4×4 Motorhome: 1992 Isuzu Rodeo Camper Conversion

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The world of Japanese-market imports is quite colorful, with all kinds of novel vehicles arriving on our shores these days courtesy of any number of specialty vehicle importers. A large percentage of the recent arrivals reflect consumer desires to hit the open road, with Mitsubishi Delicas and Toyota HiAces dominating the list of desirable JDM vehicles. These four-wheel-drive vans make it easy to begin living on the road full-time but still have some space limitations inside; this 1992 Isuzu Rodeo 4×4 camper conversion takes that formula one step further and makes the open road even more appealing. Find the Isuzu here on craigslist for $38,000.

Now, close to $40,000 for an old Isuzu camper is a chunk of change, no doubt. But like many of these Japanese market imports, the miles are low and the condition appears to be excellent. With just 62,000 miles on the clock and an Isuzu diesel under the hood, this Isuzu is barely broken in. That’s a big reason so many car dealers have popped up specializing in these overseas oddballs as you can pick up pretty much anything you want with low miles and clean cosmetics, not to mention robust diesel powerplants that weren’t installed or even offered in U.S.-market vehicles. Standard equipment includes overhead storage, kitchen with sink, two-burner cooktop, refrigerator, bathroom with removable cassette toilet, and more

The interior is in outstanding condition and really does showcase the difference between one of these and, say, a Delica Starwagon. Don’t get me wrong: much of the appeal of the Delica is that it just looks brawny and ready to rumble. They have been taken to extremes off-road. And they look killer with a lift kit and bigger tires. This Rodeo looks like – well, a Rodeo on the outside, and you can’t really mess with the suspension all that much, so it’s going to have the same stance as an early 80s Toyota pickup-based camper conversion. But when you see how much more room you have and how two people can likely happily share this space for days at a time, a genuine camper conversion starts to make more sense than just a big van with fold-flat seats.

Fortunately, this Rodeo camper features the manual gearbox, which is quite rare in a JDM truck like this, and especially so with a camper attachment. It won’t be a rocket ship but it should actually be able to move along fairly confidently on highways and backroads alike. The condition is likewise excellent up front in the driver and front passenger area, and it features some aftermarket navigational equipment and a custom steering wheel. The seller notes the Rodeo comes with almost-new tires, a new battery, bike rack, fresh fluids, and paperwork indicating a recent timing belt and water pump change. Overall, with the summer vacation season upon us, this seems like a timely purchase for anyone with $40K to burn and a desire to see America on their own terms.

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  1. HadTwo

    Outstanding! Road trip!

    Like 1
  2. Michael garner

    Wah!!! I wants it! I wants it badly! My precious!!! Dang it. Wife Boss says no.😞

    Like 0
  3. Cooper

    Why are all the cool toys thousands of miles away? I would buy that so quick if it was closer. That would be a fun weekend traveler with the grandsons.

    Like 0
  4. CCFisher

    I believe the basis for the conversion was a pickup, not a Rodeo SUV.

    Like 1
    • bobk

      CCFisher, I was wondering that too as I had an Isuzu Rodeo SUV. Great vehicle BTW. However, looking on Wikipedia, apparently Isuzu used the model name for a compact pickup in the JDM. Who knew?

      Like 4
      • CCFisher

        That explains it, then. I can’t imagine someone hacking off the back half of an SUV, adding the pickup cab corners, and building an RV when a pickup – likely even a cab & chassis in the JDM market – was available.

        Like 2
  5. Derrick S

    Love the Mooneyes decal on the spare!

    Like 1
  6. Ward William

    While it is cute, you can get a hell of a lot more RV for 38k than this. And I would get tired of Sushi every night anyway.

    Like 5
  7. rodknee

    Its cool. But c’mon, 38k for a camper with barely any features? I know inflation has pushed everything up but thats just crazy.

    Like 4
  8. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking camper. It’s too bad it was never offered here in the USA. I think it would’ve been something different from the Toyota that was used as a motorhome.

    Like 1
  9. Andy

    Cool pics, I’m surprised nobody mentioned the whole right hand drive thing……

    Like 0
  10. Bunky

    Isuzu diesels are great- but think tortoise, not hare. I believe “moving along confidently” is a polite exaggeration. More like “racing along at glacial speed”. It’s a cool addition to the list- but painfully slow, basic, RHD- $38k? No thank you very much.

    Like 3
  11. CharlieMember

    Before you write it off as an underpowered POS you must remember Isuzu built the first Duramax motors for GM as GM owns a good chunk of Isuzu . So this little 4 cylinder turbo diesel might be considered a “Half a Dirtymax” . I have bought and sold many US full size diesel pickups and medium duty trucks of US , Japanese and Italian origin and in medium duty trucks the Isuzu is a great choice and where the Duramax Chevy used in pickups was sourced from . I had a few non turbo , IDI , 4×4 Isuzu pickups (a couple P’UP’s) and not Isuzu branded , but Isuzu through and through – Chevy LUV’s , I also owned a few Isuzu powered Chevy Chevettes and an 82 S10 with a factory installed Isuzu diesel and they were gutless pigs but local farmers loved em cause they could run their untaxed tractor fuel in them . I think this is a super cool camper and I’m going to see if my wife might like to fly out to Washington and drive it back out east with me (I doubt she will but worth a try) , she has 4 weeks of vacation to use before years end and I got a dealer plate and the funds and I’m ready to go . Wish me luck

    Like 2
  12. chrlsful

    like the seamless glas skin as the most H2O proof, the wrong-hand-drive is a deal breaker (& tiny wheel) as it’s easy to convert ME; but rest of the world around is now wrong sided. No fun, inconvieient, dangerious. 20, 25K$ round here (the ‘trooper’ Toy w/diesel on here would have left the 40K$ behind tho).

    Like 0

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