Car personality and literary pervert Murilee Martin recently reignited his small-truck “luv” in a junkyard when he stumbled upon a 1979 Chevrolet LUV (Light Utility Vehicle) in Mikado trim.
Yes, “his”; despite rumors to the contrary regarding his arguably womanish pseudonym, Murilee Martin is a dude.
As Murilee explains at The Truth About Cars, this and other American light pickups of the time were essentially badge engineered Japanese trucks. The General had this Chevrolet light truck offering, which was based on the Isuzu Faster.
It boasts (or perhaps, laments) a G18 engine, making about 75 to 80 horsepower from four cylinders and a 1.8 liter displacement; this motor also powered the Buick Opel. The Mikado package reportedly added eponymous badges on the fenders, pin-striped seats and a three-spoke steering wheel, though the pin-stripes are decidedly absent from this example.
Mr. Martin explains the relevance of the find thusly: “Each [of the big three’s light pickups] rusted with great eagerness and were near-disposable cheap, so they’re all very rare today. I see maybe one LUV per three years of junkyard visits, so this ’79 LUV Mikado grabbed my attention right away.”
He’ll probably never see another Mikado again.