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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:57 pm
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Location: Arlington, TX, USA
NigelBickle wrote:
HOWEVER -I do care that I can ask for help when needed -and know where to look for the answer.


Well, for now, the "Other Marques" Garage is the best place for both.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:15 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
Posts: 393
Location: Midwest, USA
datsunfreak wrote:
Seems to me like the site would then become a bit, focused on who can come up with the weirdest stuff?


The appeal of Japanese cars is basically centered around the fact that, to us Westerners, they are, to put it in a plain word: “Weird”. Odd, quirky, strange, alien. If you are sitting in traffic on a Japanese street, looking out the window, and the word “weird” is not first and foremost in your mind as the most descriptive word for what you are seeing, then you’ve been in country for too long, and need to take time outside Japan, and then return again, so that you can fully appreciate what you are looking at. As soon as you think to yourself: “I’ve seen those before, this is getting boring, show me something different”, then you are going local.


seventhskyline wrote:
Were Isuzu ever much more than GM/Opel stooges when it came to cars anyway?

Tony_L wrote:
gemini and bellet are the only ones I know of

Ratdat wrote:
Isuzu didn't make an awful lot of passenger cars

seventhskyline wrote:
But otherwise they built Hillmans for Rootes then T-cars for GM....


These are some of the responses I anticipated when writing that July 29 post. Though tamer than I expected.

I’ll throw in a couple more I’ve heard before:
“They don’t even make cars any more. They must have been junk.”
“I’ve never heard of those, they can’t be very good if I’ve never heard of them.”
“I saw one before, rusted and dented and belching out smoke, they must be junk.”
“My cousin’s uncle’s friend had one, he never did any maintenance, it fell apart, they are junk.”
“They only had three cylinders.” (Mistaking it for a Geo Metro / Suzuki Swift.)
“They were made by Toyota.” (Mistaking it for a Geo Prizm / Toyota Corolla.)

I realize that the people quoted from this forum above are true car enthusiasts and their posts on other topics indicate that they appreciate all cars, and aren’t trying to put others down to make themselves feel better, but, the meaning of the posts and the words and phrases used in the posts are not the same, and these are milder versions of the same preconceived notions that are nearly universal which is disappointing to find on a forum devoted to older and rarer Japanese cars.

I suppose that if Isuzu was a stooge for Rootes, Hillman, and GM (and now Toyota), then:
Nissan was/is a stooge for Austin, Ford, and Renault.
Mazda was/is a stooge for NSU and Ford.
Toyota was/is a stooge for GM.
Mitsubishi was/is the stooge of Kaiser, Willys, Chrysler, Daimler, Toyota, Nissan, and Peugeot/Citroen.
Hyundai was/is a stooge for Mitsubishi.
Daihatsu was/is a corporate stooge of GM, and Toyota.
Suzuki was/is a stooge of GM, Subaru, Nissan, and Mazda.
Honda was/is a stooge of Rover.
Subaru was/is a stooge for Nissan, GM and Toyota.
The funny thing is that there aren’t a lot of coherent arguments for how any of these corporate alliances ever had significant negative affect on the final products. Sure, corporate decisions, direction of expansion, and dreams about what could have been if someone else were not involved or interfering, but never any comments like “The MX6 would be a great car without those Ford parts”, or any similar arguments about Isuzu, GM, and Hillman cars.


“Isuzu didn’t make many cars?” you say?
Hilman Minx – Don’t know how many were made, probably no way to find out, Isuzu’s manufacture of these is usually only mentioned in the bottom line of a UK used car sale listing.
Isuzu Bellel – An internet website claims 37,206 total.
Isuzu Florian - Don’t know.
Isuzu Aska – No idea.
Isuzu Bellett – 171,910, but this appears to be the number for Japanese market sales only, excluding cars officially exported to Australia, Canada, and Europe.
Isuzu 117 Coupe – 85,630.
Isuzu Gemini/I-Mark/Kadett, First Generation (1975-1985) – Japan : ?, Australia : ?, Europe : ?, USA : 72,587.
Isuzu Piazza/Impulse, First Generation (1980-1990) – Japan: 39,448, USA: 68,089, UK: 1,662. Australia - ?.
Isuzu Gemini/I-Mark/Sunburst, Second Generation (1985-1990) – Japan: ? (probably more than 400,000), Australia: ?, USA: 514,040, Canada: 8,501, Europe: ?.
Isuzu Gemini/Stylus/Gemini Coupe/Storm, Third Generation (1989-1993) – Japan: ? (probably more than 200,000), USA: 297,765, Canada: 5,975.
Isuzu Piazza/Impulse/Sunfire, Second Generation (1990-1993) – Japan: ? (more than 2,000), USA: 8,432, Canada: 8,475, Europe: ?.

Let me make it clear that the existence of a separate forum for Isuzu cars is not my argument. The almost immediate dismissal of the suggestion and the ill informed reasons behind that immediate dismissal of the idea indicates at least a passive disrespect for Isuzu cars, and that is what disappoints me.


One last quote:
ben wrote:
we didn't think Isuzu had a big enough US following

ben wrote:
1. Fill in your location. Japanese cars had a nearly infinite number of variations depending on what part of the world they sold. We have members from all over the planet,

Without being mean, one statement indicates the website is international, the other says decisions are made based in a US centered perspective. It is little surprise that the first post in this thread is from an Australian, because the Gemini is the cornerstone of the four cylinder world in that country, and from the Oz perspective, leaving out a special place for the Gem is just as strange as putting it in is to others.

But touching on inclusion and exclusion subject, don’t assume everyone is going to feel welcome finding themselves once again pigeonholed into the “Other” category, and don’t underestimate the draw of providing a warm and welcoming place for every Japanese nostalgic marque. If you want a parallel, the SCCA keeps moaning about dwindling membership, but openly states that their goal is not to make sure that every car is competitive in competition through dividing those cars into classes based on their speed. They instead divide classes based loosely on car type and more firmly the desires of lobby groups (read: car clubs), ignoring speed, and for the specific purpose of creating dominate cars for each class. Show up, race something else, and complain that your car can’t win against cars that are twice as expensive and twice as powerful, and the SCCA tells you that you should have chosen a better car. So the world is full of car enthusiasts, who want to enjoy their pride and joy, but the SCCA is a driver’s club, where members are expected to shop for their car based on what class they want to have a chance at winning. Actual car enthusiasts have no place in the SCCA, it is not a warm and welcoming place for them.
Similarly, create (in reality or by perception) a top tier of accepted and respected marques in this website, and relegate another group to second class status, and their place here will not be warm and welcoming either.



Now, if I may change the topic to: Why Isuzu deserves a little more respect.
If there is a general lack of information about Japanese cars, then there is a particular void when it comes to information about Isuzu.
English language information from the manufacturer (US distributor) simply doesn’t exist because they purged all reference to cars to support the late 1990’s marketing campaign “Go Farther, In A Truck, We Don’t Even Make Cars”.
The Japanese enthusiasts tend to be over 40 years old, do not speak English, are not particularly computer and internet literate, and have very little motivation to reach out to the rest of the world (we have nothing to offer them).
American owners are, by a vast majority, rice boys. Most are high school kids (literally or mentally) and don’t speak Japanese. The few who aren’t trying to find spark plug wires to match their lime green wire loom, are far too busy trying to figure out how to avoid questions about their claimed 500 HP, 2,000 pound car that does the quarter mile in 17+ seconds.
Australians? British? Europeans? Australia has an insane and inexplicable following for the First Generation Gemini in magazines, but a very reserved presence on the internet. The two Bellett Clubs outside Japan are in Australia and the Netherlands, but are also not high in internet profile. The UK Piazza club dropped off the radar four or five years ago.


Basic information about the cars?
I could provide the same facts about Isuzu that seem to always be overlooked or ignored. Here's the short version:

Oldest Japanese car company, founded in 1916.
First Japanese car to use the GT name, the Bellett GT. First car to use the GTR name (August 1968), the Bellett GTR.
Giugiaro designed 117 Coupe while at Ghia.
First Generation Gemini sister car: Opel Kadett GTE, accomplished rally car.
Giugiaro designed Piazza, which went on to be reverse engineered by every major car manufacturer, who then adopted the design details as their own, heralding the end of chrome and the beginning of true aerodynamic design.
Piazza Turbo was the first computer controlled turbocharger system on a production vehicle.
Isuzu Impulse Turbo was faster than the Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R in the quarter mile by .2 seconds.
Giugiaro designed Second Generation Gemini.
Shiro Nakamura designed / oversaw the design of the Third Generation Gemini Sedan, Coupe, Wagon, Second Generation Piazza, and also Vehicross and Axiom, as head of design at Isuzu, before being stolen away by Nissan.
Awarded for the highest HP per liter output for their 1.6 liter DOHC engine for 1990 and 1991.
Lotus used this engine (and an Isuzu transmission) in the 4,800 Elan M100 cars they built. That car was lauded as the best handling front wheel drive car in history and timed quicker than the Esprit on twisty roads
1980’s and 1990’s.cars offered with Lotus and Irmscher tuned suspensions.
1990’s cars had passive four wheel steering.
In 1998, Isuzu tendered an offer to buy then troubled Nissan, outright.

To the rest of the world, this information seems either boring, or is easily forgotten, so there really isn’t much point in going into much more detail. If it failed to impress before, there is no reason to discuss it again.

So, how about something new? Information never presented in English, and probably never compiled in Japanese. How about Isuzu’s “racing history”? But, J Style Motoring told all of us that they were the first to race an Isuzu car, last year in the 24 Hours of Lemons? Their quote: “Isuzu never saw a winner's circle, ever.”. Well, David Swig didn’t do enough research to know not to put a 20 year old car, with known front wheel bearing issues, out on a race track with 20 year old wheel bearings in it, and he certainly didn’t do any due diligence to research Isuzu’s racing history before proclaiming himself the “first”.

I will point out that this is not complete, exhaustive, or in any way all inclusive, because the more research I do, the more I find that needs to be done.


Bellel:
The earliest mention I can find is 1963, with Alistair Stewart racing an Isuzu Bellel 2000 Special in England, with a DNS for the Slip Molyslip Trophy in Kent, and a 6th place in Group B at Sneterton. The Bellel is the mid sized sedan, the Bellett was marketed as a smaller Bellel, and that’s 1963, 44 years before Mr. Swig’s adventure.
There are two additional race results for Bellel in 1968 and one in 1970, in the JAF race results (more information about JAF race results later).

Bellett:
Next, I found a long list of Australian races, and it took a while to figure out that they changed the name from Ghalager and Armstrong to the more familiar “Bathurst 500” after several years. For those not familiar with Bathurst, every year, Australia re-enacts the action scenes from the movie “Death Race 2000” with a 500 mile (is it miles or KM?) demolition derby on a five mile road course. And someone was crazy enough to enter a bunch of Isuzu Bellett 1500s.
1965, 6th place in Class B. 1966, 6th, 8th, and 12th places, Class B.

I found repeated listings for “1000 Lakes Rally”, with drivers that did not have vowels in their names, and could not figure out why someone was racing Belletts in Minnesota in the late 60’s. Thanks to Speed Hunters, I now know this is the ancient name for Rally Finland: “The Ouninpohja stages are legendary as rally drivers launch themselves over the high speed jumps since the Fifties!” . Go over to Speed Hunters and look at the photo of the Ford rally car and then picture a Bellett in mid air, with the swing axle rear suspension in full droop, rear wheels rotated in at almost a 30 degree angle. 1968, 5th place overall (no class divisions). 1969, 6th, 7th, and 10th places overall. 1970, 7th place overall. 1971 2nd place, Group 2. This probably explains much of the fact that one of the two Bellett owners clubs outside Japan is in Northern Europe.

Someone was auctioning racing pictures of a 1965 Bellett signed by the driver, John Sprinzel, a rather notable British race car driver, but I can find no other records aside from the available signed photos.

The most difficult part has been the Japanese races. Bridgestone’s database only goes back to 1981, and covers only a couple races, and the series championship points. JAF’s database is just too big. JAF is not Japanese for AAA. JAF is what you get if you combined Indy Car, Cart, American Lemans, SCCA, NASA, Rally America, NHRA, and AAA. It sanctions races, issues racing licenses, and also offers roadside assistance. JAF’s records start with 1966, has results for over 40,000 races, and is not searchable. I only scratched the surface before I discovered that the translation programs can not handle first and last names.
One name that stuck out “Shigeki Asaoka”, one of the top four drivers from 1960 through 1980, and an Isuzu factory team driver. (There is a webpage showing a Tamiya invitational RC race with Asaoka and the other three top Japanese drivers.)

When the Japanese Isuzu enthusiasts talk about racing in the 60’s, the Skyline and the Bellett are always presented as oil and water, or cobra and mongoose. Carry the Godzilla nickname back to the Hakosuka, then the Bellett is Ghidorah (and the Rotary Coupe is King Kong). Looking at the race results, for 1966 through 1968, the Fairlady and Toyota 2000 GT seem to win everything they were entered in. Next in the pecking order, Belletts and Skylines took even shares of the top positions. And there were a lot of races won by Toyota 1600GT or Corona, Honda S800, and Toyota S800. The Bluebird seems to be one of the only cars rarely at the top of the finish list. But looking more closely, Skylines outnumbered everything else in entries at least two to one. There are many of races with a dozen or more Belletts mixed evenly through a field of 30+ cars, but more often, there were only 1-4 Belletts participating in any single race. To contrast, in the majority of events that Skylines participated in, there are 1-2 dozen Skylines. Nissan has 2-3 times the number of Belletts racing, and is taking about the same number of wins. The main contribution to racing by the Hakosuka seems to be the realization that if Nissan had 2-3 times more cars entered than everyone else, half might not finish well or at all, but they could count on one or two top finishes from the rest.
Adding a little historical context, the Belletts and Toyotas were all running 1.5 and 1.6 liter, four cylinder, SOHC engines, the Belletts being rated at 90 HP. The Fairladies and Skylines were all running 2.0 liter, six cylinder, SOHC engines, rated at 100 HP. With ten HP and two extra cylinders, the Fairlady walked away with the win, but the Skyline kept with the middle of the pack.
Around 1968, everyone decided to add another camshaft and raise the power level. Isuzu rolled out the Bellett GTX cars (light blue Coupes and Fast Backs with the big side scoops behind the doors) with a 1.6 liter, four cylinder, DOHC, eight valve engine, with 130 HP, and it took about to the finish of the first lap to decide this would be the new GTR. Nissan responded by adding not only a camshaft, but also doubling the number of valves, for a 2.0 liter, six cylinder, 24 valve engine, rated at 160 HP. Now the Fairladies and Skylines had the advantage of two more cylinders AND 12 extra valves. From 1969 through 1971, the Skyline moved up from lower middle to upper middle, but more conspicuously, in 1970, the Fairlady and Skyline ceased to meet in competition. Belletts continued to race against Fairladies (and Zs) and Belletts raced against Skylines in separate races, but the lack of mixture of Fairladies and Skylines in more than a handful of events indicates a decision by Nissan to not allow one of their products to beat the other. This decision by Nissan probably did more to create the legend of the Skyline than anything else.
Hakosuka enthusiasts are outspoken about 33 victories in two years and 50 victories in three years. It would be nice to know the source for this factoid in “rumor-pedia”, because the JAF results don’t seem to add up to those numbers (unless you count one marque races). But, ignoring that, there were more than 600 circuit race results per year in Japan by 1971, and 50 divided by 1800 is not exactly a triumphant average. Overall, for the entire set of years, no one dominated any more than anyone else. Mazda, Toyota, Isuzu, and Nissan all had their share of wins. And the top finishers were Fairlady, along with the newly introduced Rotary Coupe which was already taking away from the Skyline in 1970, when the Skyline was supposed to be on its rising arc, and by 1974 or 1975, Skylines are no longer seen entered in races.

(Keep in mind that there is no index for this data, and I am basically trudging through race results, one CGI file at a time, but running sequentially through a system that assigns a random six digit number to these documents grouped only by year. There are no class results for circuit races, only overall results. The only thing I am sure of is the fact that I am missing a lot. There are numerous misspellings in the results, and vehicles are inconsistently listed sometimes only by name, model code, or manufacturer. I should also mention that the JAF race results are in Japanese, and I do not read Japanese, I recognize some familiar words like manufacturer and car model names.)
(I should also point out that I make no claim to be an expert on the subject of Japanese racing, only an observer of the race results, and am drawing conclusions based on the trends in those racing results, and attempting to determine what rule or mechanical changes have been made to cause these trends.)

This is from JAF and for circuit racing only.
Note that some of the races from 1969 through 1973 in which Belletts were entered they raced in an open class against exotics, prototypes, Lemans style cars, and sports racers like Porsche 908 and 910, and even the Isuzu R6 and R7 cars discussed below.
1966 – 88 race results with Belletts, 31 -1st Place, 26 – 2nd Place, 21 – 3rd Place.
1967 – 93 race results with Belletts, 18 - 1st Place, 17 – 2nd Place, 18 – 3rd Place.
1968 – 95 race results with Belletts, 10 - 1st Place, 12 - 2nd Place, 15 – 3rd Place.
1969 – 56 race results with Belletts, 10 - 1st Place, 10 – 2nd Place, 10 - 3rd Place.
1970 – 62 race results with Belletts, 0 - 1st Place, 8 – 2nd Place, 3 -3 3rd Place.
1971 – 93 race results with Belletts, 7 - 1st Place, 8 – 2nd Place, 4 – 3rd Place..
1972 – 55 race results with Belletts, 2 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 1 - 3rd Place.
1973 – 57 race results with Belletts, 2 - 1st Place, 3 - 2nd Place, 3 – 3rd Place.
1974 – 21 race results with Belletts, 2 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1975 – 37 race results with Belletts, 4 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1976 – 11 race results with Belletts, 1 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1977 – 2 race results with Belletts, 1 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1978 – 1 race result with Bellett, 5th Place Finsih.
(These listings for 1974 -1978 continue to indicate GTR and 1600GT so these are not “Bellett Gemini” results.)
Many of these races had as many as 12 or 14 Belletts, often six or more, and Isuzu’s strategy appears clear, they had formed a “flying circus” of factory supported independent racing teams, who would show up en mass to do battle with the horde of Nissans.

1984 saw a return of the Bellett in historic races:
1984 - 4 race results with Belletts, 0 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1985 - 4 race results with Belletts, 1 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1986 - 9 race results with Belletts, 3 - 1st Place, 1 – 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1987 - 5 race results with Belletts, 0 - 1st Place , 2 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1988 - 6 race results with Belletts, 0 - 1st Place , 3 - 2nd Place, 0 3rd Place.
1989 - 10 race results with Belletts, 0 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1990 – 13 race results with Belletts, 2 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 4 – 3rd Place.
1991 - 13 race results with Belletts, 3 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1992 - 21 race results with Belletts, 4 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1993 - 18 race results with Belletts, 1 - 1st Place, 4 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.

Rally
For whatever reason, the JAF Rally records start with 1979. The Bellett was rallied in Europe, it makes sense it would have been rallied in Japan, but I know of no way of finding that information.


117 Coupe:
The JAF records don’t show any 117 Coupes entered in competition during its years of manufacture, and list it only in historic races beginning in 1986. The funny part is that the 117 seems to excel in racing, besting Skyline GTRs, Fairlady 2000s, 240Zs, and Rotary Coupes.
1986 – 4 race results with 117 Coupes. , 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1987 – 6 race results with 117 Coupes, 0 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1988 – 3 race results with 117 Coupes, 0 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1989 – 7 race results with 117 Coupes, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1990 – 13 race results with 117 Coupes, 0 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1991 – 4 race results with 117 Coupes, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1992 – 5 race results with 117 Coupes, 0 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1993 – 7 race results with 117 Coupes, 1 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.


What about purpose built race cars?

F2:
There are a group of race results for 1967, indicating a “Isuzu Bellett 1.6 (F2). These were open wheel race cars similar in appearance to Lola T60, T61, T62, T100, and T110. They apparently did not do too bad, taking 3rd and 5th at Nippon GP Support Race, Fuji and 1st at VIII Clubman Race Meeting, Fuji.
For 1975, there is a listing of a “Brabham BT30 - Isuzu PR91W”, with a 10th place finish at the 1975 II Fuji Formula Champion Race.


Grand Prix or Prototype

Bellett R6 Coupe and Spider:
The Japanese tell a story that a group of Isuzu factory workers stayed after hours and over weekends to build a grand prix style race car, using a rear mounted 1.6 liter, DOHC, 8 valve engine (From the Bellett GTR), and the frame and body were built from scratch. Two or three more cars followed, with an open top “Spider” and a closed top “Coupe”. These were raced from 1970 through 1972, in the Japanese Grand Prix or Group C races against the likes of Toyota 7, McLaren M6B and M12, Porsche 906, 908, and 910, Chevron B19 and B21, Lola T100, T160, T212, and T290, Nissan R380-III, Ferrari 512S, Lotus 47, etc.
JAF race results:
1970 – 6 races results with R6s, 2 - 1st Place, 4 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1971 – 6 race results with R6s, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1972 – 9 race results with R6s, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.

Bridgestone’s series points results for Group C Driver’s Champions (record begins with 1971):
1971 – 8th

For the majority of its life span, at least one R6 finished fourth or better in the majority of races they were entered in.
At least one of these cars was acquired by Kataoka Racing Service (KRS), and may have been campaigned as a “KRS Special” from 1973 through 1976. There are three entries for this vehicle in 1976, but no wins. KRS went on as a factory Isuzu supported race team with all three generations of Gemini, and currently hosts the KRS Battle Royal series, at which JNC writers are surprised to see Geminis and Belletts.


Bellett R7:
There is almost no information on these cars, aside from a single reference describing it as a “Lola T70 Mk.3B Chevrolet” and another stating the engine was a 5 liter V8. They were entered in some of the same races along side the R6 cars from 1969 through 1972. Weight restrictions seem to keep them from being very successful against the smaller displacement cars.
JAF race results:
1969 – 1 race result with R7s, 6th Place Finish
1970 – 1 race result with R7s, 8th Place Finish.
1971 – 6 race results with R7s, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1972 – 5 race results with R7s, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.


Isuzu Special 2000 or Spider 2000:
This appears to be a second generation of the R6, with a 2.0 liter, DOHC, 8 valve engine (from the 117 Coupe). These were raced in 1973, in the Japanese Grand Prix races.
JAF race results:
1973 – 16 race results with Special 2000s, 1 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.


First Generation Gemini (1975-1985):
Back to Australia, Bathurst, and the semiannual reenactment of “Death Race 2000”. Some additional results from Sandown. This time using the First Generation Gemini, built during Isuzu’s capacity as “Stooge for GM”. The sister car was the Kadett GTE.

1979 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Bathurst, Class D: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 2 DNFs.
1980 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Bathurst, Class D: 1st, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 3 DNFs.
1981 James Hardie 1000, Bathurst, Class D: 3rd, and 3 DNFs.
1982 Castrol 400, Sandown, Victoria, Group A: 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and one DNF
1982 James Hardie 1000, Bathurst, Class D, One DNF.
1983 Castrol 400, Sandown, Victoria, under 3000 cc: 4th, 5th.
1983 James Hardie 1000, Bathurst, NSW, Class B: conflicting results, either 4th or 5th.
1985 Castrol 500, Sandown, Victoria, Class C: 3rd.

1981 Australian Touring Car Championship, Isuzu ranked, incomplete information as to position.
1982 Australian Endurance Championship of Makes (5 Races): Isuzu is 6th in points with two wins.

Japanese Circuit Racing
Possibly slow to start with the new model, but by 1981, Isuzu was back to being well represented on the Japanese circuits.
JAF open competition circuit race results, not divided by class:
1975 – 1 race result with Geminis, 18th Place Finsih.
1976 – 0 race results with Geminis.
1977 – 2 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1978 – 4 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place..
1979 – 2 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1980 – 7 race results with Geminis, 3 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1981 – 21 race results with Geminis, 7 - 1st Place, 4 - 2nd Place, 3 – 3rd Place.
1982 – 21 race results with Geminis, 8 - 1st Place, 8 - 2nd Place, 3 – 3rd Place.
1983 – 20 race results with Geminis, 2 - 1st Place, 5 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1984 – 15 race results with Geminis, 1 - 1st Place, 4 - 2nd Place, 4 – 3rd Place.
1985 – 4 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
(Cars listed simply as “Gemini” without any model or other notation, after 1986, are assumed to be First Generation. Some of these may be Second Generation cars.)
1986 – 8 race results with Geminis, 1 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1987 – 4 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1988 – 5 race results with Geminis, 3 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1989 – 0 race results with Geminis (First Generation).

From 1980 to 1984, Isuzu was back to using the “flying circus” strategy, with a half dozen Geminis from factory supported independent racing teams attending many races. JAF begins listing some team names, like Valvoline, Autobahn, Corsa, Santana, Azul, RRC-Aspec, TBS, DSI, Excell, Studiodome, and a name that would become legendary, “Orient Speed”, who would go on to manufacture racing and accessory parts for Isuzu to be offered as factory option parts for Second and Third Generation Geminis.

One Marque Races:

Gemini Castor Cup Races
Nissan ran one marque races from 1968 through 1973. Toyota, Honda, and Mazda followed suit beginning around 1978, to provide a place for their Starlets, Civics, and Familias to race without Sunnys. Sunny dominated the low displacement class and Savana dominated the high displacement class. Isuzu followed the pattern with the “Gemini Castor Cup Race” series, beginning in 1979.
These races were held sequentially over a number of years, with two or three sets of race results from the first three events, and as many as ten sets of race results by the 1982 events. So this was an event involving numerous races within each event. In addition to the sequentially numbered events, there were also year end events which were not counted in the sequence. The JAF results are not complete and do not list all events or the sequence number for some events, but there were at least 45 numbered events from 1979 through 1987 and a championship race at the end of each year.
1979 – #1, #2
1980 – #5, #6, #7, Golden (Championship?)
1981 - #8, #9, #10, #11, Suzuka One Hour
1982 - #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, Golden (Championship?)
1983 - #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, Golden (Championship?)
1984 - #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, Large Un-numbered December Event (Championship?)
1985 – 7 Race Events Un-numbered
1986 - #36, #39, #40, November Un-numbered Event
1987 – April Un-numbered Event, #43, #44, #45
This series may have been renamed or merged in 1988 with the West Japan Touring Car Race series, which begins that year.

Grand Championship Racing Series, Production Car Racing Series, and Checker Great Race series
These were series of race events with dozens of races for each event, separated into many different one marque races. These series attracted high budget racing teams, including Carboy, Fisco Club Fit, Autofashion, Autosport, Nihon Sportscar Club, Team Real Sports, ALC Racing, ALC-R Dodo, Team I-Marks, Checker, Zero, HRC, TBO, Winners 16, etc. Each of these series’ events included one marque races for Geminis. However, JAF results are very incomplete. With only a few of the total events listed for 1986 and 1987.

West Japan Touring Car Race series
This was a series of race events with dozens of races for each event, separated into many different one marque races. Some race results list models, some do not, but each event shows a mix of all generations of Gemini.
1988 – 7 events listed.
1989 – 6 events listed, but one is titled “1989 Event 10”.
1990 – 6 events listed, but one is titled “1990 Event 12”.
1991 – 5 events listed, but one is titled “1991 Event 9”.
1992 – 5 events listed.
1993 – 5 events listed.

And International Rally:
1981 Lombard RAC Rally, FIA World Rally Championship, Group 2 Class 3: One DNF.

Japanese Rally:
It was mentioned earlier that JAF rally results begin with 1979. It is also worth pointing out that, unlike circuit racing, which has 600-1700 event results per year, rally results number 9-12 races per year, conveniently divided into classes.
Isuzu began fielding 12-13 cars, reducing to 6-8 by 1982, 3 by 1984, and finally a single Gemini in 1985.
The First Generation Gemini was mixed with Corolla, Celica, Bluebird, Mirage, Civic, Leon, Lancer Turbo, Sprinter, and Skyline RS, and the results speak for themselves. The Geminis held even with the Lancer Turbos in 1982 and 1983, but by 1984, the Corolla had eroded the Gemini’s dominance. The Japanese are always quick to point out that all of the generations of Geminis shined most brightly in rally, and it is easy to see why.
JAF rally race results:
1979 – 2 Class B race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1980 – 7 Class B race results with Geminis, 5 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1981 – 8 Class B race results with Geminis, 4 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1982 – 10 Class B race results with Geminis, 2 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1983 – 7 Class B race results with Geminis, 1 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
* 1983 – 1 Class A race result with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1984 – 10 Class C race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1985 – 7 Class C race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.

Bridgestone’s series points results for All Japan Rally Driver’s Champions (begins with 1980):
1980 – Class B: 1st
1981 – Class B: 1st, and 6th
1982 – Class B: 2nd


First Generation Piazza (1980-1990):
I’ve found only a few mentions of the First Generation Piazza in racing during its production period.
A Piazza was entered in the KASC Iwate Mountainous Rally, All-Japan Rally Championship, Round 9 (among 13 Geminis) July 25-26, 1981, it completed the race but did not place.
There was a Piazza entered in the ISCC Golden Castor Cup Race (Isuzu Gemini One Marque) on December 19, 1982. It took first place. This appears to have been the first and last Piazza in the Castor Cup races, and that they were excluded from further participation because they were too much faster than the First Generation Geminis.
Orient Speed and Aquarius built a wide body Piazza (probably for the Group 5 (Silhouette Formula) All Japan Sports Prototype Championship). Few records exist aside from photos of the car on Fuji Raceway. It was entered in the Suzuka Golden Trophy F2 Race on July 2, 1982, but did not participate. It was later entered in the Suzuka 500 KM International Race on April 3, 1983. The car was eighth in qualifying and was either a DNS or they opted not to participate in the race.

In the US:
There is a mention in an American Isuzu Motors sales publication of an Isuzu dealership campaigning a Non-turbo Impulse and winning a SCCA Production Class National Championship.
A First Generation Impulse (Piazza) finished first in Group 2 (20th overall) in the Cherokee Trails Rally; SCCA Pro Rally Championship, March 15-17, 2002.


Aska:
Known as the Cavalier in the US, GM’s second world car was again built on almost every continent, with the same basic body form, and locally sourced power and drive train. Isuzu’s model was the Aska, but was available with a turbocharged 2.0 liter variant of the Piazza engine, rendering it the most powerful of the first generation J body cars, and styling cues to match the Piazza, making it more pleasant to look at (appearance closer to the Ascona C).
The Aska was rallied in 5 races1985 and one race in 1986, finishing in the middle of the pack in Class C. By 1986, Mazda was beating everyone with the Familia 4WD.


Second Generation Gemini (1985-1990):
GM’s third world car, this time built in Japan for export to the rest of the world, most well known in the US as the Chevy/Geo Spectrum. Certainly this represents the best example of what seventhskyline terms “GM’s Stooge” status, and such a car could, therefore, not possibly be of any use in motorsports competition.
By 1987, results show Irmschers and JT150s, in the thick of it.
In 1988, the DOHC Second Generation Geminis start showing up in competition against, of all things, AE86s, AE-92s, E-ATs, and EF3s. And the Second Generation Gemini manages a lot of finishes in the 4th through 7th positions, in fields of 17 to 32 of Corollas, Truenos, and Civics. The results seem to indicate the car was in fact competitive. However, Second Generation Gemini did not fare as well when entered against BMW M3s, Sierra RS500s, Starion, Skyline R31s, and Subaru XT/Alcyones, when the Gemini, and the Civics, Truenos, and Corollas, moved down from the top as a group.
The results do not begin listing Irmscher or model numbers until 1987, cars listed as simply “Gemini” are assumed to be First Generation and listed above. JAF open competition circuit race results, overall results, not divided by class:
1987 – 8 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1988 – 9 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1989 – 33 race results with Geminis, 1 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1990 – 10 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1991 – 3 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1992 – 0 race results with Geminis (Second Generation).


One Marque Races:

Gemini Castor Cup Races
The Castor Cup Races mixed First and Second Generation Geminis in competition against each other. For the last three years of the series (at least 16 race events), Second Generation cars participated.
1985 – 7 Race Events Un-numbered
1986 - #36, #39, #40, November Un-numbered Event
1987 – April Un-numbered Event, #43, #44, #45

West Japan Touring Car Race series
This was a series of race events with dozens of races for each event, separated into many different one marque races. Some race results list models, some do not, but each event shows a mix of all generations of Gemini.
1988 – 7 events listed.
1989 – 6 events listed, but one is titled “1989 Event 10”.
1990 – 6 events listed, but one is titled “1990 Event 12”.
1991 – 5 events listed, but one is titled “1991 Event 9”.
1992 – 5 events listed.
1993 – 5 events listed.

Japanese Rally:
With the Front Wheel Drive rally experience gained from racing the Aska in 1985, Isuzu began racing the Second Generation Gemini in 1986, with three cars, beginning at mid season and taking a new chassis to a third place finish after only four months. 1988 saw the introduction the DOHC engine and even more success.

JAF rally race results:
1986 – 6 Class C race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1987 – 2 Class C race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1988 – 6 Class B race results with Geminis, 1 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1989 – 9 Class B race results with Geminis, 3 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 4 – 3rd Place.
1990 – 6 Class B race results with Geminis, 1 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 2 – 3rd Place.
1991 – 1 Class B race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1992 – 1 Class B race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.

Bridgestone’s series points results for All Japan Rally Driver’s Champions:
1988 – Class B: 3rd, and 5th
1989 – Class B: 3rd, and 4th

International Rally
1986 AWA Clarion Rally of New Zealand; World Rally Championship, 8th Round, Group A Class 7/8: 10th.
1986 Lombard RAC Rally, FIA World Rally Championship, Group A Class B: 18th.


Third Generation Gemini (1989-1993):
This is the fourth GM world car, again built in Japan for export, and again most well known as a Geo, this time the Storm. Most often confused with the Corolla/Prizm or thought to be a three cylinder Suzuki. Arguably much more maligned in the US than the Second Generation Gemini.
With this car, Isuzu returned to motorsports at a time when their historic rival, Nissan, was once again competed only where it had an overwhelming advantage, with the R32 Skyline. In open competition, Toyota was racing the Corolla, Honda was racing the Civic, and Mazda the Familia. There were no other Japanese six cylinder sports cars in open competition. Acura did not race its NSX until 1994. Toyota waited until 1995 to race the Supra. The R32 would not face a Mazda RX7 on the track until 1993. Nissan would not even send its own Fairlady Zs or Sylvias into competition with it (another legend building maneuver?). The other performance cars, such as Toyota MR2, were only seen in one marque races, if at all. The only cars entered in the same races with the Skylines that appeared to have any prayer of competing with it were the Sierra RS500 and BMW M3. The RS500 was several cylinders short and the M3 lacked a turbo. Of course, this is looking at the results without any notation of class divisions. “Rumor-pedia” indicates the R32 raced unopposed in Division 1, the M3 and Sierra in Division 2, and the Civic, Corolla, Familia, and Gemini were in Division 3. But the Bridgestone’s N1 Series Points Championship results show Class 1 with Skyline GTR; Class 2 with Gemini, BMW M3, and Prelude; Class C with Civic, Corolla Levin, and Mirage; Class D with Honda City and Suzuki Cultus.
Either way, the Skyline raced alone and how hard is it to put together an undefeated record when racing unopposed? And what exactly is the prestige of being undefeated in an unopposed racing record?
The Third Generation Geminis fielded by Isuzu were all sedans, in a mix of 140 HP FF and 180 HP 4WD Turbo, and both were a match for the Corollas and Civics, but any success (without class division notation) was in the shadow of Nissan, who was once again racing six cylinder cars against four cylinder competition.

JAF results for open competition, overall results, not divided by class:
1990 – 6 race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1991 – 20 race results with Geminis, 1 - 1st Place, 1 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1992 – 20 race results with Geminis, 1 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1993 – 0 race results with Geminis.

Bridgestone’s series points results for N1 Endurance (records begin with 1991):
1991 – Class 2: 1st, 2nd, and 4th

One of the Japanese web pages has these class results listed for Gemini Type C for the 1991 season, which were a limited production race prepped car built to meet the minimum production run to compete in JAF competition. This source gives results for Class 2, not overall:
Highland 300 KM Race, April 28-29, Finish: 1st Place, 4th Place.
Fuji Touring Car 6 Hours, June 1-2, Finish: 2nd Place, 3rd Place, 6th Place.
Tsukuba Night Game 9 Hour Endurance Race, August 10-12, Finish 2nd Place, 3rd Place, 5th Place.
N1 Race Best Drivers, September 21-22, Finish: 1st Place, 3rd Place.
Sugo N1 500 KM Race, November 22-23, Finish: 1st Place.

One Marque Races:
West Japan Touring Car Race series
This was a series of race events with dozens of races for each event, separated into many different one marque races. Some race results list models, some do not, but each event shows a mix of all generations of Gemini.
1990 – 6 events listed, but one is titled “1990 Event 12”.
1991 – 5 events listed, but one is titled “1991 Event 9”.
1992 – 5 events listed.
1993 – 5 events listed.

Japanese Rally:
The Third Generation Gemini FWD Non-turbo began racing Class B in the middle of the 1990 season, while the Third Generation Gemini AWD Turbo began in Class C at the end of the 1990 season. The three FF cars saw immediate success against March R, Corolla, and Mirage, while the two AWD Turbo cars had much more difficulty against Legacy, Galant, Celica, and Bluebird. For the 1991 season, Isuzu assembled a minimum production run of Type C cars (mentioned directly above). Five or six cars ran Class B in 1991 and 1992, with great success. It is unclear if the AWD Turbo cars were allowed to compete in Class B for the 1991 and 1992 season, because they disappear from Class C from April of 1991 through the end of the 1992 season, only to reappear in Class C in 1993. There is also a lack of designation for AWD Turbo and FWD in the 1991 and 1992 records. By 1993, only one FWD and one AWD Gemini continued in competition.

JAF rally race results:
Class B:
1990 – 6 Class B race results with Geminis, 3 - 1st Place, 3 - 2nd Place, 1 – 3rd Place.
1991 – 9 Class B race results with Geminis, 4 - 1st Place, 2 - 2nd Place, 3 – 3rd Place.
1992 – 8 Class B race results with Geminis, 3 - 1st Place, 3 - 2nd Place, 4 – 3rd Place.
1993 – 7 Class B race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
Class C:
1990 – 4 Class C race results with Geminis, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1991 – 1 Class C race results with Gemini, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.
1992 – 0 Class C race results with Geminis.
1993 – 1 Class C race result with Gemini, 0 - 1st Place, 0 - 2nd Place, 0 – 3rd Place.

Bridgestone’s series points results for All Japan Rally Driver’s Champions:
1990 – Class B: 1st, 2nd, and 4th
1991 – Class B: 1st, 2nd, 3rd
1992 – Class B: 1st, 3rd, and 6th

That Japanese web page summarizes the 1991 Gemini Type C results as follows:
All Japan Rally Championship Class B
Series Points:1st, 2nd. Series Champion. (Bridgestone’s database shows Isuzu actually won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd).
DCCS Winter Rally, February 2-3, Finish: 1st.
Asahikawa Winter Rally 1991, February 23-24, Finish: 5th, 6th.
1991 ACK Spring Rally, April 20-21, Finish: 2nd, 3rd.
Akira Country Tsurudo, May 18-19, Finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
1991 Hiroshima Cup Rally Sprint, June 1-2, Finish: 1st.
1991 North Attack Rally, July 6-7, Finish: 1st, 2nd, 4th.
1991 Summer with HIE, July 27-28, Finish: 6th.
1991 Monterey, September 15-16, Finish: 4th.
Kansai Rally, October 12-13, Finish 3rd, 6th.

Dirt Trial
All Japan Dirt Trial Championship Series (Bridgestone records begin 1989)
1992 (8 race series) – Class D: 5th

Gymkhana
All Japan Gymkhana Driver’s Championship (Bridgestone records begin 1992)
1992 (8 race series) – Class D: 4th
1993 (7 race series) – Class D: 6th


Second Generation Piazza (1990-1993):
The Second Generation Piazza was available only with the 1.8 liter engine. Japan raced under the rules of Group A and Isuzu in Division 1, limited to 1600 cc displacement. The 1.8 liter engine and the Second Generation Piazza never saw a race track during its production period. In the time since, the 1.8 liter engine has seen some popularity in amateur racing classes which do not have the 1.6 liter displacement limit, especially on short and tight courses. Aquarius’ “blue” 1.8 liter racing engines are particularly popular in Second and Third Generation Geminis. These cars have won many national level Gymkhanas and even the “Eco-Eco One Tank” distance and fuel economy races in Sapporo.

In the US:
The Impulse was available with the same engines and layouts as the Gemini, a FWD 1.6 Non-turbo, and a AWD 1.6 Turbo, and later with the 1.8 that the Piazza in1992-93 cars.
American Isuzu Motors prepped one or two Isuzu Impulse RS cars (AWD Turbo) for the 1991 Pikes Peak Race to the Clouds hill climb event. The factory drivers were flown over from Japan to drive the car(s) up Pike’s Peak during the testing sessions, but they did not compete because they had to return to Japan for the next race in the Rally Japan series, which would have been the North Attack Rally, listed above.


And what does all this mean?

There are JAF Gymkhana and Dirt Trial results from 1981 to present, another 15 years of historic and one marque races, patchy rally results from the Caribbean, Indonesia, South Africa, etc., 20 years of SCCA Club Racing and Solo results, etc.
It’s worth mentioning again that Kataoka Racing Service currently runs a historic racing series basically built around the Bellett and Gemini. Not exactly surprising knowing that KRS was a factory supported racing team for Isuzu.

But this little research adventure already got much larger than I expected, and the point is more about what these cars did, under a direct or indirect factory racing effort, when they were new.

By my count, there are over 150 First Place Finishes excluding the Bellett and 117 Coupe historic races from 1984 through 1993, and the one marque racing events. Most of those 150 victories are “overall”, not for the specific class the car was actually competing in.

Pretty impressive for a company with the public opinion that they: “never took a podium”, “didn’t build many cars” and “was little more than GM’s stooge”. The little company that few people respect, and fewer know much about, managed to do battle on the track with the giants in the Japanese auto industry for four decades, and managed a racing history at least as admirable as any other car company in the business, with a fraction of the resources. In fact, given the small scale of their effort and resources, fielding only 3-12 cars in any series at a time, they took more than their fair share of victories.



Before ending, I would like to say that I realize I have been particularly critical of Nissan in presenting this information. This is because the context is Nissan and Isuzu’s rivalry, the unknown success of Isuzu in this rivalry, some of the questionable claims about Nissan’s racing history which do not match the race results, and apparent chicanery by Nissan to manufacture legendary status of some of their cars. I do not hate Nissan and fully appreciate the early and late Skylines as amazing machines that are desirable to own. But I think they can remain amazing and desirable without discounting the other cars they raced against as inconsequential, or laying claims to undefeated records when racing in a class containing nothing but Skylines. My intent was not to insult or disparage, only to startle and present information looking from another perspective.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:57 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:39 am
Posts: 310
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote:
Australians? British? Europeans? Australia has an insane and inexplicable following for the First Generation Gemini in magazines, but a very reserved presence on the internet.


Not for the gemini. Check out www.ozgemini.com :wink:

Nice post, particularly like the references and exact numbers. Dont feel like i am correcting you, merely highlighting/answering things you werent sure of.

The "great race" WAS originally a 500mile event, but made the switch in the early 70's to metric as did australia. It was a 500km enduro for a while, before becoming a 1000km enduro somewhere in the mid 80's.

Quote:
First Generation Gemini (1975-1985):
Back to Australia, Bathurst, and the semiannual reenactment of “Death Race 2000”. Some additional results from Sandown. This time using the First Generation Gemini, built during Isuzu’s capacity as “Stooge for GM”. The sister car was the Kadett GTE.

1979 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Bathurst, Class D: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 2 DNFs.
1980 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, Bathurst, Class D: 1st, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 3 DNFs.
1981 James Hardie 1000, Bathurst, Class D: 3rd, and 3 DNFs.
1982 Castrol 400, Sandown, Victoria, Group A: 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and one DNF
1982 James Hardie 1000, Bathurst, Class D, One DNF.
1983 Castrol 400, Sandown, Victoria, under 3000 cc: 4th, 5th.
1983 James Hardie 1000, Bathurst, NSW, Class B: conflicting results, either 4th or 5th.
1985 Castrol 500, Sandown, Victoria, Class C: 3rd.

1981 Australian Touring Car Championship, Isuzu ranked, incomplete information as to position.
1982 Australian Endurance Championship of Makes (5 Races): Isuzu is 6th in points with two wins.



cdtpf60 will be a big help in this regard, he owns one of the Gemini race cars. Pictures are in the Other Makes section.



Quote:
Isuzu Gemini/I-Mark/Kadett, First Generation (1975-1985) – Japan : ?, Australia : ?, Europe : ?, USA : 72,587.


In Australia, the number is WELL over 80,000 units. I have old magazines with figures in there, ill try dig them up sooner or later. Worth nothing that currently over 4000 Geminis are still currently registered in the state of Victoria alone.

Quote:
Japanese Circuit Racing
Possibly slow to start with the new model, but by 1981, Isuzu was back to being well represented on the Japanese circuits.
JAF open competition circuit race results, not divided by class:


I think i may know why. To my limited knowledge, all "early shape" Gemini's were only offered in PF50 or PF60 form - which means powered by the G161 1.6L SOHC or the G180 1.8L SOHC. The second shape [ie square shape] of the first gen Geminis eventually became availible in PF60E form, which saw the fitment of an LSD diff, 4wheel disc brakes and most notable, the G180W DOHC EFI engine producing 97kw. Wouldve made a BIG different on the circuit [considering pre-ADR [not sure what Japans EPA laws were like] G161's made a paltry 61kw SAE]

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Daily 78 Isuzu Gemini Sedan, stock G161z, Rodeo EFI, 500hp roller, 157rwkw. Fun :D


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:49 pm 

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Location: Victoria BC Canada
on the subject of whether we should eliminate the brand specific subforums altogether...

You could eliminate the subforums, and implement a "tag" system where the poster could tag his post with datsun, isuzu, toyota (throw all the brands in there, tags are cheap), then the posts could be sorted easily if anybody is looking for a specific brand, or just all viewed at once. It scales with user traffic alot better than the subforum system. Im not a forums engineer but I've seen this on a non-car forum and it worked pretty well.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:23 pm 
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Now there's some ppl who know a lot about Isuzus :D

FWIW I'm reasonably certain that in the period just before the Hakosuka GT-R came out, the Bellet GTs were outclassing the S54B Prince Skylines in Japanese racing but I need to check that.

You don't need to convince me about the worth of Isuzus, there's room in my collection for an early 117 :D

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:19 am 
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First off, JT191, a VERY well writen post mate.
You put the Isuzu history in the light it has always deserved, and I agree that's it's a real shame that others aren't as interested in what was/is what while most of us Isuzu-heads know the history/s of the other car companies, adding that Isuzu really blazed a trail for many others to follow, and that Isuzu forced other car companies to lift their game to keep up with the opposition....

The Bellett GT was also raced in Australia, but as it was classified as a "GT Sports" car, it wasn't allowed to race at the Bathurst race, as this was exclusivly for "Touring/Saloon" cars. The GT did pretty well for itself here too, with one notable race been the "Rothmans 12 Hour" endruance race at the old 3.5 MILE Surfers Paradise, Queensland, track. BTW... this ISN'T the same track they now use for the Indycar race here too. Anyway, the Bellett GT covered 402 laps in the 12 hours, was placed 3rd to a Lotus Elan twin cam and a works MGB lightweight, and was 14th outright in a field of 39 starters. The overall race winner was a Ferrari 250LM that covered 498 laps. In all, considering this GT was an early PR90 OHV engine car and not a later model GT-R twin cam and with the competition it had in the race, it was a very good result.

I'd just like to correct a few small points posted by JT191 and F3ARED though...
There were actually 170,737 Belletts built in Japan, for the local Japanese market and some exported-to countries (like here in Australia). This build number (from what I can work out) probably doesn't include those cars built from CKD form in Canada, as left hand drive, and New Zealand.
Added to this, it seems that the countries that got both sedan's and GT's had all of their cars built in Japan and fully imported, but those that didn't get GT's, like Canada and NZ, assembled their own sedans.
BTW, the 170,737 Japanese figure also includes the total GT build number of 17,439 cars.
The Bathurst race was originally held at the Phillip Island, Victoria, circuit (the same circuit as the MotoGP bikes now use) in 1960, and was a 500 MILE (800 KM) race. The circuit is about 4.5 KM long.
The race was moved to the "Mt. Panorama" circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales in 1963, and was still a 500 MILE (800KM) race. This circuit is about 6.2 KM long.
When Australia went to the metric system in 1972-1973, the race was then changed in length in 1973 to a 1000KM (621 MILE) race. This change was also brought about by the cars getting faster each year, meaning that the race was taking less time each year, and as TV was now playing a bigger role in these events, a longer TV coverage was needed.
Hence, the Bathurst race has NEVER been a 500KM race, but... the Phillip Island race's future is about to change. Please read on.
A small factiod with the Bathurst 1000 is that in 1979, this race was the FIRST in the world to have live TV coverage from inside the car during a race. While we take live race images in all forms of motorsport for granted these days, and while others had mounted cameras to cars to film a recording while driving to view later, LIVE images and sound had never been done before so that the audience could see the action as it happened. The first car to have this technology was an RA40 Celica twin cam driven by Peter Williamson, so that's an interesting JNC racing fact in itself.
Racing Bellett's have seen some well known at the time drivers, as well as some others that later become well known. These include, other than the mentioned John Sprinzel, Bruce McLaren, who drove a sedan in England (albeit in testing). Bathurst in particular saw Bellett's driven by race winners in other years including Colin Bond (1969 winner, who had alot of success in Bellett's in race and rally) and George Reynolds (1964 winner). Rally ace Barry Ferguson also drove one with alot of success.

I think the confusion over the race distance is caused by the traditional long distance race that is seen as a lead up to Bathurst, that being (what has been until this year) the Sandown 500. This is a 500KM (312 MILE) race. When the race was first held in the early 1960's, it started out as the Sandown 250 MILE (402 KM) race, changed it's name to the Sandown 400 in 1973 (to keep in with the metric conversion of the day), and was the increased in length in 1984 to the Sandown 500, for reasons similar to the increased Bathurst length.
Now, just to confuse things a little... the Sandown race left the Sandown track (in suburban Melbourne, Victoria) in the late 1990 and went to the "Willowbank" track in Ipswitch, Queensland for a few years, then returned to Sandown for a few more, and is now to the Phillip Island track, still as a 500KM (312 MILE) race. So, in a sort of round-about way, the Phillip Island 500 is back on the radar again!!

Hope this explains a little more.
Brett.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:58 am 

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Willowbank is a dragstrip. Queensland 500 was at Queensland Raceway though for a couple of years.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:27 am 
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Location: australia
greet post jt191
the race car i own is the car that features in a few of your results
1 bathurst 1981 3rd in clss d (also finished one place infront of the great peter brock)
2 bathurst 1982 dnf(raced with a stock 70'000k motor from a local wrecker the race motor blew during practice)
and i think a couple of the sandown races as well(1981 till 1984)

Image
my race car
also in australia there was a gemini series for stock gemini's(i think it's still raced in queensland) that has run since 1976.
gemini's inparticular have a large following in australia as they are a cheap easy car to buy and maintain i've had them on and off for more than twenty years now and still come back to them.
paul


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:22 pm 

Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 6:30 pm
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ive got a mate with a gemini ute. he cut a panno into a ute and put a turbo piazza motor in it that goes PHWOOOOSH when he changes gears and that makes him happy.

the old school car scene in australia is dominated by truck intercoolers, 18in simmons and dump pipes..... its makes me sad cause the yanks have better taste than most aussies when it comes to old jap cars.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:59 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia.
seventhskyline wrote:
Willowbank is a dragstrip. Queensland 500 was at Queensland Raceway though for a couple of years.


... and Willowbank Dragway and Queensland Raceway are all part of the same complex in Ipswitch, just like Eastern Creek Raceway and Western Sydney Dragway are in New South Wales.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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The part about the Bathurst races that made the biggest impression on me was the course. I was unaware the far end went over a mountain. The start/finish and grand stand was the most cruel and gladiatorial thing I had ever seen described. The start is a long straight, leading toward the grand stands, that are placed around a sharp, 90 degree left hand turn. Sharp like you would find at an urban intersection. And the track is not overly wide, maybe a two lane road on teh far side, probably wider in front of the grand stands (based on old pictures and video). They line up 50 cars on that straight, wave the green flag, and everyone drives as fast as they can for that left hand turn. However many cars remain drivable after the giant crash at the start, go on for the rest of the race. There are mentions of drivers being taken out due to hitting kangaroos and lots of problems with hitting walls.
At the very least, Nascar might be like American football, with pads and roll cages, but Australian racing is more like Rugby, toothless grins and all.
One of the Australian car sites explains the popularity of the Bellett was due to its strong acceleration, which would explain survival in the opening sprint at Bathurst.
But is seems a little cruel to banish the GT to a Grand Touring class at almost the same time they opened up Bathurst to the big V8 muscle cars that made all the four cylinder cars noncompetitive.

My numbers for the Bellett and 117 Coupe are from "Isuzu Piazza/117 Coupe/Bellett GT" from Neko Publishing. They give annual numbers for the Bellett from 1963 through 1973, and show 154,337 for Sedan and 17573 for GT, with a total of 171,910. The 117 was not exported, and there seems no mention of export or history of the vehicles in other markets (no LHD cars pictured) leading me to believe these are domestic sales numbers. The Piazza information appears dated to 1980 or 1981, showing only the DOHC and SOHC 2 liter, no turbo or 2.3 liter or mention of the Impulse. The pictures seem to show they had access to corporate information, such as concepts like the Bellett GT Fastback, a five door lift back based on the Sedan, the 117 Hatchback, and both generations of MX1600. It gives me a lot of reasons to believe their numbers. If you know reasons not to, please tell me (I've found some poorly fact checked books in the past, tell me if this one is one also). But at the very least, we have two sets of numbers that are very close, which lends better credibility to a number of "over 170,000" than one source would.

The thing that always stuck out when looking at the situation, if there were not Bellett GT and Bellett GTR, Nissan would not have had nearly as much motivation to build the Prince Skyline up and create their own GTR.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:35 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia.
G'day again JT191.

I know where you are coming from with the Bathurst course layout.
As the road is actually a public road that is closed off for the racing, that means the general public can drive around it at any other time and get a feel for the place.
I been around the track a few times now, and believe me, it looks daunting in pics and on the TV, but the real life experience is something else!! The rises and falls in the road are much more severe, the track really is only 2 cars wide in some places, and the walls do get very close!! Mind you, I was only driving around it at 60KMH (the advertised public speed limit that is enforced WITHOUT MERCY by the local police!!), and it was hard enough to maintain 60 in some places where the corners are very tight, so I can only image as too what it would be like at racing speed with 50 other cars around you...

My numbers are what I've read in a couple of different places on the net, one being the Toyota Muesum in Japan that have a couple of Bellett's, but as we both know, if it's been posted on the net in one place with an incorrect number, then that may have been copied to elsewhere.
I'd say that with the info you've described in your book, what with the access to the concept info that the author had, then those numbers would have to be as accurate as could be found today. And many thanks for sharing them too!!
I do agree that the number would be around the over 170,000 number we have both stated, as the numbers are too similar to be to far wrong.

A couple of small questions JT191... Would you know where I could get a copy of the book you have as a reference?? I'd love a copy, as things like that with definite Bellett info are hard to find.
Also, if possible, could you possibly post up here the yearly build numbers that your book has for the Bellett sedan, GT, GT-R, etc., as well?? I'd really appreciate info like that.
And lastly, I think most of us Isuzu-heads have seen the GT Fastback at some stage, but I know I've never seen a pic of the 5 door sedan liftback. If possible, could you post that pic up as well?? Again, I'd be very appreciative.

I couldn't agree more with your comment on how much influence the GT and GT-R had on the rest of the Japan companies, especially Datsun/Nissan. While Nissan gained the Skyline GT when it bought out Prince before the Bellett GT-R was a reality, and both the Bellett GT and the Skyline GT got better as they went along, I still don't think Nissan would have gone down road as far as they did with the Skyline GTR project to gain the dominance it had if Isuzu hadn't of been as successful with the Bellett GT-R.

Well done on the info you have found. It's fantastic to have contact with an enthusiast who has the Isuzu passion as bad as me!!

Cheers.
Brett.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:44 pm 
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Thanks to all the Isuzu passion and love here, there is now an Isuzu section :D

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:02 pm 

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Too good. Thanks Kev.

Now we just need to fill it up/do some posts so it doesnt go to waste :D

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:15 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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Location: Midwest, USA
Neko used to have the book listed on their website, but I don't see it. They seem to be pushing their magazines now, and not their books, or I'm getting less talented at rooting out information.
http://www.neko.co.jp/index.php
They were running magazine advertisements in Old Timer, or one of the other magazines, for this book a couple years ago.

Amazon Japan has it:
http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%81%84%E3%81 ... 17&sr=11-1

The annual numbers (does not indicate production or sales):
Year Sedan GT Total
1963 6638 --- 6638
1964 29341 691 30032
1965 23924 2821 26745
1966 30753 2456 33209
1967 19425 1873 21298
1968 14273 1693 15966
1969 14317 2761 17078
1970 4937 1461 6398
1971 4129 1858 5987
1972 4229 1523 5752
1973 2371 436 2807
Total 154337 17573 171910

There is an asterisk on the GT total and the note says: 349 Fast Backs and 1400 GTRs.

Tochigi Isuzu has their own version of these numbers, but they round up and down to the even ten for the annual numbers:
Image
This is obviously a little less precise. It may be derived from the book information, since the asterisk for the GT numbers is the same, and strangely more exact numbers that are not rounded to the ten.

I'll have to pass on posting the copyrighted images.
I did not know the production Fastback fell under GT, it looks taller, and I thought it was an offshoot of the Sedan. The production Fastback has the concave rear slope, large triangular rear side window, and different rear quarter panels. The trunk looks higher, with the upwardly angled tailgate and three round tail lights. The small picture in the book appears to be an earlier prototype, with the GT rear quarter panel that slopes downward toward the rear bumper. The shape of the rear windows and slope of the back is totally different. It looks like a standard GT with a 1967 Mustang Fastback rear cabin. The side window is much smaller and trapezoidal, with three louver vents behind the window on the C pillar. The roof line slopes in a long curve from the apex at the B pillar all the way to the rear edge of the trunk. The rear window is at least a foot longer with a much shorter metal panel between the bottom of the window and the edge of the rear hatch. It appears to open in a true hatchback, into the passenger compartment, not a trunk below the window, but a hatch with the window set into the hatch. There are other pictures more like the production Fastback, which have the hatchback instead of the trunk also.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:30 am 
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JT191 wrote:
I'll have to pass on posting the copyrighted images...


As long as you give full credit to where the images came from, you should be fine. Copyright law exists to keep you from making a profit on someone's photos, not showing them. :tu:


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:56 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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datsunfreak wrote:
JT191 wrote:
I'll have to pass on posting the copyrighted images...


As long as you give full credit to where the images came from, you should be fine. Copyright law exists to keep you from making a profit on someone's photos, not showing them. :tu:


Plagiarism would be citing sources and giving credit. Copyright requires permission from the original creator. It exists not to prevent someone else from making profit, but to make sure the original creator is not deprived of his profit. So it does not matter if someone else is making profit, if the original creator has not been given permission and possibly paid for the use, then it is an issue.

If this were an academic paper, copyright would not be an issue, just citing the source. But the internet is publishing, and everything posted ends up on a thousand websites and saved to a thousand hard drives.

I'll let someone else take the chances, to me it's not the possibility of getting in trouble, it's sympathy with the artist.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:32 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 9:26 am
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JT191 wrote:

(RE: Bellett R6):
At least one of these cars was acquired by Kataoka Racing Service (KRS), and may have been campaigned as a “KRS Special” from 1973 through 1976. There are three entries for this vehicle in 1976, but no wins. KRS went on as a factory Isuzu supported race team with all three generations of Gemini, and currently hosts the KRS Battle Royal series, at which JNC writers are surprised to see Geminis and Belletts.

(RE: Conclusion):
It’s worth mentioning again that Kataoka Racing Service currently runs a historic racing series basically built around the Bellett and Gemini. Not exactly surprising knowing that KRS was a factory supported racing team for Isuzu.


It seems I must correct my own error and state that I was incorrectly critical of the surprise others expressed with seeing Belletts and Geminis in the KRS Battle Royal races.

In researching the 2008 Time Machine Festival at Fuji Raceway last March, it came to my attention that there are two racing companies identified as "KRS". I had to resort to journal entries and business cards to get this straightened out.
Kataoka Racing Service is located in Nishiwaki City, near Central Circuit. They host the Battle Royal historic races. Their website shows they have built many first and second generation Geminis for racing. But, they are apparently not the same KRS that operated as a factory backed racing team in the late 60's and early 70's.
Katsuyuki Racing Service, owned by Aoki Katsuyuki, with their office in Kamakura City and their garage across the street from Fuji Speedway's main entrance, is the company that was a factory backed racing team, and currently has many of the more prized goodies from the Isuzu racing program.[/u]


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:21 pm 
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JT191 wrote:
Plagiarism would be citing sources and giving credit

i hope you meant plagiarism would be not citing souces and not giving credit?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:34 pm 
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Wow... Were you bored? :P


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