VIDEO: Why the Isuzu museum in Japan has a Chevy in it

Despite its prowess in building large industrial trucks for any type of terrain, Isuzu was never truly able to succeed in the domestic truck and SUV market. They never were able to challenge the like of the Land Cruisers, Patrols and Mitsubishis, and even their small pickups lagged behind the competition from Toyota and Nissan. As a result, the Isuzu Faster set its sights on the US market, where its rebadged version, the Chevy LUV, was arguably more successful than the original.

In this video from the Isuzu museum in Japan, the subject is the Faster 1-ton truck. By the time it was introduced in 1972, Isuzu had already inked a partnership with General Motors the year before. The Faster succeeded the Bellett-based Wasp pickup, which had been a sales flop in Japan. Thus, the Faster was developed with an eye towards overseas sales from the very beginning.

Initial models wore the front fascia of the Isuzu Florian sedan, but the trucks were painted with lively colors and given groovy decal kits to appeal to contemporary small truck buyers in the US. Thanks to GM’s massive dealership network, the Faster saw far more success with a bowtie badge than the original Isuzu logo.

In fact, when you get to the end of the video and see the running orange example from the Isuzu museum’s official collection, it’s not a Faster but a left-hand-drive Chevy LUV. According to a past volume of Nostalgic Hero, When the museum sought to acquire a first-generation Faster for its archives, they couldn’t find a decent example in Japan. So, they bought a LUV on eBay from the US and shipped it back. Even then, they had to remanufacture a few parts from scratch, like the 2-piece rear bumper. So, if you ever encounter an original Isuzu Faster in Japan, know that it’s an incredibly rare sighting.

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6 Responses to VIDEO: Why the Isuzu museum in Japan has a Chevy in it

  1. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    The Chevy LUV was the car that got me through High School; an early ’72 or ’73 version with the four headlights. At a time when Detroit was cranking out some really bad cars, the fit & finish of this truck made me really think about where the US auto industry was headed & rethink the Japanese marques.

    PS: It was also the era when HP ratings switched from SAE Gross power to SAE Net power rating adding confusion to numbers. It seemed like sales chicanery at the time.

  2. Mark F Newton-John says:

    Since about 95% of you weren’t even born then, LUV stands for Light Utility Vehicle.
    It was a very popular truck along with the Ford Courier, which was a rebadged Mazda.

  3. LUVer not a Hater says:

    Thanks, Captain Obvious. By the way, it says that in the video too.

  4. I own a 2006 Isuzu Ascender. The Best SUV I have ever owned or had the pleasure to drive!!!!!!!! Monroe D Agee.

  5. F31Roger says:

    Wow.. that’s pretty cool and interesting. Bought a Chevy LUV on ebay and remanufactured a few parts. I’d definitely plan to check out the museum.

    Isuzu Vehicross is one of my favorite SUVs.. but I always liked seeing Troopers, Amigos and Rodeos.

    There are a couple of Isuzu Trooper collectors (I’ve seen 2 or 3) at a couple places in Vancouver and North Vancouver BC. Of course Vancouver BC also imported Bighorns in the mid 2000s once they hit their 15yr limit.

  6. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Ladies & gentlemen, I humbly present you: Joe Isuzu…

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