Truck buffs -- tell me about the Chevrolet Luv

A few years back, a friend of my brother’s gave him a 1979 Chevrolet Luv pickup truck (with the Mikado package). It sat in our yard for a few years, but has recently been fixed up. Now that it’s running (well), I can see that it’s in excellent shape for its age. No rust, one dent in the driver’s side door, the only thing visibly effed up is the upholstery, which has worn out in several places. It’s only got 35,000 miles on it, as it’s spent most of its life sitting in yards.

I just thought of the truck as a heap of junk, but here and there I’ve heard interesting bits about it. It’s actually a Japanese truck (Isuzu, judging from the emissions sticker in the window). There are Luv enthusiasts out there, complete with a website or two. I’ve had trouble determining the actual worth of the truck, as most of the ones I’ve found for sale are either heavily modded racing trucks or non-working “for parts” trucks, and only goes back 21 years.

So … what can y’all tell me? How did a Japanese truck get sold under an American car manufacturer’s name? Are Luvs good trucks, overall? Do they tend to last as long as Japanese sedans from that era? (My parents, for example, have an '80 Toyota Corolla that still runs beautifully.) Are they easy to fix? Any idea if my brother’s truck is worth anything to a Luv enthusiast?

LUV= Light Utility Vehicles.
Pretty much just a standard Jap truck. treat it with some TLC and it will serve you well.

That’s easy. Chevy owns stock in Isuzu (if they don’t own them outright). Chrysler did the same thing with Mitsubishi and the Colt.**

Can’t really help you there, other than noting that I don’t see too many on the road any more.

Going from memory here.

Isuzu made the Luv and the second generation Buick Opel (first generation Opel was German). They weren’t too bad, but they weren’t as good as Toyotas, Hondas, Datsuns, or Mazdas. Luvs tended to rust out pretty badly in some climates. They’re pretty easy to fix by today’s standards; they reflect typical design of their time. I’ve got no idea why anyone be a Luv enthusiast, much less what a particular truck might be worth to them.

From a mechanic’s point of view, they were essentially unremarkable, and not thought of as particularly durable.


“…why anyone would be a Luv enthusiast…”

Mine was a 76. First to go was the floor, got so bad I couldn’t drive in the rain with out getting flooded, then every thing else seemed to start rusting right away too, much faster than I could put Bondo on it. Even the frame was rusting real bad. Watch for the plug behind the instrument panel, if it shakes a little loose you will shut down, just reach up behind it and push it back in. My thermostat stuck closed and I burned the head gasket, I would have to remove a spark-plug and crank the engine to squirt the water out so I could start it up, every couple days I would drain the crank case to get the water out. When I put a new gasket in, the cylinders still had the original cross-hatch honing marks (about 75k miles) I drove it another couple years until the cab rusted loose and it was getting hard to stear.

To complete the story, besides the GM and Chrysler Japanese trucks, Ford had the Courier made by Mazda and returned the favor by letting Mazda sell a re-badged US built Ford Ranger.

I could never figure out how any self respecting redneck could drive a “LUV”.