Painted or Preserved? 1979 Chevrolet Luv Pickup – SOLD!
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April 24, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
While Jeep coined the term “SUV” when it launched the first-generation Cherokee, Chevrolet gets credit for adding the term “LUV” (short for “Light Utility Vehicle”) when it launched a brand engineered version of Isuzu’s KB-series pickup for the American market. Once fairly common on American roads during the 1970s, most either have been driven to the ground or simply fell victim to rust. This 1979 Chevrolet LUV originally listed in March 2022 on Craigslist in Kershaw, South Carolina appears to be so well preserved that it’s hard to believe this truck has not been restored. The seller’s brief description indicates it’s a one-owner truck with only 117K miles traveled. With a painted pickup bed that looks brand new and never used, we find it hard to believe this LUV has not been repainted, but you’ll need to confirm with the seller.
Currently offered for $9,500, comparing that price against the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask exceeds this Guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $8,900. As a second data point, there are there three two-wheel-drive LUVs sold on Bring a Trailer in the past year for an average of about $8,100. Hopefully, the seller is open to negotiation based upon this fact-based data.
Seeing the rise of minitruck sales offered by Datsun, Toyota, and Ford’s Mazda-sourced Courier, Chevrolet turned to General Motors Japanese subsidiary to offer a US version of its KB-series Faster pickup from 1972 through 1978 marketed as the LUV, which was short for “Light Utility Vehicle.” Import pickup trucks were subject at the time to the Federal government’s twenty-five percent tariff, better known as the “Chicken Tax” that remains in place to this day. Chevrolet leveraged a loophole in the law where it imported LUVs as a cab chassis configuration. Following the import, Chevrolet attached truck beds to the imported LUV cab-chassis, which Chevy could then sell as light-duty trucks subject to only a four percent tariff.
The Chevrolet LUV used a traditional steel ladder frame pickup truck chassis. Available only as a two-wheel-driver version initially, the front suspension featured independent A-Arms while the rear featured traditional leaf springs. Chevrolet offered two wheelbase versions: the standard 102-inch version equipped with a 73.0-inch long cargo bay was the most popular. For the 1977 model year, Chevrolet started offering a 117.9-inch long-wheelbase version fitted with a 90.2-inch long bed. The only engine offered was a 75 horsepower 1.8-liter SOHC inline-four.
The LUV’s exterior was updated slightly for the 1974 model year, but the first major update came in the 1976 model year when a three-speed automatic transmission option and front disc brakes were added. Power was up to 80 hp for 1977, and sales continued to rise. The big news for 1979 was the addition of four-wheel drive, making it the first minitruck to offer the option in the U.S.
The Emulsion Alchemist YouTube Channel features this 1979 Chevrolet LUV Dealer Promotional Film:
What we can’t get over is how clean this 1979 Chevrolet LUV is. It’s hard to tell from the pictures provided, but if this turns out to be an unrestored example that has been well preserved, this could very well be the nicest LUV left.
Here’s the seller’s brief description:
“1979 Luv Chevrolet
Preserved or Painted: Which do you think this Chevrolet LUV is? Please comment below and let us know!