VIDEO: The Isuzu TX-80 helped build modern Japan

The Isuzu TX-series trucks were a fixture in Japan’s post-war reconstruction. Their rule spanned over three decades, from 1946-79, an era that saw Japan transform from a defeated power to and economic juggernaut. TX-series trucks hauled cargo, moved earth, and were adapted into fire engines. The TX-80 in particular was a best-seller in the 5-ton segment. With seemingly zero cares given to styling, these trucks were ugly as an ox but they got the job done.

The TX-80 was powered by Isuzu’s DG32 engine, a water-cooled 4.4-liter straight-six generating 85 horsepower at 3000 rpm and 188 lb-ft of torque. With a 4-speed manual and worm-gear steering its Tsukuba lap time was “yes,” but the TX-80s were renowned for their strength, especially on Japan’s unpaved rural roads before the rise of highways.

Isuzu is making the most of their excellent museum by releasing archival images of their greatest hits, and the TX-80 is certainly one of them. Though sales ended with the disco era, they continued to be sold in other parts of the world into the 80s. Unfortunately they never made it to the US, as we would’ve loved to hear Joe Isuzu’s pitch about them.

Isuzu’s own collection includes a 1947 TX-80 that underwent a full restoration in 1997. Footage at the end of the video proves the 73-year-old truck is fully functional, too. Even though it’s not the most exciting vehicle, it deserves to step out of shadows of the the 117 CoupĂ© and Impulse once in a while.

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4 Responses to VIDEO: The Isuzu TX-80 helped build modern Japan

  1. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    The fade to color is pretty. That blue!

    Sorry, but I’ve asked this before & I forgot: What were the three green lights on top of the truck cabs for? Speed or gear? They were on trucks & busses in the ’60’s & ’70’s.

    • nlpnt said:

      Clearance lights? Green ones used to be the norm in the US as well, the switchover to amber ones started sometime in the late ’40s/early ’50s.

  2. Yuri said:

    I love articles like this on JDM workhorses. It’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole looking these things up, and really fleshes out what a slice of life was like. Please continue these, they’re great.

  3. Mark F Newton-John said:

    Vehicles over six feet wide require clearance lights on the roof of their vehicle.

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