Moved by Mikado? 1980 Chevy Luv

The collector car world is sort of like a popularity contest in high school. There are some vehicles, no matter how much of a walking catastrophe they are, collectors will always want them and suffer for their commitment. Then there are the oddballs, the one-offs, the special editions relying on cool clothes and footwear to fit in with the popular crowd. The Chevy Luv Mikado edition has a tough name and special features, but was it enough to make it a contender for prom king? Check it out here on craigslist where the seller is looking for cash offers. 

The Mikado was hardly a game-changer when it arrived on the Luv lineup landscape. Consisting of custom upholstery and a three-spoke steering wheel, the Mikado was sort of a last-ditch effort to prop up sales that had been in decline. The Mikado didn’t do much to stem the tides, but it did deliver a spiffy interior to the utilitarian Luv. Although pictures are pretty poor and the Luv’s bench seat looks rough, the door panels and carpet still appear to be sound but that rust in the bottom of the door frame is worrisome.

The seller claims this Luv has been in his family’s care since new, although it’s clear it was put out to pasture long ago. Rust is prevalent throughout the rear quarters and the tailgate, in addition to the rust captured above. It doesn’t get much better on the other side, and while this Mikado is rare, there are so few Luv’s left on the road today that I’d be shocked to learn there’s another owner out there looking for a bench seat with rare upholstery or the special steering wheel. While it’s sad to think of scrapping this Luv, the time to save it may have already passed.

Although we dig the Mikado badge, the amount of rust combined with the Luv’s minuscule power output (and an engine likely down a few horses given its long period of dormancy) will require a sympathetic Luv owner looking to preserve a piece of history. The seller has thrown out a number of interesting trades he’d consider, from Buick GSs to Mazda RX7s. All of those are fairly ambitious trades to pursue with this Luv, so perhaps he’d throw some cash on top, too. But to give up a running car of any brand for a non-running, rusty Luv – well, you have more courage than I.

Fast Finds


  1. S Ryan

    Great idea for last minute Mothers Day shopping. I LUV you Mom.

  2. Jared

    Wow only about 5000 miles and rust free. That pickup won’t be available for long.

  3. jdjonesdr

    The seller needs to call one of those “We pay cash for your old car” guys.

    But hey, maybe he’d be interested in trading it for a 2000 mile Dodge Daytona?


      Not much to LOV here. this thing appears to be DOA.

      Like 1
  4. Howard A Member

    Actually, if I may say so, the LUV ( Light Utility Vehicle) was indeed a game changer. It bridged the gap for Chevy between full size and the up and coming S10. Imports were killing the truck market, and US truck makers were caught with their pants down ( do something, quick) Ford with the Mazda,( pre-Ranger), Dodge ( Mitsubishi) GM with this. I had a friend with one, 2 wheel drive though, had an appetite for front wheel bearings, but was Asian quality all the way. Truth be known, I don’t really think the S10 was all that much better, just made by GM. This truck, meh, get the S10.

    • MikeK

      Ford made the Courier.

  5. Brakeservo

    By his list of potential trades, this seller thinks he’s really got something . . . can’t imagine anyone else agreeing with that though . . . not much value as even a parts truck – can’t imagine anyone is now or ever going to be restoring one. Donate it to a High School Auto Shop class.

  6. Loco Mikado

    The left front tire seems to have taken root in the ground

  7. Jared

    if he took about 12 more photo’s of the tailgate he might get $10,000 for it.

  8. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    “The seller claims this Luv has been in his family’s care since new…” Apparently no one in the family knew anything about taking care of it.

    • GP Member

      If I could give you ten thumbs up, I would. Who cared???

  9. Coventrycat

    After all these years, I can still remember how slow the one we had was.

    • Andrew Vermeer

      ……but I often long for those slow days again. Life is nuts these days. There was a time people would chat up a conversation at the red traffic light to the guy next waiting.

  10. Jesper

    Bedford in Europe. A shitty Pickup.

  11. Chris

    Why didn’t seller mention that he may trade for a porche with equal amount of rust?

    • Brakeservo

      Would that be the front porch or back porch??

  12. Adrian C

    I believe these were made by Izusu for GM

    • Jerome

      That’s correct !! I was selling Chevys when these were introduced.
      They started instantly on the car carrier, went to prep, and none of ’em came back for service–TOTAL dependability! !
      HOWEVER, they had one huge problem. ……factory installed RUST !!! I’m surprised this one is not in a dust pan !!

  13. Jesper

    Opel Vauxhall and Bedford was also GM. In europe.
    I have only seen then as a Bedford

  14. JimmyJ

    Wow it’s gone!
    We didn’t have these in Canada when I saw them visiting Washington I always thought they were super cool looking trucks.
    Love to grab one especially a 4×4 cuz nobody out here knows what they are.
    I think I’ll wait for one that’s not a total POS😄

  15. Doug Towsley

    Wow! The hatred and negativity is strong today! I admit this might not float a lot of peoples boat, and the 4×4 part does not interest me. But the LUVs have seen a resurgence and many younger people think they are cool as well as many of us old farts remember all the V8 and V6 conversions. I have a 2 wd LUV with a V8 drivetrain and while it was a simply fun exercise I never had any aspirations they were worth much. Just a death trap on wheels with not enough brakes for a V8 but it was loads of fun freaking people out. There is still a lot of cheap ones out there for the taking but they have a surprising rise in values and prices and are on the cusp of gettting valuable (Not quite but getting there) So,, dont toss this isn the scrap pile just yet. I know a lot of younger guys who drool over mine and I am in the process of letting my nephews have mine for Drag racing.

  16. Pappy2d

    How slow were they? I bought a new one in 74 or 75. The only car that I’ve driven that had less guts, was a 61 Falcon with a 144 under the hood. Both dangerously slow by today’s standards.

  17. kel

    also made in Australia by GM Holden , in Dandenong Melbourne , rare in australia but now getting new life with people putting Small block Chevs in them .

  18. charlie Member

    Brother in law had one, useful on the “farm” for short haul of stuff, like manure and lumber, but no guts, and rusted out almost everywhere in a very short time, but keep in mind that NH at the time used more salt per mile than any other state so the skiers and snowmobilers could get up here from Mass and spend money.

  19. CMARV

    If it were a diesel it would be even slower . Had one 25 or so years ago, it would coast down hill faster than it could pull itself . Thankfully an Amish family wanted it for the engine to run a refrigeration unit for their dairy . It was on it’s way to the scrap yard to be sold buy the pound .

  20. Oil Slick

    These were much more powerful and fun in like 1980. Real fun ripping around at the dealership.

  21. MikeK

    I had one. Was forever having to stop and reset the points. Even that wasn’t worth repairing.

  22. Bruce Fischer

    My ex father in law had one that was 4 wheel drive {back in N.J.} I never saw a truck rust out so quickly. Bruce.

  23. Rentalbarn

    I had a Luv Service truck with a utility body and a hitch. Occasionally It would tow a Bobcat skid steer loader. The biggest problem was the damper springs on the clutch plate would break. I became a wiz at changing clutches. If I recall Chevy crushed several thousand in Miami when they rusted away in a storage yard.

  24. Mike_B_SVT

    A light blue ’76 LUV was my first car (and truck!). Dad picked it up in the early 80’s with very low miles for very cheap from the original owner who had hardly driven it. Dad daily drove it for a few years until I was old enough to drive. He taught me how to drive stick on the LUV. When he was ready to turn over the keys to me, we pulled the head on it (with ISUZU prominently cast in the valve cover) and replaced a leaking head gasket.

    From there I drove it a few years and then spent a few weeks during the summer between my Jr & Sr years sanding it down before my Uncle resprayed it in the original light blue. Good times!
    We had acid etched it prior to painting, because even then the rockers showed pretty heavy pitting. Drove it another year before parking it and joining the Navy. After I being stationed back in the northwest a year or so later, it became my daily driver again until about 1990. By then the rockers were rusting through, and it was passed on to a younger buddy of mine as his first car / truck. I hear it lasted him a few more years before the rust finally consumed it and it was “retired”.

    Memories of that truck include… me being WAY to big for it at 6’2″. The bench seat only goes to the back of the cab, and then it is up to you to fold yourself into place!
    Power was low, as expected for the time. Going over Snowqualmie pass required the pedal at the floor for extended periods just to keep some semblance of speed.
    Also recall the only way to chirp the tires was by locking up the brakes when you came to a stop, LOL!

    Like 1

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