By on August 19, 2019

2006 Isuzu I-280 in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSome guys dream of finding a Blower Bentley or Hemi Super Bee in a dusty barn. I get excited when I find an obscure example of badge engineering in a big self-service junkyard.

No Suzuki Equatoryet— but here’s something just about as rare: the Isuzu-badged version of the Chevrolet Colorado, found close to Pikes Peak in Colorado.

2006 Isuzu I-280 in Colorado wrecking yard, fender badge - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsVehicle manufacturers like to name their products after beautiful and/or romantic locations. When you see a Ford Granada, for example, you’re supposed to imagine a lovely Andalusian city. The Subaru Tribeca conjures up images of a focus group-approved rich-hipster neighborhood on Manhattan Island. Isuzu USA opted for the name of the notoriously traffic-jammed freeway that connects San Francisco with San Jose for their truck.

2006 Isuzu I-280 in Colorado wrecking yard, engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsYeah, I know, it’s really just the European-sounding designation for an I-Series pickup with the 2.8-liter version of the GM Atlas engine. I think Isuzu should have stuck with the P’up name for this truck, but nobody contacted the Murilee Martin Image Consulting Corporation on the subject.

2006 Isuzu I-280 in Colorado wrecking yard, rear view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThese trucks didn’t exactly fly out of Isuzu showrooms; I’d been searching for an I-Series for years and I drove an hour to Colorado Springs just to photograph this one.

2006 Isuzu I-280 in Colorado wrecking yard, air freshener - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsNaturally, I brought along one of my many old film cameras (in this case, a 1969 FED-2 from the USSR) and shot the Black Ice Car-Freshner Little Tree within this rare truck.


If Isuzu bothered to advertise the I-Series in the United States, those ads didn’t make it to YouTube. Here’s the Thai version, still built in Louisiana but known as the D-Max.

If you like these Junkyard Finds, be sure to visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™ for all 1,700 of them.

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29 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2006 Isuzu I-280 pickup...”


  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    In 2008 my friend was shopping for his first pickup truck. Gas was expensive and his commute involved creeping along in gridlock, so he wanted a four cylinder, automatic pickup. He planned on keeping his 5-speed BMW and using the pickup to keep miles off the car. He was a military pilot, and wanted to buy something American for the first time. He was talking about a Ranger, but I suggested looking at a Colorado, since I figured its much larger four cylinder would be better with an automatic.

    Long story short, the only four cylinders in So Cal were sticks. The dealers had no interest in doing anything other than selling what was on their lots. The reality of the Ranger killed any hair-shirt ambitions. He bought a 4.0 liter Tacoma Prerunner and then traded it the following year for another new Tacoma, this time with 4WD which he was still driving at his retirement from the Marine Corp last winter.

    This truck was designed not to fit the powerful I6 used in the related Trailblazer. Thanks GM.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      I certainly don’t understand why someone seeking a commuter vehicle would seek a truck…the least fuel efficient vehicle one could consider for commuting.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I think the answer there is pretty easy, I bought a 4Runner for fuel efficiency and keeping miles off of my nicer trucks and cars. The fact is most modern cars absolutely suck. They are almost all universally horrible places to spend time, if I have to deal with windshields at extreme pitches, whiny turbos, poorly driving dynamics of a FWD car, lightweight tin cans that are foisted on us, cheesy 10 speed transmissions that cost more than the car to rebuild, or tiny clown car pods; then I may as well just pull a 1960s car out of the junkyard and daily drive that.

        That’s a nice run on sentence – but you get the point.

        If a manufacturer would make something reasonable efficient, with a good design that wasn’t priced into the stratosphere, I would love to try it. Until then trucks have been the only answer I can find.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          “I bought a 4Runner for fuel efficiency”

          I was going to give you a bunch of static for this statement, but I remembered I once purchased a 17 mpg Nissan Frontier and marveled at how much more friendly at the pump it was than the Vehicle it replaced (1993 Land Cruiser) so I suppose it is relative.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          So what’s your issue with the LX cars?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Actually I don’t have any major issues with any of the LX cars, but like a pool early in the morning, jumping into FCA causes me second thoughts. I know I’m going to, seeing as they are the only manufacturer that actually produces a good number of livable vehicles, but I’m waiting for the right moment.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          “The fact is most modern cars absolutely suck.”

          Honestly, I have no idea why you say this. From my perspective, cars are better now than they ever have been. That said, if you prefer trucks, go for it. To my rump, trucks are always bouncier. They are also always more thirsty, and take up more space in my garage compared to to other vehicle types.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            No, I can stand only a precious few modern cars. Never in American history have vehicles costed so much and delivered so little. Outside of the above mentioned LX cars how much would I have to pay for a family sedan with RWD and a decent sized ~400 cube V8?

            4 cylinders, front wheel drive, extreme windshield angles, space saver tires, CVTs, light weight, all of these things have made modern cars completely unlivable. They’re so bad they make electrics look like good decent options. Again, modern cars almost universally suck.

            And it’s all starting to turn to the SUVs now, the last remaining bastion of SUVs, the Wrangler, 4Runner, and GM fullsizers are all that remain, and within a year it will only be the Wrangler and 4Runner as clearly GM is letting the fullsizers go.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        @R Henry, needing a vehicle more fuel efficient doesn’t mean someone needs the most fuel efficien t vehicle. If the dude has need of a truck and their other car is not up to the daily grind, a small truck makes sense.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I probably wouldn’t even say the fuel economy is the main issue, although the 20.1MPG I’ve been getting from my 16 4Runner is stellar. I just hate seeing miles rack up on my other vehicles that have ZERO replacement options. I would happily buy a brand new H2 today if sold and DD that. Like I’ve been doing on and off on mine for 16-17 years now.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        The BMW used premium fuel, which carried a sixty to eighty cent a gallon surcharge in California. I couldn’t tell you what use he had in mind for the truck, but the intention of using it for commuting may have just been because BMW wasn’t making attractive cars by 2008, so he wanted to make his 2001 model last. He wanted the most efficient pickup he could get with a transmission suited to crawling in southern California’s traffic hellscape. A good Marine pilot friend of his actually had a Prius and was also a liberal toreador. Somehow my buddy wanted a pickup instead anyway.

        Of course he wound up with a more capable truck that probably didn’t use less fuel than the BMW. He liked it so much that he replaced it with another when he was sent somewhere it snowed. The BMW saw so little use that it always had a dead battery when he felt like driving it, so it was traded on another car.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      “This truck was designed not to fit the powerful I6 used in the related Trailblazer. Thanks GM.”

      The ultimate irony was that when the market dictated a power upgrade for this because it was built to not accept the Atlas 6 they had to drop in the 5.3 LS motor. I’m cool with that, but it certainly was a strange decision. I always wanted to see the Atlas I6 in a car.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        The LS Colorado sounds like a great idea, but I’ve not seen much evidence that any Colorado is a good idea at this point. S10s seem to have a higher survival rate where I live. I haven’t had much first-hand experience with the Canyonados, but I have seen many a Trailblazer go to pieces between a hundred and twenty and a hundred and seventy thousand miles or so. They often have quite a few deferred repairs by then and are not worth fixing when they need something to keep going.

    • 0 avatar

      1) the truck was actually designed in Japan by Isuzu. 2) The D-max sold in the Asian market was built there. 3) It was not “designed not to fit the powerful I6…” it was designed to fit the Isuzu diesel 4 cylinder in the Japanese and Asian markets. In Australia it had a GM V6 in it and was called the Holden Rodeo. 4) How come if he wanted a 4 cylinder with an auto he ended up buying a Toyota 6 cylinder?

  • avatar
    gtem

    These had some serious engine issues the first few years IIRC, and even later ones have cam chain problems, from what I remember cam chain replacement is an engine-out job due to packaging.

    The amazing thing is how high resale is on 1st gen 4WD Colorados/Canyons. Not gonna lie I really like the way they look and their overall compact size.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    This is one I have never seen or heard of.
    We had an Isuzu and Suzuki dealership (both gone of course) within 5 minutes of where I live – and I got to see a lot of these rarer vehicles – Vehicross, Equator, etc. come to mind.

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    Black Ice Prejudice! Whenever at a stoplight with the windows down and CaddyDaddy’s nostril pick up the scent of Black Ice, I already know the profile of my adjacent lane neighbor. 100% always a Crabspirits’ vignette waiting to happen.

    Sometimes that Black Ice Smell is mixed with the sweet smell MJ (especially here on the Front Range). Makes me queasy just thinking about the experience. Never understood why you would blaze at an intersection, it’s like poppin’ a cold one in plain view in heavy traffic. But, I guess that’s why they call them PotHeads.

    I-280 – Talk about cultural disconnect for a pick-up name. Almost as bad as No-Va.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    You’ll find one in every car kid, you’ll see.

    Looking at the windshield and all the stem to stern dents, appears abject neglect did this one in.

    What do you mean I ‘m supposed to “change” the oil???

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Totally had no idea this existed, though I was well aware of the Ascender.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I see these on a weekly basis, I’m surprised these are considered rare. I’ve seen 10x as many of these as I have ATS-V, (current ) CTSV, and CT6 all combined.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have a black 2008 I-370 crew cab 4×4 with tow package and heated leather seats. As for the I5 it has more than enough power. I bought it new with 10k off the sticker. I haven’t seen too many of the I series Isuzus. It is not a bad truck but I still like my 99 S-10 a little more especially the 5 speed manual.

  • avatar

    Murilee, I seriously doubt the Isuzu designed and built D-max was shipped from the Sherevport, LA plant to Thailand. These were designed and built by Isuzu before we ever got them, at factories all over the world. The Isuzu design (for a diesel 4 cylinder) is why they didn’t fit the I6 from the Blazer in them – GM USA would have had to reengineer the entire front structure in front of the firewall to make it long enough. Why we didn’t get the DOHC “high feature” V6 that Australia got in their Holden Rodeo, or even the 4.3 lite V6 from the Silverado is a mystery, but the 5 cylinder is fine. Mine has 185,000 miles on it and shows no signs of stopping. I’ve been meaning to change the clutch for more than 100,000 miles but it isn’t slipping yet.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Another new one to me ! .

    I remember the Isuzu mini pickups, they were O.K. if fully looking to me .

    I got stuck trying to keep a Diesel one running for my ex father in law, a really nice man from Guatemala, C.A. who was hard headed about running motor vehicles and killed so many I lost count .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Almost bought a NEW Isuzu i-280 in 2006 instead of a used 2004 F150 Heritage.

    Long term I think I made the right choice.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Might have been a better choice for you but the Isuzu was still not a bad choice especially with sizeable discounts. The Isuzu I series are the identical truck to the Colorado and Canyon made in the same plant and there have not been any major issues with either of those trucks. I have a 2008 I-370 which has been a good solid truck.

    I doubt this truck was junked because of mechanical issues. Looking at the body there is just enough damage to make the insurance company total it rather than fix it especially since it is 13 years old. It could have had high mileage which would make its value nearly worthless regardless of its condition.


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