It’s Valentine’s Day! A day where we celebrate romantic love in whatever form it takes, between you and your partner(s), you and your cars, two insurance adjusters, or, yes, between a car website and the lovely, witty readers who come back, day after day. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the latter is the most powerful love of all, one that has inspired more embarrassing poems and acoustic-guitar songs than all other forms combined.
To celebrate this potent, humid love, let’s take a moment to consider the only car model I can think of named for this most potent of emotions: the Chevy Luv. Well, it’s named after some weird, saccharine variant of the emotion, like what wust is to lust. Anyway, it’s the best we have.
I suppose really the Chevy Luv was named for the acronym of Light Utility Vehicle, but that doesn’t change the fact that once, at one time long ago, Chevy was secure enough to sell a pickup truck with the name Luv, something that feels absolutely impossible today. It’s far more likely that Chevy would introduce a truck called the Stalker or Murderer than the Luv today, and I’ll leave what that means to hapless Cultural Anthropology PhD students desperately trying to think of a thesis to explore. You’re welcome.
The Luv was actually a captive import, based on the Isuzu Faster pickup truck, a handsome and rational little pickup truck with nice, practical proportions and all sorts of small Japanese ’70s pickup truck charm and details, like all those tie-down cleats under the lip of the bed, on the sides. I always loved those.
Mechanically, this was a very conventional, missionary-style sort of Luv, front engine, rear drive, leaf springs, nothing exotic: a big truck scaled down. Still, it filled a much-needed hole in Chevy’s truck lineup, especially during the Oil Crisis years.
Hey, let’s watch some Luv commercials!
There was even a four-wheel-drive Luv, and this commercial makes it look like a pretty good time:
Anyway, lots of love and Luv to everyone. We can’t do this without you, and you’re appreciated.
what’s even more interesting about the KB/LUV is that it’s based on the Isuzu Florian sedan. pretty much all of the sheet metal from the B pillar forward is straight off a well-mannered family car.
There is another vehicle that sounds like an emotion – the Nissan NV cargo vehicles.
Even getting a rugged offroader called the Amigo seems absurd now like 20 years after it went out of production. Ostensibly cheap and cheerful stuff now get names like Maverick and Renegade.
The LUV is what I learned to drive with. I had the fortune to grow up on a 600 acre estate, replete with apple orchards, my own self-made driving range, a waterfall for those “romantic” days in high school and all sorts of dirt roads running through it. My Dad was the gardener on the estate, and as such, he was provisioned a truck to do his job. They bought the LUV new in 1982, and by the time Id reached 13 (1990) the bed had rusted out, and Dad built a wooden bed to replace it (but that also meant it no longer had plates, so it was a “farm only” vehicle.
Our house was about a quarter mile away from the barn it was parked in, and every night at 5 PM, Dad would drive the truck down to our back door – another long day in the books. He would say “can you go park the tuck for me?” I was 13 when this started, so of course I was eager to oblige. He never asked why it took me a half hour to park the truck and walk the quarter mile back home. I mean, with the 2 liter, 4 cylinder diesel making 82 hp it WAS pretty slow, but not THAT slow.