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Truck Thursday: Long Shots: Nice Truck, Hombre

The other day this olelongrooffan was out and about round these Ozark Mountains and came across a vehicle that had previously passed under my relatively limited new car radar. I was unaware that these were even in production as late as 2009, although given their limited production numbers, this olelongrooffan isn’t totally surprised.

My fellow Hoons are most likely familiar with this little brother of the Chevrolet LUV but feel free to click on through to see just a few more images of the rare discovery stumbled upon that day.

This olelongrooffan must apologize for the blurriness of these images. In my haste to grab my fancy dancy imagetaker to capture these images of this elusive beast, I accidentally hit the prominent switch deactivating the autofocus with which it is equipped. Having said that, know that the blackandwhite townies were not following this olelongrooffan around those days.

In an attempt to add some token of knowledge of this Isuzu i-290, this olelongrooffan googled Bill White Isuzu in that city situated on Belle Point. It turns out that dealership back in the day sold almost every near obscure imported automobile thought to be marketable in the central part of the Natural State. Obviously, they weren’t all that marketable as it appears Bill White now sells VWs exclusively.

This i-290, along with its more heavily option brethren the i-370, is based on the Chevrolet Colorado platform. Early in its relationship with GM, Isuzu provided the first and second generation Isuzu Chevy LUV pickups based on its own platform while in the later years, their whole relationship went catawampus and GM provided Isuzu with The General’s platform for Isuzu’s pickup trucks. What a changeup that had to have been.

While checking out these trucks and their heredity, this olelongrooffan did reveal one bit of information which I found pretty interesting. When the first gen Chevy Luv trucks were shipped here from Japan, their place of manufacture, they were shipped without the beds attached thus circumventing the 25% import tax levied on completed small pickups imported to the US at that time. This olelongrooffan was unable to ascertain when this practice was carried over to the second gen Isuzu pickups. Remember them?

As the rear end of this i-290 was viewed one more time prior to my getting the hell out of there before attracting the attention of those townies, it was noticed this ride possessed a “Fleet” license plate. Although this olelongrooffan performed a somewhat extensive search, I couldn’t determine how many of the less than 10,000 i-series pickups were sold to fleets throughout its abbreviated lifespan.

This olelongrooffan would venture that if those fleet sales had not occurred, the death of these Isuzus may have prompted an even earlier withdrawal of this marque, at least in the auto and light truck market, from the US shores.

Interestingly enough, a combination of Isuzu and General Motors bits are still offered by Isuzu in various editions of their light duty trucks in nearly every other market in the world except the US.

This olelongrooffan has this to say about that. In selecting such a relatively rare truck for a daily driver, that owner made a nice Choiz.

Image Copyright Hooniverse 2017/longrooffan

  • Papa Van Twee

    I-290? Sounds like something you’d use to get “around the town”. Or a name they made at the “spur” of the moment. One should not “bypass” this truck.

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    I’ll let myself out.

  • outback_ute

    It is funny that nearly the inverse situation has occurred in Australia. The first part is the same, with the LUV sold as a Chevrolet, then later with Isuzu badges before the second generation wore the Holden Rodeo name (pronounced the same way as the Drive). Only after the GM-Isuzu split in 2008 did the Isuzu name return outside of commercial trucks, with the D-Max shown below. Holden also had to stop using Isuzu’s Rodeo name and switched to Colorado. Each pickup now has a different engine range and outer sheet metal.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/925de217683d76a5bb68569edecc3a242c99129789a6bfc6a5685e19767be8a3.jpg

    • SlowJoeCrow

      Ford/Mazda was the same way, After 1993 Mazda sold slightly restyled Rangers as the B Series in the US while outside the Americas Ford sold rebadged Mazdas as Rangers. In South America Ford sold Brazilian Rangers which included a never seen in the US crew cab.

  • Scoutdude

    Well all the import small truck makers that got in bed with a US automaker eventually had the tables turned on them. Mazda eventually sold rebadged Rangers and Mitsubishi eventually sold a rebadged Dakota. The Mitsubishi Raider sold about as poorly as the Isuzu i-series while Mazda managed to move a decent number of B-series.