CC Capsule: A Porsche 928, An Isuzu Trooper And A Wheeless F-150 Meet By The Curbside

Here’s a stranded trio that took me by surprise. A Porsche 928, a mid-80s Isuzu Trooper, and an F-150 without its rear axle, sitting at the end of a secluded street in San Salvador. So, what exactly is happening here? The eclectic car owner with multiple projects? If so, what kind of Dr. Frankenstein creation is he conceiving in this otherwise mellow neighborhood?

The most likely explanation is a clandestine repair shop in a nearby house. A likely scenario in San Salvador, though I saw no evidence of it. Such businesses are clandestine, but not really ‘hidden’ in this unruly city.

I could also see them belonging to a cell phone company located at the street’s end (not pictured), whose guard kept me from shooting these before. But well, that’s what weekends are for, buddy! Try to stop me when you’re not around!

Whoever they belong to, it’s a rather curious mix. The Porsche’s origin is the easiest to trace in my head. Bought for cheap in the US, it came as one of the many grey imports that arrive monthly in this nation. And then, an enthusiastic local (the cell phone company boss?) found its ‘lucky’ chance to say ‘Porsche owner!’ At least for a short while.

The 928 got a fair amount of backlash when launched in 1978. Both for its styling and for breaking with Porsche tradition. Regarding the looks, in his defense, designer Tony Lapine said the car would “grow on the public and become more appealing with age.” It’s certainly taken time for that to happen. Prices online are all over the map on these, and there’s still a good amount of cheap ones. And while it’s a dumb idea, if I did have 15K lying around, I would be tempted.

Neither Zuffenhausen’s machinists nor Mr. Lapine ever imagined their 911 successor sitting next to a semi-jungle, being nothing more than a sophisticated ‘anthill.’ Look closely, there are a few ants treading over this 928’s bonnet. I suppose they made home inside some of those silent cylinders. 4.5L must be really accommodating when you’re ant-sized.

Here up close is the 928’s ‘Miura headlight’ motif. Unlike many, I have no ill will toward the 928, though it suffers from a lot of trendy ’70s cool’ ideas. Lapine was probably pushing for ‘tension’ when penning the 928, mixing lines that are both sleek and bulbous. It’s a peculiar mix that is distinctive, though not necessarily sporty-looking.

Now the Isuzu Trooper II is certainly a time machine, particularly with its ‘oh-so-’80s’ color scheme. My favorite high school teacher in Puerto Rico drove a Trooper II; she was an early adopter. By the time I arrived in California a few years later, I discovered it had a devoted fan base. It was a sign of what was to come.

The Ford F-150 has been sitting like this for months, with shrubs now growing on its bed. As I said, it’s not only wheeless, but the whole rear axle assembly is missing. It must be one of those ‘will fix it later’ jobs that keep on being delayed.

Talking about Ford trucks, I remember a CarTalk column back in the ’90s with a reader absolutely livid with his ‘brand new Ford truck.’ Said reader drove the truck out of the dealer’s lot, only for its whole rear drivetrain to fall off by the time he reached home. I would think Ford has improved its assembly since then, and I hope this truck’s condition was inflicted by its current owner instead.

Enough guesswork for today. Let’s wave goodbye to this curious trio for the time being. I wonder if any of these will ever run again, and if so, in what form? After all, any parts sharing on these will certainly be the work of a Dr. Frankenstein.


Further reading:

Curbside Classic: Porsche 928 – The Future Of Porsche, Twenty-Five Years Too Soon

Curbside Classic: Porsche 928 – Blasphemy With A Big Butt

Curbside Classic: 1986 Isuzu Trooper II – An Unfulfilled Desire