Chevrolet LUV

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Chevrolet LUV Truck.

The Chevrolet LUV (LUV stands for Light Utility Vehicle) was a rebadged Isuzu KB Light truck. Sales began in the USA in March 1972 as a response to the Toyota Hi-Lux and the Datsun pickup, as well as Ford Motor Company's Mazda-built Ford Courier. The LUV was replaced in the United States by the US-built Chevrolet S-10 after 1982.

The LUV used a traditional truck chassis with a ladder frame and a Leaf spring/Live axle rear suspension. In front, an Independent suspension used A-arm suspension. The 102.4 in (2.6 m) wheelbase was similar to its competitors, as was the six-foot (1.8 m) bed. The only engine was a 1.8 L SOHC Straight-4 which produced 75 hp (56 kW).

The LUV's exterior was updated slightly for 1974, but the first real refresh came in 1976. A 3-speed Automatic transmission and front Disc brake were added that year. Power was up to 80 hp (60 kW) for 1977, and sales continued to rise. An exterior refresh and the addition of a 7.5 ft (2.3 m) bed option, with 117.9 in (3 m) wheelbase, brought sales up in 1978 to 71,145.

The addition of Four wheel drive in 1979 brought the LUV to the attention of Motor Trend magazine, which awarded it their second Motor Trend Car of the Year award. Sales peaked at 100,192.

The truck was redesigned for 1981 with the wheelbase stretched by 1.9 in (48 mm) to 104.3 in (2.6 m). The gas engine remained the same but the LUV was now available with an Isuzu C223 diesel engine making 58 hp (43 kW) @ 4300 rpm and 93 ft·lbf (126.1 Nm) @ 2200 rpm. This new engine gave the 2WD diesel LUV a fuel economy rating of 33 city / 44 hwy making it one of the most economical trucks ever built. This engine is also renowned for its reliability; many LUV trucks of this vintage have achieved over 500,000 miles before requiring a rebuild. Chevrolet stopped selling the LUV in the USA after 1982 in favor of their own S-10 compact pickup, but Isuzu picked up sales in the US as the Isuzu Pup that same year.

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Today


The LUV name is still used today on Badge-engineered versions of the Isuzu D-Max. That version was also sold unofficially in the United Kingdom as an alternative to the domestic Isuzu Rodeo in pickup and commercial vehicles dealers.

As of recently the LUV is one of the many vehicles that the Iraqi Government has purchased for use in the various local and national police forces.

South American Production as Chevrolet LUV


This Isuzu pick-up was also made in Chile from Japanese Complete knock down sets in Chevrolet's plant in Arica from 1980 [1] to October, 2005 (replaced with LUV D-Max). At the start, the versions assembled were the K-26 and K-28. In 1988 came the TF model, which reached a 40% of domestic parts, and was exported successfully to Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, México, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia and Venezuela, from 1993. In total, more than 220.000 units were produced.

By the late 1980 it was assembled in Bogotá, Colombia by Colmotores [2]. That meant the introduction of the light pickup truck in the Colombian market, in a package that included a 1.600 c.c., 4 cylinder engine, making in 80 hp, that can carry up to 1 Ton of cargo.

In 1999 Thai Rung Union Car from Thailand supplied the Chevrolet plant in Arica, Chile body parts of their Grand Adventure model to make the Chevrolet Luv Wagon and the Grand Luv, sold with little success.

Criticisms


While the trucks had reliable and well built (albeit underpowered) drive trains, the Luvs had serious rusting problems. In the last years of production almost half of the trucks that were shipped on boats to the United States from South America were found with rusted frames on arrival due to salt water corrosion. It is not unusual to find a high mileage Luv that has a drive train in perfect working order, but some to have a frame broken in half from rust.

References

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