Bart: Isuzu Addict – 1
[bd] Introduce yourself. Where are you located, what do you do for a living? (It’s nice to show the world that you don’t have to be Ken Block or Tom Cruise to have a nice set of wheels, ya know?)
[bw] My name is Bart, and I am a computer tech living in Reno, NV since 2006.
[bd] Tell me about the Isuzus – particularly the VX. I understand you’ve had/got a few. What is it about the Isuzus that keeps you coming back?
[bw] The first Isuzu I ever drove was a 1994 Isuzu Trooper. At the time, my father had a job selling Isuzus for a short while, and my family ended up with two Troopers, both the 1994 and then a 1996. The 1996 stayed with my mother for 18 years, before she recently replaced it with a nice 2001 Trooper. So this was my first taste of Isuzu. However it wasn’t until much later that I became an Isuzu geek.
The first car I ever bought as an adult was a 2000 Nissan Xterra. It was a nice SUV, and served me well until I was in an accident with it while driving to work one day. After the Xterra was repaired, it was never quite the same, and I am embarrassed to admit I neglected the maintenance after that and ultimately blew it up. This was in the spring of 2006.
Now, for the most part, I hate modern cars. They all look the same and lack character. So I was pretty depressed when my Xterra died and I was faced with buying another vehicle. That is, until my wife reminded me of the Isuzu VehiCROSS. I had seen one in the past, and I really liked it, but never thought I could own one. That changed quickly, when we found two for sale locally.
The first VehiCROSS I drove was a 1999 Astral with the red and black interior. I was immediately hooked. As any VX owner will tell you, it’s hard to explain, but there is just something about driving a VX that is like nothing else. At that moment, I knew I didn’t just want a VX, I needed one. But the Astral was a bit on the neglected side, and I really wanted a black VX anyhow. So, I bought the next VX I drove, which was a 2001 Ebony with 25,000 miles.
The rest is history, as they say. I drove that VX for three years, all over Nevada and California and to Moab, Utah, twice for the annual Moab ZuZu gathering of Isuzu 4x4s. The VX is a blast and hands down the coolest vehicle I have and will likely ever own.
Coolness doesn’t always mean practical. And in the case of the VX, it does lack a few things that make it ideal for camping and outdoor adventure. Mainly, space and four doors. That, combined with the fact that I really wanted to stop driving my VX so hard, lead me to seek out something bigger with four doors I could use as my main camping and wheeling rig. So naturally, I started looking at Troopers.
I had seen a few 1st generation Troopers on the forums that appealed to me. As much as I do like the 2nd gens, the 1st gens have that classic old school “box on wheels” look that I am really attracted to for some reason. They are utilitarian to the core, and that is exactly what I was looking for. So in 2009 I picked up my second Isuzu, a 1991 Trooper.
I had full intentions to use it as a rough and tough wheeling rig, and I did just that. I never expected to like the old Trooper so much, but that is exactly what happened. They are great rigs, with loads of capability and cargo space, and most of all, character. And lets not forget they are cheap to get into.
After I bought the Trooper, I pretty much became a full fledged Isuzu addict. One day, sitting at work, I saw an old Isuzu Impulse for sale on Craigslist at a local used car lot. I was bored, so I decided to give it a drive on my lunch break. Again, I was hooked. I had to have an Impulse.
A couple months later, a one owner 1987 special edition arrived in my garage. I drove it for a while, then did a complete mechanical restore, which took me a few years to complete. Last year I took it to the Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, California, and took home an award for the car.
In the meantime, I have gone through a few different 1st gen Troopers, with the goal of finding and owning the nicest examples I can. I parted out my original 1991 and I now own a rare 1989 Isuzu Trooper RS (one year only short wheel base) and another 1991 Isuzu Trooper I bought from the original owners out of Chico, California, in 2013.
Just last month, I reluctantly sold my original VehiCROSS to a fellow club member, but only after buying an identical 2001 Ebony in bone stock, showroom condition with only 26,000 miles. I always planned to fully restore my first VehiCROSS, but when the opportunity to own an almost “new” condition VehiCROSS in 2014, I could not pass it up! So I now own what I like to think is one of the cleanest, nicest Isuzu VehiCROSSes in the country, along with what I like to think is one of the nicest surviving examples of the gen1 Isuzu Impulse, paired with two really cool old school Isuzu Troopers.
To be continued…
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