Since 1975 Holden had been importing
and selling the Isuzu built Gemini with great success,
and so it seemed logical that they would continue to
enjoy such sales success with the importation of the
Designed in Italy by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Piazza was,
for the time, a thoroughly modern and sporty 2 door coupe
which featured a turbo-charged 2.0 liter OHC engine -
the first time a turbo charged vehicle was available at
the Holden showrooms!
The most distinctive features of the Piazza were undoubtedly
the wedge shaped hatchback with its enormous glass area
at the rear, and its semi-concealed headlights up front. It came fitted with a 5 speed manual gearbox; however
a 4 speed auto was available as an option.
Despite the bravado of the Italian design, under the skin
lurked a thoroughly conventional small Japanese sedan
with double-wishbone front suspension, five link live-axle
rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes.
While the rack-and-pinion steering was power-assisted,
handling and braking were only average and Isuzu had failed
to upgrade their effectiveness in line with the upgraded
performance offered by fitting the turbo!
press soon realised the Piazza was 'mutton dressed up
as lamb', and the expected sales were never to materialise.
GM were forced to reduce prices in an effort to stimulate
sales, and disgruntled purchasers who had already forked
out top dollar were refunded up to $5000 to help ease
the pain of plummeting re-sale values.
The price reductions
were, however, too little too late, and the Piazza suffered
an early demise - released in April 1986, it would be
phased out in late 1987 and relegated to the history