Are grown men allowed to cry about cars? It was a normal Thursday evening just like any other. I sat down at my PC after work to check a couple of eBay auctions, and something caught my eye on eBay’s tailored (to me) homepage feed. What I saw was probably just a stock photo, I thought. But after a click, my palms started to sweat. How is this possible? Is it a scam?
What appeared before me were over a hundred glorious, high-res photos of a 1989 Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R that at first glance appears to be in nearly brand-new condition. Having only ever seen photos of these rigs in a few JDM Isuzu catalogs I have in my collection. I was literally stunned.
As my wife called me to dinner in vain, I sat mesmerized by the photos of this spotless vehicle that is only a phone call to DAS away. My mouse pointer drifted towards the Buy-It-Now button, only to be held back by the as-new price tag attached, and that little movie playing in my head of me, writing over and over again on a chalkboard, “I am not a car collector. I am not a car collector.”
During the late 80s, Isuzu sold a line of special edition Bighorns trimmed out to the nines by the famed German automobile tuner outfit, Irmscher. These Bighorns were fitted with every possible bit of high-end kit: special wide fender flares, Recaro seats, Momo steering wheel, Irmscher tuned suspension, bull bar, mud flaps, step rails, inclinometer, heavy-duty floor mats and power everything. These Bighorns had it all.
Not only did we never get a Trooper in the US even close to this trim level, we never got Isuzu’s best gen-one engine in any of our Trooper SUVs, the 4JB1 2.8 intercooled turbo- diesel. What’s more, is this Bighorn is reported to have under 25,000 original miles, as well as Isuzu’s practically indestructible manual transmission. This is the best combination of any drivetrain ever put under a gen-one Trooper shell, and here it is, already in the US, just waiting for someone to buy.
As the photos illustrate, this Bighorn seems to be just about entirely original. The undercarriage looks spotless, but I would bet it has a fresh black undercoating. The Aisin manual locking hubs look to have been reconditioned and sprayed all black, which, again, I do not believe is original. There’s also the Rancho shocks and new brake rotors telling me some drive-train refreshing had to be done. I don’t believe the wheels are original spec, but they look damn good on this Bighorn. Anyway, who really cares about these minor details when both the body and interior look showroom clean?
The seller also included a link to even more pictures he called “imperfections,” which are paltry to say the least. We exchanged a few messages. He told met this vehicle is a recent JDM import (obviously) from a owner in Japan with a penchant for cleanliness and detail. You don’t say? He also told me he has other JDM imports in the form of 70-Series Land Cruisers and even an Isuzu 117 which he plans to sell soon. With zero feedback and only a single auction going, I will be anxious to watch this seller in the future.
This Bighorn is a hallmark example of Japanese perfection, both in construction and care over the years. And what kills me the most, is this is likely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which I will sadly have to pass up. I can only hope this vehicle goes to someone who understands its rarity, importance and downright coolness. But at $25,000, I feel this will be a hard sell to the American market. See the auction and over a hundred photos of this gem on eBay. UPDATE: Someone did indeed Buy It Now for $24,900!