It takes a special type of person to build an Isuzu Spacecab. It's one of the holy grails of minitruckin' what with the rarity of the vehicle in general, plus the mammoth amount of extra room placed behind the rear seats. But in the tiny sub-scene of Spacecab builders, there's an even smaller group that goes with the '86-'87 models—the second gen Isuzus with the flat grille and Chevrolet LUV styling. That's where Johnathon Cobb fits in, just like a square peg in a round hole.
There's a reason why people don't build these trucks. They're hard to find for one, as the Chevy LUV soared in popularity while the P'up sat on showroom floors. But for Johnathon, his interest came from his family. When he was just 15, his grandfather passed down an Isuzu P'up to the future minitrucker, and two years later it was lowered and kissing the concrete. As they say, it was all downhill from there.
Johnathon built other things along the years including a few fullsize and lifted trucks, but he always seems to find himself coming back to the Isuzus. The decision was made recently to conquer the rarest of rare models of Spacecab, the '86-'87. See, Isuzu only produced these trucks in limited runs, probably because of the funky roof and adjusted construction process, so there aren't many on the road today. Finding this truck was going to be difficult, but then he told his friend Cris Collins about the concept, and he revealed that he had one that his father had given him. It was a one-owner truck, and it was parked with a blown motor—perfect for what Johnathon was looking for. Problem was, Cris wasn't selling it.
After what seemed like forever, a deal was finally reached between the pair: Johnathon traded Cris straight across for a Mazda pickup, and the Spacecab was towed home. Then the work began.
The motor was swapped out for something that worked, and then he just drove it, enjoying the truck for what it was. After lowering it, then bagging the truck, things snowballed into a paintjob and bodywork. By Spring Fling 2008, it was good to go and taking trophies.
But like most projects, Johnathon figured it was time to move on, so he did, selling the truck to Trent Scarborough. On his end, Trent installed a new interior and took pretty good care of the truck, but eventually he sold it to a member of Freaks of Nature named Dave, who promptly blew up the second motor. After tracking down the truck, Johnathon decided he wanted it back and took it off Dave's hands. It was time to get crackin' yet again.
Flash to December of 2011, and Johnathon is the middle rebuilding the truck, first with the bodydrop then with new paint, bodywork and interior. After a lot of late nights, the truck was finished off just in time for the Relaxed Atmosphere show in 2012 where it took home honors for best interior.
Owners of Spacecabs are a special breed, as Johnathon proves. Not only will they go all out to build their trucks, they'll even do it twice, as was the case here. So what's next for the truck? Chances are pretty good that Johnathon will sell the Isuzu to someone, that way he can move on to another project. But one day, he'll be sitting in front of the television when he remembers The Scab and all it's meant to him. That will be the day that he does some research, finds the new owner and gives him some cash so he can have his Isuzu back.
And we'll be looking forward to see what he does with it the third time around.
Owner: Johnathon Cobb
Ride: 1986 Isuzu Spacecab
Hometown: Phenix City, AL
18x7 Boyd Coddington Nemesis
Toyota drop spindles, Heim joint tie rod ends, Slam Specialties 'bags
Triangulated four-link, 'bags on bars, Slam Specialties 'bags,
Custom built upper and lower control arms with screw-in ball joints, new upper mounts
Monroe Sensa Trac
Two three-gallon tanks, eight GC valves
Recessed pocket for 'bag clearance, round rear notch
New steering linkage with U-joints
4¼-inch with dropped seat pans
Molded roll pan, molded Eagle Talon hood bubble
Stock mirrors, rare embossed Isuzu tailgate
Bed raised, tubbed and lined
Jason Heider and owner
Colors: DuPont Dodge Viper Red, Obsidian Black, silver effect
Scallops on the hood
Jason Heider and owner
Stock Isuzu recovered, red leather and houndstooth, modified mounts to lower the seat
'63 Ford Galaxy 500 dash narrowed 7 inches, capped ends, new stainless insert with vintage AC controls
Isuzu gauges recessed behind Ford Galaxy cluster
Black carpet, everything else either red leather or paint, sound deadener in the whole interior, interior panels welded shut
Owner and Freeman's Upholstery
Clarion CD player
Highs: Four 4-inch speakers
Three Audiobahn 10-inch subs
Audiobahn Flame Series
Fiberglass box with amp rack
Pace Setter header, Magnaflow cat, stock-style muffler
Engine, firewall, and core support painted to match exterior
Motor out of a '95 model fuel injected Isuzu truck, electric pump, stainless steel fuel cell by Cris Collins
Special Thanks From Owner
Thanks to my soon-to-be-wife Kristin (the wet sanding-interior specialist), my parents Richie and Carol for their encouragement and patience, Jason Heider, Cris "blacksmith" Collins, Russell "bodydroppedMF'nspacecab" Crase, Jerry "find rare trim" Drake, Jumbo "always in the background shot" Cauthen, and all my friends for the push and harsh talkin' to's and anyone who helped along the way. You are not forgotten. Thank you all!"