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From Isuzu to The Intercooler

3 years ago

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Peter Robinson | Journalist


24 September 2021

In 1989, when the Tokyo motor show moved 30km from downtown to Makuhari, the only practicable way from the city (where most of the press and manufacturers stayed) was by train. Which is how I met Julian Thomson and Simon Cox. As almost the only Gaijin on the platform, we struck up a conversation.

I discovered the youthful Thomson and Cox both worked for Lotus as designers. What I didn’t appreciate, until we talked later in the day on the Isuzu stand, was that these two young Brits were responsible for the star of what was later recognised as one of the great motor shows.

Lotus and Isuzu were then both under the General Motors umbrella. Working under Shiro Nakamura, who ran Isuzu’s Brussels design studio and would later go on to a stellar career as head of Nissan design, they were asked to create what became the Isuzu 4200R, a mid-engined supercar powered by a Lotus 4.2-litre V8 with Thomson responsible for the exterior design, Cox the interior.

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