By on July 6, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is from the period in the Eighties when many compact pickup trucks were available to the North American consumer. While most of these vehicles were Japanese, some covered their origins with American badges. Others wore both Japanese and American branding, albeit at different dealerships.

Wouldn’t you LUV to check out this P’up? Ugh.

What North Americans called the P’up was called the Faster in its home market. Isuzu brought its first Faster compact truck to Japan in 1972. The new model was a replacement for the brand’s outgoing compact pickup, the Wasp. And like the sedan-based Wasp, the Faster was also based on a sedan: the Florian. The midsizer offered up its doors and front end for the Faster, which qualified as a compact under Japanese law (for lower taxation).

General Motors had a new 34 percent stake in Isuzu, so it ordered Chevrolet badges for the Faster, called it a LUV, and put it on sale immediately. Isuzu did not have a market presence in North America at the time.

A second generation of Isuzu’s successful Faster bowed for model year 1980. Through the generosity of General Motors, this generation spread to other brands and markets, and was badged as the Chevrolet Stallion, Holden Rodeo, Lincah, and Raider, and via Bedford as the KB. In North America it was still the LUV, but Isuzu dealers also sold the truck as the P’up. The move coincided with Isuzu’s entry into North America as a fully fledged brand.

Naturally with such a global product spread, there were many varieties of Faster. With two doors it was sold as a standard and extended cab pickup, and as a chassis with cab. It was available with three or five doors as an SUV, and also had a four-door crew cab option. Adding to the breadth of options, short- and long-wheelbases were available. The truck’s overall length in shorty guise was 174.2 inches, which grew to 191.3 inches in long format.

Engines ranged from 1.6- to 2.3-liters if burning gasoline, and were of 2.0- or 2.2-liters of displacement if diesel. In its first and second generation, gasoline power available to North American Isuzu truck customers remained the same: 1.8-liters, 75 horsepower. When the second gen arrived for model year 1981, it brought with it an optional turbodiesel motor, the 2.2-liter. An ample 58 horses were available. Four-wheel drive was optional on North American LUV/P’ups, but only on the short-wheelbase models.

1983 brought a change to the P’ups fate in North America, as General Motors introduced its new S-10 and S-15 trucks. The LUV disappeared, leaving the P’up to continue alone. The 2.2L turbodiesel engine from the P’up lived a second life though, as a seldom-selected engine offering in the S-10 and S-15 through 1985. The P’up was succeeded in 1988 by the Indiana-made “Pickup,” which continued on through 1996, whereupon it was replaced by the S-10 clone called Hombre.

Today’s Rare Ride is a stunningly well-kept blue/blue P’up from 1986. The hood scoop reminds you it has the D. And check that quality Caprice Classic steering wheel. Subject to a body-off restoration, the P’up asks an optimistic $11,500.

[Images: seller]

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52 Comments on “Rare Rides: A 1986 Izuzu P’up, Coming With Length and Turbodiesel...”


  • avatar
    spookiness

    Look mom! Only 2 doors! And look how long that bed is!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    That is one loooong bed

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Are they really asking that price?

    Back in the day, I often contemplated acquiring a Brat or a Baja but never did get around to doing so.

    I still would not mind a small, inexpensive pick-up but no such thing exists any longer in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Well you can do what I did which was seek out a solid S10/Sonoma and fix all the stuff that needed fixing. If you can provide labor, it’s pretty cheap because this platform has some of the most widely available and lowest cost repair parts.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        You are correct but unfortunately I am long past the point of doing such work myself.

        Pick-ups are in such high demand, used ones are overpriced.

        Even rusted out, non-roadworthy ‘junkers’ get used as farm vehicles or plowing private lots.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I’ll bet that’s the original steering wheel, but yes, that’s a near copy of a late-‘70s/early-’80s Chevy wheel!

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Length AND stamina?

    Some dudes have all the luck.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Everything about the bed of that pickup is perfect.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I guess I have to give Ford/Chevy/Dodge credit, at one time an 8-ft bed was an absolute requirement in a truck. Some genius, however, saw the profitable future where the truck is really a big luxury car and if there’s any requirement to haul materials or tools, they can go in a trailer you pull behind the truck.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I miss the 8 foot bed on my 1985 Mitsubishi Mighty Max. Hauled lots of stuff with it over the 14 years I owned it. Now you are lucky to get a 5 foot bed in a new truck since most are crew cabs.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’m impressed at the overall condition of the truck but it’s grossly underpowered, even if it does have the ability to go forever on a tank of diesel. How ’bout we resto-mod it and drop in a more modern turbo with about 3-5 times the horses?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    My Dad had an ’85 shortbed (no turbo)diesel for about 15 years. It liked to eat alternators, but otherwise was a good little truck until the frame rails rusted through just behind the cab. It lacked power steering and desperately needed it; a curious contrast to a ’91 Isuzu pickup I had which steered much easier despite also being manual steer.

    IIRC the longbed in ’80s and ’90s compact trucks was a nominal 7-footer, not 8.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    True that’s a 7-ft bed. It was probably originally bought by a middle aged woman high school teacher, retired in the ’90s, pulled her licence about 10 years ago and passed away recently.

    Once the price comes down to reasonable, it’ll be bought by a landscaper and treated it like any work mule. No love. It’s not really a collectible piece and no auto museum will want it. Too many are still driving around (not in this exact configuration, nor exceptionally low use) in the south west, So CA especially.

    • 0 avatar
      Duaney

      You really don’t know that there’s a community out there that cherish’s these trucks and values them highly. No way will some moron use this as a work truck and trash it.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Mini-Trucks are just so common in So Calif, that unless it’s Mint, very low miles, and or fully restored, loaded SR5 4X4 Extra Cab, etc, or similar, landscapers can get them at a reasonable price, drive them into the ground and go buy another.

        Landscapers don’t care (like you or I). It’s just a work truck to them, no matter how rare, fine or exceptional. Except Mini-Trucks are the absolute perfect tool, perfect size for what they do. So as long as they can get them cheap, that’s all they care about.

        • 0 avatar
          Duaney

          Just for the fun of it, I did a Craigslist search for Los Angeles and San Diego for Chevy Luv and Isuzu Pup’s for sale. All I found was an early Luv in not running condition for $3000, and another early Luv in nice shape for $7,000. Mini trucks like these are not plentiful even in Southern California for low prices. That’s why this exceptional rare turbo diesel sold for maybe $11,500.

        • 0 avatar
          Duaney

          Did a search on Auto Trader just now. There’s a 81 Luv for $10,000 in AZ, a ’74 Luv for $14,000 in Ill, a ’73 Luv for $7,000 in Ill, and a ’75 Luv for $19,000 in MI. There are no landscapers out there who will buy these to use up and trash as a work truck. They’re just too rare and valuable today.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yeah, that’s what they’re “asking”, probably hoping it’ll catch the eye of a midwesterner that goes nuts over it. 11K would be touching Holy Grail trucks that must be minty and 4X4 and extra cab, AC, ps, pb, etc, and possibly power windows/locks, body-stripes, perfect running, not cut up, all original, etc, etc.

            Otherwise Mini-Trucks are competing with way too many cool vintage cars in Calif in every category. The P’up in question hasn’t much going for it, cool-factor-wise, etc.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Frame off restoration? Who would do such a thing on THIS?

    Still very cool. Deadly to drive, but still very cool.

    • 0 avatar
      Duaney

      I would frame off and restore any of my Isuzu Pup’s. They’re great little trucks and incredibly handy to use. If you had one you’d understand.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You wouldn’t do a “frame off” either way. No need on this one. Just cosmetic/touch-ups. The interior shows the most wear/age.

      Except Mini-Trucks were/are meant to be customized, but finding period-correct (off the shelf) parts would be misery. It would be mostly custom-fab, homemade stuff.

      Some things beg to cut up, lifted or dropped. Or like ’70s Chevy vans, all three. Lifted in the back with dropped front.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I doubt this truck was bought by a middle age school teacher and I doubt it will be sold to a landscaper on the cheap to be trashed. It might not sell for the asking price but it is rare enough to attract the attention of a collector. Less than 10k will buy you a rusted used truck with 200k to 300k miles with a rusted frame. I know this because I have been looking for one and finally found a 2008 Ford Ranger regular cab. Maybe you can get a used pickup in the shape of this truck cheaper in California but it is hard to find anything around me that isn’t all rusted out with low mileage. Still I will have to put in about 2k in the Ranger with a new paint job, bumper, tires, brakes, and a few other things but it runs good with cold air and an automatic. You would be lucky to find a truck worth restoring and then you would more than likely spend more fixing one up along with the purchase price than they are asking for this truck. I am spending around $1,500 for just a new paint and body work at Maaco with independent body shops quoting me 3k to 5k for a paint job which was shocking. The cost to do a restoration of a vehicle is much much more than what they are asking for this truck.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It would much be cheaper to pay the $1.00 a mile. I’d trailer it back myself and even a rented F-150/trailer would be lots cheaper (than $1/mi).

      In So CA, there’s nothing special about this truck, even TX/NM/AZ. It’s more of a liability being a long bed, never mind diesel.

      If this truck is in your area, dollars to donuts it was trucked in from far away, some place with palm tree (for a huge profit margin).

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It’s funny (or not), but I would see this older guy, 60’s I’d say, that would come in and dealer service his ’87 F-150 XLT regular cab, long bed, Tu-Tone brown, style steel wheels, trim rings and he had while-walls.

        Anyway, I’d chat him up when was waiting around, this was ’87/’88 when I worked at the Ford dealer. But he kept that F-150 immaculate/showroom, extremely low mile.

        So I’d spot him around town until around ’00, still with the F-150 looking sharp as hell. Then he disappeared.

        Fast forward to about ’10, I see a landscaper has it, full of tools, lawnmowers/rakes/etc and plywood-panel uprights added (in the stake pockets). Still looking Mint. Hmmmm.

        I spot it a year later and it’s beat to hell, just absolutely thrashed, no tailgate and the pickup-beds-sides are steeply tilted outward (like the hands of god), but I’m sure it didn’t matter as it would then hold way more branches, leaves, etc, on the way to the dump.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      There’s a very good reason there’s so many Mini-Trucks surviving in such pristine condition, especially around the bed.

      Non traditional pickup buyers came in by the millions. Just the simple fact they sold so many of them, while the F-150 remained the #1 seller.

      That’s librarians, teachers, nurses, butchers, store/retail/regional/middle managers, students, maids, tailors, nannies, bartenders, waitresses, cooks, barbers, fashion designers, you name it.

      • 0 avatar
        Duaney

        I’d like to know where you see “so many Mini-Trucks surviving in pristine condition”. Are you really in Denver, or Southern Calf? I’m in Colorado, and most of the surviving mini trucks from around here are only useful for parts. I had to go to Arizona to get two trucks in decent condition, IE, not rusted away. Also, I never have seen any other of these trucks on the road around here, other than the one I’m driving.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You should go to So Calif. They’re just everyday trucks, they work for a living, or just commuters, same as always. They’re all over the place, and vary from mint, restored, former “show trucks”, customs, aging, to just thrashed.

          This P’up would be sell for $5,000 max in So Calif. It’s probably what they paid for it before exporting it to where it is now.

          I’m in Temecula every few weeks for some commercial property I have leased out. And it’s comical, all the classic cars and trucks, driving around as if nothing, that are gone from the rest of the country.

          Except So Calif was the epicenter for the Mini-Truck Craze (import lovers), they came in though Los Angeles (originally) and never really caught on like out there.

          Even the Tacoma occasionally outsells the F-150 (not F-series) in Calif, especially in San Diego.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        That’s true @denvermike, but part of the reason was that they were cheap. I’m not sure the modern incarnations will keep that part of the equation.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I doubt many California vehicles are transported to Cincinnati and Northern KY and those that are would command well above the usual retail price. True nothing special but it is a well preserved survivor and it is much harder to find one in the shape that this one is. I gave my Isuzu to my nephew’s wife because he was going to buyer her one similar to mine with a lot more mileage and much less options. I wasn’t letting it go without finding a decent midsize truck with lower miles and not rusted to pieces. I bought a fleet truck from a used car dealer out in the country for $3,349 in Ohio and will have to pay taxes and licensing in Kentucky. It is a 2008 Ranger regular cab with 101k miles which is low for a 12 year old truck with little or no rust. It has some dents, scratches, and a rattle can touch up paint job but that is being fixed. I will have just under 6k in it when I am finished for a mechanically sound truck with an automatic, fm radio, and cold air. Maybe in California there are lots of smaller trucks that are in good shape but if you live in an area that snows that uses salt and beet juice to melt snow there are not many around and those that have survived for the most part are badly rusted.

    I myself don’t want a diesel nor do I need a long bed but I wanted something with more than a 4 foot bed that wasn’t a crew cab and I didn’t want or need a full size pickup. I researched the new Ford Maverick compact pickup which is targeted to be released in late 2021 as a 2022 MY. It will be made in Mexico in a crew cab only, short bed, 1.5 turbo I-3 with optional turbo 2.0 I-4, air, power windows and locks, and a few other things at just below 20k. I was even willing to live with a front wheel drive version, crew cab, and shorter bed but I lost interest when I found out that both engines have the water pump enclosed with the timing belt which means if the water pump fails there goes the engine. I figured I will only put about 2k to 3k miles a year on it and better to find a used small truck.

    I am one of those truck owners you mention bought these smaller trucks but I actually use the bed and the utility is more important than image. I like the fact that my Ranger has a rubber floor and vinyl seats which is easier to keep clean and I don’t have to worry about ruining. Low maintenance, cheaper parts, decent gas mileage for a truck, and mechanically simpler. The new Ranger and Colorado are good trucks but I really wanted something smaller and easier to maneuver and maintain. I am not a fan of turbo engines or water pumps enclosed with timing belts or timing chains which I realize is to save space and lower manufacturing costs but for me that is not negotiable.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “…those that are would command well above the usual retail…”

      Bingo! Bango! Buy, low. Sell high. That’s worked for at least a million years (depending on your beliefs and whatnot).

  • avatar
    -Nate

    My late father in law brought home a 1981 (?) version of this from the original owner, it was a N/A Diesel as was slower than any other vehicle I’ve ever driven .

    He loved it and killed it by driving it with a leaky oil hose .

    Late at night, in the rain .

    He left it in the center breakdown lane of a freeway and I had to go fetch it…

    What a PIA, I told him it wasn’t worth the $800 he’d paid for it .

    Yes, here in Sunny Southern California there are still plenty of rust free decent small pickup trucks, just go look at the LKQ site, choose your poison .

    Sadly they won’t sell them, only for parts .

    I wonder how much I could get for my 2001 Ford Ranger short bed 2.5L 4 banger and ice cold AC if I sent it down East ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Nate–Without rust, low mileage, and good interior you would easily get 5k to 6k where I live and it would sell quickly. That would be true of any pickup especially smaller ones from Western States and Texas where the salt and road chemicals are not used for snow and ice. I would travel to Texas if it weren’t for COVID-19 and not having the time to travel since I am working full time. People where I live tend to drive their trucks into the ground and most of them have 200k to 300k miles and are for the most part used up. That is why after a couple of months I jumped on the 2008 fleet white Ford Ranger especially since I didn’t want a 20 plus year old truck. My Ranger has 101k miles with a 2.3 I4 with ice cold air. I would not have been interested in a diesel pickup that is 30 years old but the truck in this article will sell but not likely at the asking price. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sold for just below 10k and most likely from someone outside a western state.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Thanx Jeff ;

      Here’s a Mazda version of my truck for cheap with low miles : https://portland.craigslist.org/clk/cto/7154503661.html

      Fly in and drive home to the rust belt….

      Supposedly this engine is good for 400,000 miles if you take care of it .

      He says no AC but it’s standard equipment .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Tried to view this truck but the posting has been deleted which most likely means it sold.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Oh, it was here in the DFW area. The post has been taken down, so I wonder if it sold, or ???

  • avatar
    Russycle

    My boss in my first job after college bought one of these, with a short bed. I believe it was the cheapest new car he could find. I borrowed it occasionally to make deliveries, and honestly, it was a pleasant enough little ride. Gutless, but the 5-speed shifted nicely, and it handled OK. There’s not enough nostalgia or crack in the world to get me to pay $11K for one though.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Yes it is sold. I have never been a fan of diesels but I can understand why this sold.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Nate–Wow that is a nice truck I would have bought it if I were closer. My 2008 Ranger was $3,199 plus $149 processing fee. It’s at Maaco now because the paint is bad and I had to replace the rear bumper, tires, wheels, and give it a good cleaning. That Mazda appears to need very little which would have saved me about 2k. With 101k miles my Ranger has lots of life left in it especially since I will likely put about 2k to 3k miles a year on it and didn’t want to tie up 20k to 30k in a truck. As I said your Ranger would have sold in Cincinnati and NKY for 5k to 6k quickly especially since it is not rusted. There are used car dealers around me that go to Texas and George and buy vehicles to sell here and they sell quickly. One thing I miss about Texas is the mild winters and not having to put up with snow. When I retire I will probably move to Arizona.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Well ;

      You have to really watch out on those Gulf vehicles ~ many are salvage written off after flood damage .

      They ‘wash’ the titles and sell them here in California too, always at the low end BH, PH typ of lots .

      They looks great but explode in rust from the inside out in two or three years tops .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    Duaney

    The Pup in question must have had much going for it and plenty of “cool” factor to sell for $11,500. To each their own, everyone like’s different stuff, we belittle others when we disparage what they like. I find it incredible when a Porsche sells for $156 million, but not so incredible when a decent mini truck brings a good price.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s basic supply/demand. I’m not kidding, classic but basic/base Mini-Trucks are so common in Calif, no one really notices or cares (much).

      It’s like 120 years old Coca Cola bottles. Like yeah wow, but they’re about worthless since about a billion went into circulation.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Well the rest of the nation is not like California. If you live in the Northeast or the Midwest most mini-trucks are long gone and most pickups that are more than 20 years old are gone. My S-10 that I gave my nephew last October is starting to become a rare site along with old Rangers, old Nissan hard bodies, pre Tacomas, Dodge D-50s, Mazdas, Mitsubishi Mighty Max, and a few others. Not just the salt and road chemicals but the high humidity makes things rust. Even the steel bolts and fastners on my aluminum outdoor furniture rust and that is even when I take them in for the Winter and paint them. Wood also rots from the humidity.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    Correction: the turbo didn’t come out until 1986, and made 87hp. It seems to have a reputation for weak connecting rods. The non-turbo made 56 and lasts forever.

    Also, while numerous sources claim that 4wd was available only in a shortbed, a friend of mine has a 4wd longbed diesel. It has no markings to suggest a greymarket import or conversion. It also has the weird combination of AC but no PS.

  • avatar
    Duaney

    Not to beat a dead horse, but I flat out “don’t believe you” as far as these trucks being common in S. CA. today. My search’s show little or none for sale. I have friends in Ramona CA, and the LA area, they don’t see these.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Beat away .

      I was thinking about this thread again to – day as I got off the i210 freeway and a late 1980’s Toyota pickup in faded gray paint with graphics decals and one small dent below the L/R taillight pulled up next to me….

      They’re everywhere, maybe it depends on the neighborhood .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    It seems a bit much for $11,500 but it is nice!

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