe.

However, the ride could be lively on badly rippled roads and the engine was vocal once past 60 kmh. The design of the A pillars also gave rise to wind whistle from 80 kmh up.

The Gemini never proved popular with local motorists and I lost plenty when I sold it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th March, 2003