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The first Isuzu Wasp manufactured in 1963.

Isuzu celebrates 80 years of heritage


What is seen and experienced in the latest generation Isuzu KB-bakkies is a track record of dedication, precise engineering and love for the brand.
This year Isuzu is celebrating eight decades of real experience in building bakkies that are tough and reliable while still offering style and comfort at an affordable price.
The legendary bakkie started in 1937 when a company named Tokyo Automobile Industries was officially established but renamed as Isuzu Motors Limited 12 years later in 1949. A year later Isuzu developed Japan’s first V8 water-cooled diesel engine while the first Isuzu bakkie, the Wasp was launched in 1963.
The Wasp featured an all-steel box-chassis and body frame,and was produced in pick-up and flatbed body styles. The Wasp was offered with the 1 325cc G130 petrol engine and the 1 764cc C180 diesel engine.
In 1972 the second bakkie, Faster made its debut to the market. The Faster was succeeded worldwide by Isuzu D-Max except in North America.
In 1979 the first KB range was introduced to the South African market. The KB range soon became an icon among buyers in the local market and the second KB range was launched in 1981 followed by the third in 1989, fourth in 1997, fifth in 2004 and the sixth in 2013.
Four years after the launch of the third generation KB, Isuzu launched its first double cab in 1993.
Isuzu soon started to bag some awards and was announced the best selling one-ton bakkie for the second year in a row in 1997.
A year later Isuzu introduced the popular five door wagon, the Frontier with nine years later, after the launch of the fifth generation a major facelift brought common rail diesel technology for improved power and efficiency.
In 2010 Isuzu proved itself by setting new records at the 72-hour Endurance Challenge in several distance categories. At the end of the challenge the leading KB 300 D-TEQ bakkie had completed 12 243 km at an average speed of 170 km/h smashing the previous distance record by 722 km. The
KB 250 D-TEQ fared equally well by beating the previous class record of
11 024 km by 471 km with a new record distance of 11 495 km.
In 2011 the Isuzu Off-Road Academy was launched creating the ultimate training ground for anyone wanting to sharpen their off-road driving skills.
Isuzu’s Midnite Special Edition, limited to 500 units became Isuzu’s fastest seller in 2014. A year after Isuzu launched the Serengeti Special Edition, also limited to 500 units, and built on the reputation and popularity of its predecessor
Today Isuzu offers a bakkie in single, extended and double cab with real style, comfort, value and class-leading technology perfect to tackle any off-road terrain.

Story: RC Myburgh

Today a much more attractive bakkie equipped with top technological features.