Rare Rockhopper: 1992 Diahatsu Rocky – SOLD?
AUGUST 16, 2020 – The Craigslist ad used for this post expired, so with no replacement found, we’re calling this one “Sold!”
When it comes to trucks practically built for island living or at least pretending like you live on one, few are better at it than the Diahatsu Rocky. Most enthusiasts aren’t even aware that Diahatsu sold vehicles in the United States, and only a few lingering reminders are still in active, road-going use – like this 1992 model listed on Craigslist in Washington, D.C. with 135,000 miles on the clock and its rare hard top still attached for a reasonable price of $6,500. Now, these little Suzuki Samurai alternatives are so incredibly hard to find that most major pricing guides don’t even list it, but according to the NADA price guide for older vehicles, a mint condition Rocky should clock in at $3,600. However, given that doesn’t account for the rarity, I’m not willing to call the price unrealistic just yet.
The Rocky was one of two vehicles Diahatsu briefly sold in the U.S. market, with the other being the low-buck sedan known as the Charade (horrible name for a company hoping to be taken seriously). The Rocky was a very simple formula, consisting of a small four-cylinder engine capable of generating a roiling 103 horsepower, depending on where you lived and which engines were available. A manual gearbox was standard but an Asin automatic was optional; of the available automatics of the era, Asin built some pretty good units, and neither option was particularly fast, so I wouldn’t panic if you can only find the auto box among the limited Rockys still on the road. The Rocky was not a big seller in the states, perhaps due to a lingering hangover from Consumer Reports’ worrisome dialog about the tendency of the Suzuki Samurai to flip over. Regardless, it’s a totally rad SUV (a real one, at that) by any measure you wish to use.
Details are extremely limited in the listing, but fortunately, the pictures tell a pretty good story. This is the preferred manual transmission model, and the body looks quite good in the pictures – it’s certainly not spent a lot of time beating back brambles and bushes in the thick of an off-road excursion. The interior is also super clean, and given how cheaply these were constructed, keeping one of these cabins in decent shape is an accomplishment in and of itself. While the nameplate may be long departed from our shores, these were truly global vehicles and you can still find spares in other countries with relative ease. Throw in the optional factory hardtop and you have a quirky, rare 4×4 that is worth the asking price if the running condition is sound. If you need an SUV in your life that few have even seen in the flesh, get in touch with the seller – and good luck with the potential purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“92 Rocky 4X4 5 speed with both hardtop and soft top 135000 miles.“
Do you have a Diahatsu Rocky story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!