This Rare Isuzu Bighorn Has Driven 22,000 Miles Since 1989
To many late ‘80s and early ‘90s car buyers, the Isuzu Trooper SUV was just one of the pack—a name and a face amongst a burgeoning lineup of popular Toyota 4Runners, Nissan Pathfinders, and Jeep Cherokees, among others. Though somewhat unremarkable in appearance, they were indeed good, capable, and well-built workhorses, if a bit on the slow side. This particular Trooper-variant however is far from what you’d call “unremarkable.” In fact, it may be one of the best lookers to come out of the late ‘80s. This is a 1989 Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R, a Japanese domestic market sibling of the stalwart Trooper, with tuning and styling via Germany. What, Germany?! Yes, you heard right. RELATED: This 24-Mile DeLorean has Never Left Storage in its Life
The “Irmscher” in this Bighorn’s long name comes from Irmscher Automobilbau GmbH, a well-known German tuner of Opel vehicles. In the late ‘80s, Irmscher was enlisted by Isuzu to craft a special edition series of Bighorns, dressed to the nth degree with flashy features and off-road equipment. A few variants are said to have been built, including ’S’, ‘R’, and ‘G’ versions of the Bighorn/Trooper in both long- and short-wheelbase. This is one of long-wheelbase ‘R’ cars.
So what did Japanese customers get for their lots-and-lots-of-yen? Actually quite a lot. The Irmscher R treatment tacked on a racy hood scoop, pumped-up fender flares, a bull bar with fog lights, step rails, chunky mud flaps, and plenty of side decals with “Irmscher R” badging. And that’s just the eye-catching exterior mods.
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Irmscher also gave these Isuzu Bighorns new shocks and suspension components, which may come as a relief to those who’ve ridden in the older Troopers, or not. The engine in question here is Isuzu’s 4JB1 2.8-liter intercooled turbodiesel. It offered up a torquey 173 ft.-lb. of twist, but only 113 horsepower, funneled through a five-speed manual. Despite their racy looks, these were not rocket ships.
Inside things get quite swanky though. A pair of Recaro bucket seats greet both driver and front passenger, as does a classic Momo steering wheel, a very of-the-time inclinometer, thick heavy-duty floor mats, and power-everything.
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What’s particularly interesting about this Bighorn is the way it presents itself; “meticulously clean” would be an understatement. And though these special edition brutes were never sold on US shores, that didn’t stop this Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R from crossing the Pacific. It’s now up for grabs on eBay, and with a claimed 22,800 miles driven in the past 27 years.
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