The Isuzu D-Max has been available on Aussie shores since 2008, but the model has a history as long and remarkable as any Hilux, Triton or Ranger. For your chance to win a D-Max X-Terrain and a pair of Kawasaki dirt bikes, grab a ticket in Mater Cars for Cancer Lottery No. 108.
I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited that Mater Cars for Cancer is giving away an Isuzu D-Max as an option in Lottery 108. I’ve had a soft spot for Isuzu products for a long time; they’ve proven throughout the ages that they’re robust, dependable, and reliable machines, albeit tinged with a hint of truck. Some of that has changed with the advent of the 2022 D-Max; it’s just as stout as it ever was, except now it’s as comfortable, safe and tech-savvy as the rest of the icons in its category.
When category alternatives are steeped in history, just think Hilux, Triton, Ranger, and Mazda B-series, it’s easy to overlook the apparent upstart Isuzu D-Max. After all, the D-Max was first released by then-newcomer Isuzu Ute Australia back in 2008, a blink of the eye in terms of ute history. But it goes way beyond the latter part of last decade; in fact, the roots of the Isuzu D-Max stretch all the way back to 1965 and, bizarrely enough, I own an example of that ute.
My very own Isuzu Wasp
Only 122 of the humble Isuzu Wasp were brought into Australia, and while it failed to make any kind of dent in the market at that time, it certainly wasn’t anything to do with reliability. My 1965 Isuzu Wasp, one of only around 40 with a style side tub, was a daily driver on Sydney streets for around 30 years, only seeing retirement in the mid-late 1990s. Bruce A Ruston Signwriters exists today, and the owner was an apprentice back in the Isuzu Wasp days. He recalls with relish the unstoppable nature of their beloved Isuzu Wasp ute.
This is anecdotal, but I was told my Isuzu went nine times around the clock with only a single engine rebuild before being parked up, hauling signwriting gear during the week and having a cage fitted on the weekends to haul the owner’s veal calves to market. Judging by how dented the bed is in my Wasp, I’d say that story is true! But time marches on and by the mid-1990s, a cramped, slow, and ultimately agricultural ute could easily be replaced by an Isuzu-made Holden Rodeo, no matter how reliable it was over the preceding 30 years.
Chevy LUV taken at All Japan Day. Photo credit: Stella Carey (age 6)
Between the Wasp and the Rodeo was another little ute called the Chevrolet LUV. Despite the American name, the LUV was again built by Isuzu in Japan, was sold over there as the Isuzu Faster and was a direct replacement for the Wasp. Marketed through Holden dealers here in Australia, the Chevy LUV has become something of a legend of mini trucking, with their attrition mostly due to rust rather than anything untoward mechanically. And wouldn’t you know it? I happen to have one of those as well.
Tracing a direct lineage back to the Chevy LUV and Isuzu Wasp, the new D-Max is certainly dripping in ute history. Gone are the tiny petrol motors, cramped cabins and tinges of truck, replaced by a 3.0 litre turbo diesel donk, state-of-the-art 4×4 system, 3.5 tonne towing capacity and luxuries like premium black leather and a nine-inch infotainment system. It’s time for Mater Cars for Cancer ticket buyers to have the chance to benefit from Isuzu’s credibility, reliability, and experience, so purchase yourself a ticket in Lottery 108 today.
The ‘go fast’ area of the latest Lottery 108 is in the other portion of the prize. The Kawasaki KX450 dirt bike is one of the world’s truly great rides, with Kawasaki having garnered more motocross and supercross championships than any manufacturer. The KX450 has a 449cc four-stroke motor and electric start, so it’s both pokey and convenient as you low-fly over the wilderness.
Finding a place to ride legally can sometimes be a hassle, but with the D-Max and the three-bike trailer that comes along with it all, you can load up your two prize Kawasaki KX450s, grab a mate’s bike as well and hit the highway as a team. Ride parks are scattered across the nation, so it pays to do some Googling, offering rural paths in varying degrees of difficulty, from a gentle nature trail to a full-blown motocross track for some serious air time.
If you’ve won the bikes and have friends with land, then maybe it’s time to hit them up for a session. One of my mates bought a waterless, powerless, viewless property in regional SA expressly for the purpose of fanging around dirt bikes, and it’s a ripper. He’s careful, too; everyone wears helmets, and everyone goes in the same direction. His main rule is, dig out any rocks you find on the track. He’s been doing it for 10 years and he’s now got a pretty smooth track. If only I had a pair of dirt bikes and a modern Isuzu to fling around there. Wait a second…time to buy a ticket.
With a prize pool that includes the option to win a Toyota Prado and Coromal caravan should you wish to go far or win a D-Max and a pair of dirt bikes should you wish to go fast; couple this with cashable gold bullion, and it’s the perfect prize valued at $300k. Just how perfect is up to you. Given I own eight vintage Isuzu products and have their logo tattooed on my arm, there’s no real doubt what I’d choose. As for you, better make up your mind before the winner is drawn.