Nicest One Left? 1986 Isuzu Trooper LS

As some of you may recall, I rescued a 1986 Isuzu Trooper two-door from a bramble bush on my friend’s property in Georgia a few years back. That project is still rolling along, and actually nearing a point of completion that hopefully means I can bring it home soon. Still, no matter the work that’s been done, it will never be as nice as this gorgeous 1986 Isuzu Trooper LS two-door listed here on eBay with bids approaching $8,000 and the reserve unmet. I felt like there was a good chance these iconic 80s SUVs would begin to appreciate as 4Runners and Range Rovers exceeded the grasp of most enthusiasts, and after several $10K+ auction results, I’d say my guess was right.

For me, as a child of the 80s, it’s not hard to see why these classic, boxy SUVs are catching the eye of enthusiasts and collectors alike. For people who grew up in a certain time and place, we all knew someone with a Trooper, whether it be a family member who used one to cut through the snow and muck, or a friend’s mom who picked up half the team from soccer practice in one. The trouble is, they became throwaway vehicles after a certain time, and both rust and some well-documented mechanical faults sent many of them to the junkyard. I can’t even find many Troopers in the yards I frequent that are well off the beaten path, which indicates just how long they’ve been largely extinct.

Of course, that’s not the case everywhere, as Georgia – where I found my Trooper and where this pristine example is located – has plenty of them. You can still find them in wrecking yards down there, and even a few still performing daily driving duties. The mountain country seems to be where they’ve survived best, both in terms of still being quite practical and due to drier climates protecting their sensitive sheetmetal. This example has just over 37,000 original miles and comes with the desirable LS interior, which featured a split-folding rear seat, cargo cover, upgraded fabric on the seats and door panels, and other trim enhancements, like a Quartz digital clock. The seller reports this Trooper was stored in a garage for 22 years.

The 2.3 liter gasoline engine has its fans and its critics, with the latter category citing its lack of power and tendency to eat headgaskets. Both of these issues are well documented, and while you won’t fix the speed issues with this model, the potential of needing to tackle a headgasket in the near future should at least be lower. The seller notes he has collected Troopers for years and that this is the last and best one from his collection. With original paint, a gorgeous interior, functional controls like A/C, and a supposed papertrail of documentation supporting the low mileage, there’s not much to not like here – other than the fact that my truck is nowhere as nice as this one is.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I never understood why Isuzu made the choice to pull out of the US market. I feel they left when SUV’s were taking off. They improved things with the first generation when they added the Chevy V6 to the lineup. That engine was fairly gutless as well but if you kept the intake manifold gaskets from eating the bottom end of the engine they would do 200K. I really liked the 2nd generation as did a lot of other people. They weren’t without fault but much more reliable than a Land Rover and they were a tough body on frame rig. I have a 2002 that I need to rebuild the GM 4L30 which was one of those weak points.

    Like 3
    • mike

      two words: General Motors

      Like 1
    • The_Driver

      Back around 1988, a 2nd cousin of mine got rid of the gutless 2.8 V6 for a 350. It became a 2WD only, but you couldn’t call that Trooper gutless anymore…

      Like 1
  2. Disco

    My dad had one of these from about 1999 to 2009. What I remember is that the A/C broke, it was carbureted and didn’t run well, and the windshield was completely flat, the glass was not at all curved.

    And the funniest thing. A bird pooped and the hood, and it wasn’t noticed for some days. My dad washed it off, and the poop removed the paint underneath it, down to the bare metal.

    It was a weird car.

  3. Connecticut mark

    These rotted away very fast here, same with 2 door explorers and 2 door pathfinders, almost all frames on these went before the 4 door models. Cheaper made or less thicker steel?

    Like 1
  4. Phlathead Phil

    Rust never sleeps! I wonder if the Tin Worm is related to the Japanese Metal Termite?

  5. Bob Member

    Bought one new in 1988. Daily driver for the next 12 years. Not fast but for me bulletproof. And it spent considerable time on four wheel beaches so the rust was why I passed it on.

  6. Jason

    In Australia we them Mitsubishi Pajeros. All good till the warranty ran out lol

    Like 1
  7. Jost

    Wow, that’s the nicest trooper I’ve seen since 1986! I always liked them but rusted to quickly

  8. DOUGLAS A HUNT

    i had an 86 trooper, loved that thing! unfortunately the rear cargo area rusted out.
    lots of hunting trips and just all winter snow driving memories.
    i went on to buy a 1993 loved it too, sold it to my brother.
    eventually bought a 1996 Toyota Landcruiser [FZJ80] still have it today

  9. John Klintz

    Didn’t understand the appeal of these back in the 80’s and still do not today. A big, slow, poorly engineered box. As an enthusiast, just what I would want. NOT!!

    Like 1

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