KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1989 Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R

Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R 001

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.

Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R 013

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.”

Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R 03

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.

Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R 107

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?

Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R 054

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!

Bart Wilkus is founder of

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30 Responses to KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1989 Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R

  1. timmy201 says:

    We had these in Australia as the Holden Jackaroo. I haven’t noticed many around the last few years, and they were always dirty and battle scarred when they did appear!

  2. Dave Yuan says:

    This is quite a find! It actually feels a little exotic, kinda like a Pajero Evolution. Hope it went to someone who truly appreciates how special it is.

  3. Sleepin says:

    I knew I woke up too late this morning!

  4. Jova says:

    damn!!! so fresh and new, have no details on the exterior, I love it

  5. Terrence says:

    Hi guys I love this Isuzu and I have one, I am looking for spares for the car but I cant find them. Can anyone help me by finding a dealer or a shop which can sell me parts to this car please. I need them for my Isuzu to hit the streets again.

  6. Ghulam says:

    in indonesia its called chevrolet trooper

  7. Eligio B. Garte III says:

    How much does your irmscher trooper cost?

  8. Fabian Castro says:

    tengo un ”isuzu bighorn irmscher s” año 91 es parecido a este pero plomo y sin guardafangos, 3 puertas con escalera, me encanta, pero no e podido conseguir el diagrama electrico, ni el manual, si alguien por internet lo llegase a tener, le agradeceria q se contacte conmigo al correo o puedo ayudar con las conecciones de el motor, 4jb1t
    Muchas gracias
    Fabian Castro desde Chile

  9. Fabian Castro says:

    Hello friend’m Fabian Castro from Chile. I speak that saw the announcement of sale of your vehicle Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher r, I have the same, but Irmscher ” s ‘with original motor 4jb1t’, and I write why I’m looking for the manual for this vehicle for mechanical repairs and electrical, I have a couple of months ago and when I saw it I knew it was a special version, but for all that and searched google and their walk so different from the trooper me and realize that get me the lottery with. The big problem is the lack of information regarding manuals especially in the electrical part, please if you know anything about this I would greatly appreciate it for my lot to be done especially in the electrical area. Thank you very much.
    Fabian Castro.

  10. Damien says:

    I have one and take it bush bashing through NZ bush all the time and i must say it is by far the best FWD drive ive ever driven! If anyone ever has the opporunity to get one do it!

  11. Ted says:

    I bought it. It’s coming home tomorrow. So excited.

  12. Ted says:

    Picked up today in Savannah GA and drove it home to Wilmington, NC. 300 miles. Great truck, absolutely stunning and rides like a car. I couldn’t be happier.

  13. Anthony says:

    Hello, am Anthony from Kenya and I have one Isuzu bighorn exactly like this one featured. The condition isn’t as this one though it was as good almost to this condition back in the year 1999. I would appreciate to get help of how my unit can be redone to this state of the featured irmscher bighorn. It even had the european spirit sticker and today is no more and I would love to see it exactly as neat as the featured one.

  14. michael says:

    hello ted is it the 1989 isuzu irmsche r you got

  15. Brad says:

    I have one if these in Australia, not as good condition but has original wheels etc. An amazing 4×4. If you look up Holden jackaroo as they were badged here, they are mostly the same apart from sport like appearances. 4jb1 aswell.

  16. I love it! What a beautiful vehicle. I’m pretty sure this makes jeep look like a joke 🙂

  17. Kent says:

    @ted have a friend who is interested in the Irmsche. Do you still have it and if not do you know the current owner?. Would be curious to know if he/she would be willing to part with it. Thanks

  18. Ronan says:

    Any1 know where to find a number on the jeep
    to know if it’s truly an R moddld

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