Rust-Free 1986 Isuzu P’up Turbo Diesel 4×4

This 1986 Isuzu P’up Turbo Diesel 4×4 pickup has a big presence despite being several feet shorter than a modern full-sized pickup. I sure wish that someone would make a small pickup again, the new “small” ones are almost as big as full-sized trucks used to be. The seller has it listed here on eBay in Lubbock, Texas. There is a $7,750 buy-it-now price listed or you can make an offer.

This is a second-generation Isuzu “Faster” as they were known in the Japanese market but they were also available in North America as the P’up (short for pickup) beginning for the 1981 model year. General Motors, which owned about 1/3 of Isuzu, brought the Faster to North America as the Chevy LUV beginning in 1972. After Chevrolet introduced the S-10 at the end of 1982, GM stopped importing the Faster but Isuzu offered them as the P’up beginning in 1981 for the North American market.

Being a southern New Mexico truck since new, this one has no rust on it according to the seller. You can see that it’s far from being perfect but for those of us in the Northeast or upper-Midwest, hearing the words no-rust is about as good as it gets. It’s well-used for sure with some dings and scratches, but you most likely will never see another one, especially a 4×4 turbo diesel.

The interior isn’t the cleanest space this side of Neptune. I would maybe, oh I don’t know, have cleaned it up a bit first. Call me crazy, I know. I’m kidding the seller, it’s probably as clean as it can get without a lot of deep-detailing and it’s certainly tidy and vacuumed more than a lot of interiors that we see here are. It’s probably more faded from the New Mexico sun than anything. This one has a 5-speed manual transmission.

There are innumerable YouTube videos showing how to detail the hell out of vehicle interiors and I have to believe that a few hours spent on this truck would have brought more money for the seller, maybe even their asking price. I could be wrong but I think this may be the same seller who had the mind-blowing restored turbo diesel 2WD P’up that we saw last summer here on Barn Finds? Maybe not, but seeing another 1986 Isuzu P’up turbo diesel pickup for sale in Lubbock, Texas would be quite a coincidence. They only made them for one year, 1986.

The engine is Isuzu’s C223T, a 2.2L inline-four turbo diesel, and here’s a YouTube video of the seller starting it. That’s a great sound. The seller recently spent $2,500 on a new injection pump, new belts including a timing belt, a full-service front-to-rear, and new fluids. It also has a new battery and new tires. It sure sounds and looks like a great truck to me. Have any of you owned an Isuzu P’up?


  1. rex m

    “I sure wish that someone would make a small pickup again, the new “small” ones are almost as big as full-sized trucks used to be.” – that’s right –
    my 2006 Tacoma Prerunner’s interior is almost as large as my 2000 Tundra’s!

    Like 4
    • Skorzeny

      The only truck I can think of is the Honda, which I really like, but I think consumers would respond well to a semi-retro version of both the Toyota and Nissan/Datsun pickup. Build it with a bench seat, manual climate controls (no damn touchscreen, you can shove that) and manual windows. Put a turbo 4 cylinder in it maybe, and a diesel. I would love that. Why don’t they build it???

      Like 8
      • pigneguy

        cos electric is the way to go!
        I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of a small pickup tho’. So much easier with the older, lower beds to haul a motorcycle into.

        Like 1
      • Bill Hall

        Money, not enough sales to justify spending the money to build. If you don’t a fancy tricked out PU now you are Nothing.

      • Francisco

        Because of the Chicken Tax.

  2. Car Nut Tacoma

    I remember when Isuzu made pickup trucks (P’up) like this. I also remember when for too short a time, Isuzu also offered their trucks with the option of a diesel engine, and/or a turbo diesel engine. I consider it a damn travesty that neither engine are available.

    Like 3
  3. Skorzeny

    pigneguy, if I want an electric car/truck, I’ll buy an R/C car. I would NEVER drive one.

    Like 3
  4. Bernie

    I’ve owned two Isuzu P’uPs, both of them longed diesels. Without a turbo they were super slow, maybe even dangerously slow, but they just kept on going and going. In mixed driving they delivered 27 mpg and on the highway nearly 40. Rust on the passenger floor was a problem on one of them. The water entered at the windshield seal and collected on the floor under it. The firewall on one, where the clutch cable went through it, got torn apart, too. But that’s it.

    Like 1
  5. Maestro1 Member

    I have some experience with Isuzu diesels and they were all terrific and very slow.

    Like 1
  6. G Lo

    There is no such thing as a “rust free” ANYTHING automotive that was manufactured in Japan back in the ‘80s, regardless of where it has spent its life. Their steel industry was putting out very poor quality materials, and the corrosion control in use was ineffective at best.

  7. G Lo

    No way is this thing rust free, regardless of where it has spent its life. 80s Japanese automobiles were ferrous oxide waiting to happen.

  8. Kenneth

    If I remember the years correctly, In 1992, I bought a new 1987 Chevy LUV diesel (not a turbo, not 4×4) that had been warehoused – in the sun – by the seller for 5 years. It was red and the paint was faded. I think I paid about $7000 for it (which is close to the current asking price on this used example that has 100K miles on it). It was reliable.
    For a while, I had a drop-in camper unit in the bed and drove it from Nashville to the Florida coast. Yes, it was slow.
    From 1995-1998 it suffered first through very harsh Minnesota winters and then, from 98 on, Indiana winters, and rust became a problem. I gave it away around 2004 to a family friend for a teenager’s first vehicle and, mechanically, it still had a lot of life left in it.
    With about 100k miles on it, I would guess that this one still has a lot of life left, too.

    Like 1
  9. JEFF S.

    I purchased a new 1981 Isuzu I-Mark sedan with the Diesel I4. It was a great little sedan and 45 mpg on level ground was possible. But, with just 58 HP it was under powered, and you were right there with the big rigs on any kind of grade. I put 104,000 miles on it, before my wife put gasoline in the tank in 1987, and it blew every seal in the motor. I drained the tank and refilled it with Diesel fuel, it started and ran, but oil was running out of the oil pan gasket. Sold it to a mechanic, for $400 and he fixed it for his girlfriend. But, he told me it was the worst car he had ever worked on. The drive shaft went out, it was a sealed unit, only available through the dealer, $600 back in 1987.
    The 96 HP P’UP might be fun to drive, but not for $7,500, if anything major happens. There are a lot better PUs that you can find today, for that kind of money. IMHO.

    Like 2
  10. chrlsful

    wuz it this co or nissan who made the Scout’s diesel (SDxxx?, 3.2 1st yr, 3.3 another B4 quitting). USA folks complain of ‘too slo” (late 70s/early ’80s) chevy Luv, ford Corrier, chevette, even the bent8 that kept blowin up in a buddie’s Olds.
    Europe luvs em (1, 1+L). Small diesels will die (R doing so now) very quickly tho. Lrg diesels will go on for nother 10 yrs? but in trains, big equip. I wanna 2.5 – 3L turbo to repower a 1/4 to 3/4T off rd rec vehicle (class 1 lght truck).

    They advanced technologically (removed sulpher = several quick advances after that) but have hit a wall on NO2 and particulates (is it “PM2”?). We will not B saved by diesel, EV seems destined for that role (for now). Will hydrogen fuel cell B nxt?

    This lill NM model would suit my purpose very well, just needs a ‘topper’ (would also like 4 speed auto) 3, 4K$ ? No, guess not … bye~

  11. Steve Lindsey

    Good trucks but slow as heck.

  12. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this Isuzu has been relisted for $9,750! A $2,000 bump in price. Hmm…

  13. thomas carson

    I owned an Isuzu P’UP i think it was spacecab nothing fancy like this 4×4 diesel wow but i couldnt imagine it being worth that even to a “collector” in that shape.

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