If you love something, set it free. If it comes back it's yours forever, if it doesn't it was never meant to be. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe LUV isn't quite free, but is it still cheap enough to perhaps make yours forever?
Forever is a very long time, and it seems like forever since we had on the show that balls-deep tacky on poor taste with a side order of schmaltz, the Phantom Pharaoh. In fact however, it was only two days ago. Appropriately, that gilded silly went down in a massive 95% Crack Pipe loss, and if that's the worst thing you saw on New Year's eve, then count yourself lucky.
That's all in the past however - last year in fact - and while there was little chance that many would like that last candidate, there's lots to love about today's 1980 Chevy LUV 4x4. For starters, its roof comes off, and who wouldn't like to begin the new year with a little gratuitous toplessness?
You might not be old enough to remember Chevy's LUV, which was first introduced all the way back in 1972. At the time, America's Big Three automakers owned the big truck market, but saw sales erosion coming up from the bottom, in the form of smaller, more fuel efficient import trucks. Figuring that OPEC couldn't constrain supplies forever, and that American's dalliance with smaller trucks would likewise not last, all three of the American makers chose initially to bring over imports of their, sourced from Japanese companies in which each held a stake.
In the case of GM that was Isuzu and the LUV (or Light Utility Vehicle) was in fact a bow tie-wearing version of the Isuzu Faster, a JDM truck carrying one of the most ill-associated names ever applied to a vehicle. Engine choices in the LUV were limited to a single 1,817-cc SOHC four that initially offered up but 75 horsepower. A four-speed manual was the only transmission offering as well, and braking was handled by four wheel drums.
By the time this '80 rolled out of Fujisawa things had changed somewhat, and much of them for the better. Over the years the LUV gained disc brakes up front, 5-more ponies under the hood, and an optional slusher. A 4x4 drivetrain also became available in '79, and offered independent front suspension by way of torsion bar springs. It was considered so good by Motor Trend that they announced that the 4WD LUV 'handled like a sports car,' and anointed the then seven-year old pickup as their Truck of the Year. Of course that was Motor Trend and, back then at least, those titles were awarded by the advertising sales group and not the editorial.
Unfortunately, alacrity did not accompany handling in the LUV's seasonal updates, as even with the 80-horses this truck's four pot originally offered, zero to sixty was still an almost 18-second affair; you might just as well get out and walk.
This one however lets the sun shine in, owing to its removable canvas top which - surprisingly - looks not unreasonable when erected. That's matched in back by a bed cover over the truck's step side box.
Along with a top that looks pretty new, there's also a fresh coat of paint (oops on the driver's side door lock), and new interior upholstery. Sure the dash has a huge crack in it, just over the glove box, but if you're seeking perfection, a LUV probably isn't the best place to look.
The ad notes that the little pickup has but 31,000 mile on the clock, and doesn't say when the beheading took place. It does claim the truck to be perfect for the beach or for hunting, although I think I'd rock it as-is pretty much as a fun weekender. I think the closest you could come to this would be a Suzuki Samurai, and even that's not going to have 1400-pounds of load capacity for all your home improvement hauling pleasure.
Look, I know that Tuesday's candidate was a gimme, and that you're looking for something that's significantly more of a challenge. Well, this truck clicks off most of the Jalop boxes, and dropping a V6 into one of these isn't all that tough, so perhaps at $2,500, this one will give your internal debate team more of a workout.
What do you say, is this convertible Chevy-by-way-of-Isuzu seemingly worth its $2,500 asking price? Or, is this a LUV with a price you hate?
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