Junkyard Find: 1984 Isuzu P'up

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

All right, we saw one of the rarest examples of Detroito-Japanese badge-engineering of the 1980s in Sunday’s Junkyard Find— a Chrysler/Mitsubishi truck— and today we’re going to look at GM/Isuzu truck that’s a bit less uncommon (but still not something you see every day): a Chevy LUV wearing its original Isuzu badging.

Chevrolet stopped selling the LUV in the early 1980s, but you could still get the second-gen Isuzu Faster in North America for the 1983-88 model years, now badged with an equally cute name: P’up!

I drove a Diesel P’up when I had a job delivering tropical fish in the early 1990s, and the thing— which had about 400,000 miles on the clock— was miserably slow but got absurdly stingy fuel economy. This P’up burned gasoline and didn’t even make it to 150,000 miles.

The P’up was cheap, and it had Joe Isuzu as pitchman.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Lapisblau Lapisblau on Dec 11, 2012

    These were great trucks for a business to operate. My dad's company owned a fleet of these in the 80s. They ran all over town delivering heavy items like furnaces, every day. They had the four cylinder gas engine and four-speed manual. As an accountant, he appreciated how affordable and dependable they were. As a kid I had a scare in one of these. The parking brake lever, which can be seen to the left of the steering column, was too easy to release. It was meant to be done by rotating the handle 90 degrees CW and letting the lever pull in. My sister was sitting in the middle seat and I was on the right. Somehow we bumped the handle, the brake was released, and the truck started rolling back down the driveway. I shouted at her, "Push the brake pedal! The middle one!" and pulled the e-brake back out. Fortunately we stopped the truck quickly.

  • Pup Owner Pup Owner on Dec 04, 2014

    I can speak from experience, My 1984 Isuzu Pup, one owner, gets me to work and back everyday. It's in rather rough shape since I picked her up from the Isuzu dealer in 1984. (rust holes here and there) The 1.9 Liter gas engine does fine in city traffic with it's 4 speed Manual trans. It's the Long Bed version and I have been stopped numerous occasions while driving by someone hoping to purchase it from me, My response: Check with me again in ten years and I'll let you know. In the hot S. Florida climate I do use the A/c quite a bit, which will freeze anyone (38 degrees at the vent). I did an average repair and maintenance calculation over the entire life of the truck approx. $6K. Includes everything, tires, batteries, Oil services, alternators, belts, 3 paint jobs, A/C compressor,Brake jobs, u-joints, you name it. Engine has never had more than valve cover removal and oil pan gasket. Mileage a click under 200K. I used to say it has never left me stuck, although one time in rush hour traffic I stalled it and was using an old battery(I knew it wasn't going to re-start)I quickly hopped out, started pushing it, slid it into 2nd gear, popped the clutch and was on my way before anyone sounded their horn. It will start with an almost DEAD battery, every time.

  • Michael Gallagher I agree to a certain extent but I go back to the car SUV transition. People began to buy SUVs because they were supposedly safer because of their larger size when pitted against a regular car. As more SUVs crowded the road that safety advantage began to dwindle as it became more likely to hit an equally sized SUV. Now there is no safety advantage at all.
  • Probert The new EV9 is even bigger - a true monument of a personal transportation device. Not my thing, but credit where credit is due - impressive. The interior is bigger than my house and much nicer with 2 rows of lounge seats and 3rd for the plebes. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, around 300miles of range, and an e-mpg of 80 (90 for the 2wd). What a world.
  • Ajla "Like showroom" is a lame description but he seems negotiable on the price and at least from what the two pictures show I've dealt with worse. But, I'm not interested in something with the Devil's configuration.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I really like the C-Class, it reminds me of some trips to Russia to visit Dear Friend VladdyPoo.
  • ToolGuy New Hampshire