Junkyard Gem: 1980 Chevrolet LUV Mikado

During the 1970s and into the 1980s, each member of the Detroit Big Three imported Japanese small pickups and sold them with Ford (Mazda Proceed), Dodge/Plymouth (Mitsubishi Forte), or Chevrolet (Isuzu Faster) badges here. Ford developed the Ranger and killed the Courier for 1983 (though Americans could still buy the Mazda-badged version all the way through 1993), while The General axed the LUV after the S-10 debuted in the 1982 model year. Isuzu sold the same truck as the P’up through 1987, though, and we might as well follow up our recent P’up Junkyard Gem with its LUV predecessor.

LUV stood for Light Utility Vehicle, and I’ve managed to spot a handful in the boneyards over the years. This one now resides in a yard in northeastern Colorado.

The Mikado trim package included striped seat upholstery and a sporty steering wheel, plus these cool dash badges. As far as I can tell, no LUV Mikado advertising featured any Gilbert and Sullivan tunes.

This one is fairly rusty for Front Range Colorado, and it has endured a bed swap from some other small truck.

The engine is the 75-horse Isuzu 1.8-liter. Members of this engine family went into everything from Chevy Chevettes to Isuzu Troopers in the United States.

Very unusually for a small pickup during the Malaise Era, this one has a luxurious automatic transmission. Acceleration must have been a leisurely affair in this truck.

Air conditioning? Unheard of!

Someone stuck every one of their lunchtime apple stickers on the driver’s door.

After 41 years of work, this truck is done.

Come on strong in a LUV of your own!

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