ok... first off, as some of u may know, i own a 68 Bellett GT, a 67 Wasp pick up, and a 67 Bellett sedan, but i've also owned a couple of other Belletts in the past as well as having been involved in the rebuild/resto of a few more, and i've also spent god-alone knows who much time and money researsching these things over the nearly 20 years that i've been around them, so i think (without sounding like a "know-it-all") i'd have a better idea about the pre-gm isuzu products than most on here, so i'd like to set some stories straight.
i dont mean or wish to offend anyone here with what i'm writing, but it seems that they are alot of theories running around without many facts attached to these theories.
also, this post might seem a bit fragmented, but i'm just reading down the the thread as i go to clear these posts up.
for the record, the forum issue doesn't concern me at all, simply as there are (in my honest opinion) pros and cons each way.
if there was a separate forum, as has been said, there wouldn't be enough traffic on it to warrant the work. opposite to that, the separate forum would give isuzu owners there "own" place to congregate. i have read in here that there are isuzu-dedicated forums about, which is true, but show me a bellett-related one in english, and i'll join it. also, using the "other forum" comment is a bit strange, as there are many more datsun/toyota/etc. forums than isuzu ones about, so by this reasoning, why have these separate datsun/toyota/etc. ones here as well??
leaving it as it is means that the isuzu products are mixed with other makes, which means that sometimes the isuzu cars get lost amongst the rest, but the same can be said for the other makes in the same forum also. opposite again, i like the fact that not too many people know what my cars are, due to very little recognition, and standing out from the crowd of 1600's/240z's/corolla's/celica's/etc is a good thing to turn some heads at car events.
i find that comments like "limited cars with limited appeal" to be very untrue. each person has a liking to something, and personally, i find most datsuns a bit boring. 1600's and 240z's were all the rage 15 years ago, and everyone had one. now the same can be said for the later skyline's. don't get me wrong, they are good cars, but they all seem to be the same and their owners follow the same trends as the other guys who own them as well.
i realise that most early japanese cars have good points, as 99% of us do, but i think that the good points of the bellett are missed in all this, simply because nobody knows enough about them as they do with the main stream makes.
after all, the bellett was offered in 17 different variants over the 10 years they were built, not including the 3 different pick up's and 2 different station wagon's (estate's) that were available too. the bellett was sold with an IRS 5 years before the datsun 1600, which has been a big attraction to the 1600 owners for years and years. the bellett GT was the first japanese car sold with a genuine GT badge and personna, first sold over 12 months before the prince skyline GT. the bellett has a double a-arm front suspension with rack and pinion steering, which is still the prefered set up for race cars, as opposed to struts and steering boxes like most others back then as well as today. the bellett GT-R was a real race car for the road, with a DOHC engine and the rest of the good race stuff, was totally dominant in japan touring/saloon car racing when new and some credit the bellett GT-R's dominance for prompting datsun to build the skyline GTR to combat it, and used the GT-R (with the "-" included) name decades before honda had even thought of it.
the bellett, especially the GT's and GT-R's, still have a big following in japan as a result, and are gaining alot more popularity around the rest of the world as the all of the classic japanese cars are finally being noticed as real classics, instead of odditys from the 1960's and 70's. as a point, i know of about 30 (yes, 30!!) more bellett's and wasp's that have surfaced here in australia alone, over the hundreds that i knew of before, in the last 3 years from the new interest in them, and about half of them have been or are being restored at the moment, with more to go over the next couple of years.
what i'm getting at here is that "appeal" works differently for all, and how boring would the car scene be if we all had the same thing.
gm had no involvement in anything isuzu did before 1973. the bellett was built between 63 and 73, and was removed when gm came into the picture so that they could build the gemini. even though the very first of the gemini's were badged as a "bellett-gemini", the 2 cars are completely different in practically every way. the misleading info about the realtionship of the 2 is created because the even though the bellett and the gemini were built one after the other and share the isuzu name, they share less than 1% of parts between them. engine, gearbox, diff, f & r suspension, brakes, body, everything was changed. the wheels are even a different stud pattern!! as was said earlier, the gemini was gm's influence, more than anyone else.
the bellett was a totally isuzu designed unit, although it did use some ideas that isuzu learnt while they built the english designed hillman minx in the mid to late 1950's. the bellett has a very similar looking engine design, but very few parts are interchangeable. the rest of the car was isuzu done.
there's still a good number of them about these days, especially in japan.
there was over 170,000 bellett's built in the 10 years, 17,500 were GT's, and they were sold in alot of countries, including most of asia, north america, south america, europe, new zealand, the pacific area, and here in australia.
i hope this all helps with what isuzu was up to in the pre-gm bellett days.
BTW... just to show my un-biased-ness, i drive a nissan navara pickup every day with work, and it's a fantastic car. it's much, much better than every other work car i've owned.