It has been said that love is a many splendored thing, and likewise that it makes the world go around. Owing to its 327 V8 and topless nature, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Chevy is a LUV you might love, but will its price prove LUVable as well?
First introduced in 1972, the Chevy LUV (or Light Utility Vehicle) was derived from Isuzu's ironically named Faster pickup. That Japanese mini-truck was itself related to the Florian sedan, sharing major components such as doors, windshield, and front clip.
As was the case with Ford's Courier, the LUV was GM's attempt to compete with the small trucks that were gaining popularity in the ‘70s due their fuel efficiency and lower purchase costs than traditional full-size fare.
The LUV was imported sans bed in avoidance of the chicken tax, the open cargo hold being added after reaching US soil. Those early trucks were powered by a 75-horse SOHC 1.8-litre, and surprisingly they maintained a robust 1,100-lb payload capacity.
The thing of it is, with a stout ladder frame and heavy duty leaf spring rear/A-arm front suspension, it doesn't really matter to the truck where that payload resides, and that means that this particular 1976 LUV readily accepts its heftier 327 V8, which was supposedly liberated from a Corvette. Of course, with an empty bed and that extra cylinderage under hood, this truck's handling will probably not be something you'd want to show off to the local Lotus Club.
The 35K engine is claimed to be a '67, which is before the 327 underwent an enlarging of the mains for durability's sake, but these still manage to pump out the power - factory figures being in the low to mid 300s. Behind that mill is an automatic transmission - probably a THM something - which is actuated through a B&M T- bar. I've never been a fan of the B&M name because it always reminds me of B&M Baked Beans, with in turn reminds me of another sort of B&M which is kind of gross.
Not gross is the Ford 9" in back, which should be sturdy enough to handle whatever twist the drivetrain chubby checkers back its way. Wheels are take ‘em or leave ‘em alloy turbines upon which are mounted a set of nondescript blackwalls.
Of questionable choice, the nose has been capped with an econo-car bumper (can you identify it? Come on, it's not that hard) and there's something about the grille that just doesn't look right.
Other bodywork notables are a war wound on the passenger side of the bed, and something mounted just above the tailgate that looks like. . . well, I don't know what the hell that is.
But the big deal here - especially since the interior's kind of down on its luck - is the roof which has been made removable. It looks popping the top is a two-man job, and the bed-mounted fuel cell may impede bringing the top along for the ride, but it still is one more feature that may make this a LUV to love.
Of course, as noted at the outset, you may love the truck but not so much its price, and now is the time to get down to business and vote your heart on whether this LUV's $4,000 price tag is something you could fall for.
What do you think, does that four grand price make this Chevy LUV-ly? Or, does that price put this LUV permanently in the friend zone?
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