Donna Summer released one of disco’s biggest crossover hits with Love To Love You, Baby and judging by the looks of this Chevrolet LUV, it hit the road around the same time that song hit the airwaves. I’m sad to say Ms. Summer is no longer with us, but that makes it all the more delightful that this Isuzu in drag has managed to survive.
Riding in a LUV is unlikely to elicit the sort of ecstatic response that Summer demonstrated in her famous song, but the vibrations and fumes to which my friend’s diesel version subjected its passengers left them feeling like they’d been beaten, and some people get off on that.
Thank you, Eric Clem, for the chance to compare this rattly little truck to a disco hit.
When I was in Japan during the early sixties I was told that Isuzu was the toughest truck the Japanese made. Evidently they sent them down into the mines (can’t remember which ones now) and that they were just plain rugged. The ones that I saw on the street were mostly large trucks. Experience with the Luv driven by some servicemen I knew told me that ruggedness applied to pickups too.
I don’t know all the chev/isuzu history but have always respected isuzu because of those two things.
What’s with the mirrors on the fenders? I’ve never seen that on a Luv before.
After market, most likely .
Donna Summer. Perry, you’ve put today’s soundtrack in my head. I love her stuff. Not so hot on the Isuzu, bit too roundy curvy and for me utes should be foursquare. Haven’t heard Lee Wilcox’s thing about the mines, but people would tell me they bought Isuzu because of their truck toughness. Now I’ll think I’m going to drop the needle on Hot Stuff segueing into Bad Girls.
The memory slips somewhat as we get older so your comment started me to thinking. The mines I was talking about were in Japan. A main one apparently has been closed since 1964 and the abandoned control tower is now a safe haven in Zombie video games. I’m no expert there. I remembered the Isuzus I referenced as dump trucks and that was right. Japan wasn’t the only place they were used.
Apparently they are still well thought of in Australia. Even though this is an ad I can’t resist. http://www.isuzu.com.au/news-media/media-releases/mining-not-taxing-on-isuzu-fleet.aspx Apparently the Chinese are the big players in this kind of use now.
I would guess that Isuzu is a long way from being a big player in the industry now. Isuzu pickups were well thought of in my industry whether Luvs or the following non-S10. I would be happy with the Isuzu space cab right now.
BTW I think the mirrors might well mark it as an import via other than normal ways. Like a returning serviceman. They scream Japan.
It’s believable on the mines thing. The Snowy River scheme (a bit like our Hoover Dam) was the making of Japanese 4WD drives here. I was thinking back to what I heard and it was actually a guy who knew his cars telling me why he bought his Holden Jackaroo.
There was a foursquare Isuzu space cab over here – late 80s? – that became popular with the dropped look. Now that I think of it, that’s my fave baby ute.
I think the mines would prefer to use Landcruisers if it weren’t for their enormous price and most have now migrated down to mid-size pickups which are the standard size here. I have read that some bring in
DodgeRam 2500s that they leave LHD and can only drive them on site. Haven’t heard much about Chinese pickups being used, but can imagine their service lives could be short.
Landcruisers are pretty common Canadian mine trucks as well. Ensindustrial.ca has some cool examples. Most of the ones I drove were locked in low range to keep the speed down.
I always liked the look of these. There was something about the backsweep of the windshield and the side window glass that made these look like they were always in motion, even when parked.
I agree; they look a lot better than their successor, but then again, they were called the “Faster,” and share some body panels with the Isuzu Florian sedan.
Yeah, from this time period, the quad headlight mini-trucks looked the best, with LUV being #1, followed by Datsun, then Toyota.
The Dodge D-50 was okay, too, but the Ford Courier was the worst.
I had one of these little beasts. Same year with the quad headlights. It was slow and rough-riding but unkillable. Mine was pretty rough when I bought it and I proceeded to beat it like a rented mule. It never quit on me though. I’d buy another if I could find a purty one. I love Japanese mini-trucks to this day, like most everyone here.
Why can’t I buy a small 2014 model truck like this? I know the big ones get good mileage with the modern electronics, but I don’t need or want something that big, At least bring back the ‘son of LUV’ S-10.
Interesting. I’ve noticed the Hilux get taller and taller with the (sort of) same footprint. Even VW has launched one here, but I’m not sure how seriously the tradies take it. Holden recently rebadged their baby utes to Isuzu, which they were all along.
My current HiLux has a 4 litre v6, my first a 2 litre I4, and is probably a foot taller than the old one. I really think there is a place for a ute in the same size range as the old one, perhaps Great Wall will enter that niche!
The guy I bought my merc off had just bought a new Great Wall ute. For some reason he had to spend $1500 for new ECU, but theoretically it was still under warranty. I didn’t push for more info because he was plainly not happy about it.
It’s only a matter of time before they too get their caca together.
Great Wall is a photocopy of a 96 Hilux built in China plenty on the roads here and Fotons with Cummins engines Hilux has priced itself too high lately and the Chinese are eating their lunch, Holden still has their Colorado but I like the new BT50/Ranger they drive quite well with 3.2 5cylinder diesel and 6 speed box, These old Chev Luvs were in the NZ govt fleet years ago and they werent much good, real rust buckets compared to the B series Mazdas which went forever just needing constant timing chain replacement.
There are some stories that GM will bring back a LUV-like truck soon to to the US. They sell a LUV in Latin America (Daewoo-based??).
A friend had a gasoline version. Oil pressure was nil at idle. Some sage at the Chevy dealer told him those engines ate main bearings. One weekend we removed the oil pan and unbolted the main caps. Crankshaft journals looked fantastic. We carefully spun replacement standard size bearings between the block and the shaft—pressed the new bearing to the journal while slowly rotating the crank–it was very tight, but they did slide in. Buttoned it all back together and was rewarded with a good 20 psi at idle. This 5 hour procedure allowed that truck to soldier on for several more years.
–There is something very satisfying about completing such a project!
Sticks in my mind that I saw a piece on the news years ago about an unfortunate shipment of LUVs That bunch of LUVs were stored in Jacksonville, right where they came off the ship. Sales were slow and the trucks sat for a year or more.
In that year’s time, the bodies rusted significantly, GM decided to scrap the entire load. The news report showed the workers in the yard driving these new trucks like Dodge-ems, smacking them into eachother.
While funny, it also sounds rather dangerous. Considering what was surely minimal safety equipment back then (as in just about none), a seventies’ mini-pickup is pretty far down the list for a demolition derby car. I hope those guys at least wore helmets.
I hope those guys at least wore helmets.
In the video of the guys smacking the trucks into eachother, they had just as much “safety equipment” as I had when driving a bumper car in the 60s, none.
Ugly scene one day as the pole on my car snagged on the ceiling and came off, leaving me dead in the water and #1 target for everyone else.
My buddy called his a Little Useless Vehicle, though truth be told he worked it pretty hard on occasion, but he also kept it up much better than most of them.