Rare Rides: The 1994 Isuzu Trooper That’s Bighorn and Irmscher

Rare Rides featured Isuzu vehicles on four previous occasions, and all of them were from the Seventies or Eighties.

Today we switch it up a bit and present an Isuzu from the Nineties. Ready for Irmscher?

The Isuzu Trooper entered production in 1981, and like almost all SUVs of the period was a basic and utilitarian way to get from A to B with no road between. The Trooper wore many different brand and model badges, as Isuzu boss General Motors ensured it had as wide a spread as possible. The Trooper was available in different configurations throughout its life as a Honda, Opel, Vauxhall, Holden, Acura, SsangYong, and Subaru.

Trooper’s first generation lasted through 1991 when the truck was replaced for the 1992 model year by a more modern, more luxurious Trooper. In addition to more standard equipment, Trooper was now considerably larger and more powerful. Chrome accents appeared everywhere, alloy wheels brought two-tone paint schemes more upscale, and some models sprouted headlamp wipers like fancy European cars.

Second-gen Troopers were powered by inline-four diesel engines, or three different V6 mills that ranged in displacement from 3.2- to 3.5-liters. A five-speed manual was the preferred transmission in most markets, but North American examples were largely equipped with an overstressed GM four-speed automatic. Isuzu also made the unwise decision not to sell the seven-passenger version Trooper in North America, though it was available in most other markets.

Like the first generation, two- and four-door body styles were initially available on the second Trooper. The shorter version proved unpopular in North America, and it was discontinued after 1995. 1996 brought along the extra luxurious Acura SLX version, and a visual refresh for 1998 modernized the Trooper a bit: It wore a revised front clip and new wheels. Trooper lived on through 2002 before cancellation. Domestically it was replaced by the relatively bad Isuzu Axiom and the relatively bad GMT-360 Isuzu Ascender. Poor Isuzu.

Along the way, a select few Bighorn (RHD branding) examples of both Trooper generations were modified by German tuning company Irmscher. Largely a visual edit, Bighorns received branded tape stripes, tire covers, and color match monoblock wheels on the outside. The interior featured stripy Recaro seats, an Irmscher steering wheel, and nothing else. Today’s 1994 example uses the 3.1-liter turbodiesel engine that wasn’t available in the US, paired with an automatic. It sold at a dealer in Seattle recently.

[Images: Isuzu]

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