Cute with Attitude: Stepside Chevy Luv

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If you name your pickup the Chevy Luv, chances are you’re not going after potential buyers in the forestry industry or those who ship livestock from the Great Plains to the coastal cities. No, the Chevy Luv was better suited to city dwellers or as a light-duty farm vehicle that was more a means of conveyance than an accessory to heavy labor. But does it do your ego any good to flare out those fenders and give the Luv some attitude? Perhaps, but you’ll have to check out this Luv Stepside here on eBay to find out. 

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The seller provides nominal details other than to let us know his Luv may let you down, given the engine has a knock. Perhaps that owner’s manual on the bench seat came too late in the ownership process. What is unusual is that truck bed, which was apparently a dealer option when new. I’m not sure why you’d want a flared bed on a Luv, but given those boxy fenders were a popular feature on 70s trucks, I’m guessing if you didn’t offer a Stepside option, you’d lose out to those that did.

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No matter what those ripped proportions may suggest, the Luv remains quite docile under the hood. This SOHC inline-four churns out a mighty 80 b.h.p. (a bump of five horses compared to previous years’ model), but given the playing field of small, imported pickups was pretty limited in the U.S., there was no need to get into a horsepower war with the likes of the Ford Courier.

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The big reason you’re buying this truck is for that  special bed. There are usually plenty of Luvs to be found on craigslist if you want an actual runner, but engine swaps with later model Isuzu engines are supposedly straight-forward on ’76 and newer Luvs like this one. Bidding has jumped up in the past hour to over $300 with the reserve unmet – what’s that special bed worth to you?

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Comments

  1. Scotty G

    Isuzu was / is known for making great trucks; cars maybe not as much, but they make great trucks. This sort of captive import is welcome at any import show as well as at any Chevy show; the best of both worlds. I would love to have this thing and it’s a great deal, engine knock or not – that should be a relatively straightforward fix. Nice find here, sir!

  2. Ron E Bee

    super cool

  3. AMC STEVE

    Fun little truck that I would even consider an LS swap. It’s badged as a Chevy and the rod knock justifys it. These things were under powered anyway.

  4. Jason Houston

    If Studebaker had made a compact pickup, this would have been it.

  5. jim s

    the trucks were being imported as chassis cab and then having the beds installed for tax reasons. all the dealers in my area offered the trucks with or without beds. they also offered a lot of differeent aftermarket beds. this bed looks like steel box/fiberglas fenders. the bed, stripes kits, and aftermarket wheels all offered a lot of extra markup/profit for the dealers. nice find.

  6. dave

    This truck is about 3 hours from me. I can go check it, bring it to my terminal and ship it world wide. I’m in Sonora CA 95370

  7. DonK

    Isuzus tended to rust.

  8. AMCFAN

    Luv stands for Light Utility Vehicle. Those rear fenders look very similar to the ones on the half ton Chevrolets and GMC’s from ’73 on up. I wouldn’t be surprised if in fact are the same mounted on a smaller box. If GM could get out of spending money re tooling and pull something off the shelf that’s the route they have always taken. Besides along with the Bowtie emblem would actually resemble a real Chevy Truck….at least from the rear. The period slotted mags put this in perspective. A real Crass and Bernie ride.

    I think this truck would be just the ticket for a vintage collector vehicle you may be able to talk the wife into. You could use and help around the estate. An excuse to take it to Lowes or Home Depot for the wife and haul plants. In keeping with the original drivetrain would surely net you upwards of 30+mpg. Nice Toyota Trucks late 80’s early 1990’s with the 22RE are bringing serious money and this restored should be no different. The popularity of a mini car like hauling vessel that gets great fuel economy. An LS1 would certainly ruin it. Save it for your S10 or Gen3 Camaro. This truck deserves to have it’s original Isuzu power plant. If you insist on changing the motor. An interesting swap would be a Turbo Diesel from a NPR also rebadged as Chevrolets. Cool find.

  9. RoughDiamond

    Awesome Luv truck! Going to watch this one as I believe the bidding will become quite spirited before the auction ends.

  10. PilotMike

    California Stepside was the name of the company that offered these beds. They were based in San Jose Ca. Pretty sure you could buy this bed as a consumer too, and have it installed. Have seen them on Datsuns and Toyotas too.

    Like 1
  11. Mike

    My Brother in Law had one of these with a step-side, but his was green. I always thought it was the ugliest little truck in the world, but he drove it back and forth to work for 20+ years, and I think he put a couple of motors in it during that time. I remember when he got rid of it, there was not much of the body left, all them years of driving it back and forth to St Louis the road salt ate it right up. I think he drove it to a scrap yard because none of the dealer wanted it, and none of the local junk yards wanted it either.

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