Kidney anyone? Well, not quite, as I bet this pair of Isuzu Bellels can be had for a song. Wait, wait! Before all you Toyota and Nissan geeks shrug this one off as just another boring Isuzu no one wants, you should know that the Bellel was the first passenger car to carry the Isuzu name, after they built the Hillman Minx in the 1950s. It was also Japan’s first passenger car to run with a diesel powerplant.
So as vintage Japanese cars go, the Bellel carries quite a bit of history. Note that both examples here are left hand drive. Data on how many were imported to North America is less than foggy, but these show up from time to time in mostly despicable condition. The seller estimates there are less than 10 left in the country, so you can potentially corner the market with 20 percent of the US supply!
The seller here, however, claims that both run, and with a little TLC I bet the black one would make a nice driver and conversation piece. Parts for the DL200/201 diesel engines are just about impossible to find, which makes knowing that both cars are allegedly in running condition even more appealing.
Though one still wears a California black plate, these are located in Oracle, Arizona. I’d be bidding myself if my Isuzu garage was not already bursting at the seams!
Guest Writer Bart Wilkus is founder of IsuzuGeek.org, a Japanese nostalgic truck enthusiast, and owner of an incredible Isuzu Impulse RS Turbo Special Edition.
“Before all you Toyota and Nissan geeks shrug this one off as just another boring Isuzu no one wants” This Toyota geek wouldn’t dream of saying a single unkind word about Isuzu. They rock! 😀
yeah! a bad thing that they didn’t continue on making cars though…
That’s very cool of you to say. But you know how it is. No love for the underdog! With all the discussion lately about the value and collectability of vintage Japanese cars, I find it interesting how certain makes (like Isuzu) still sit on the sidelines, just waiting to be appreciated (or crushed). But I suppose its only natural, as Isuzu was never really a popular make anyhow, and their early import numbers are far less than Toyota, Datsun/Nissan and Honda. What I think is funny however, is how the Chevy LUV (which is just a rebadged Isuzu KB pickup) has a pretty big following, most likely due to the external façade that it is a Chevrolet. I don’t think the same amount of appreciation would exist if the tailgate read ISUZU instead of CHEVROLET. But that could also be the cynic in me coming out too. LOL
As far as Isuzu goes, I predict the 1st generation Isuzu Trooper will become a future collectible SUV, and obviously the Giugiaro designed Impuse/Piazza JR as well, as they become rarer and rarer. And I am still waiting to get my grubby mits on a clean, early I-Mark diesel coupe. I had to let at least three slip through my fingers over the past couple years, and that will likely be the case until I move and have more garage space. :/
The reason the Luv gets all the love is that back in the day they were popular to modify. There were kits available to swap in the ever popular small block Chevy and so it was to mini trucks what the Vega was to subcompacts. Interestingly though, the similar Ford Courier (mostly a Mazda under the skin) did not share the same popularity and is largely forgotten today.
As far as the Impulse/Piazza is concerned, it was mostly a GM T car (Chevette, I Mark, T-1000 and the multitude of other vehicles built on this chassis around the world) under the surface. Unfortunately, while pretty to look at, it never got the reputation that other small sporty cars got and was seen as an also ran. It’s much like a Hyundai Scoupe turbo (with a 4G61t under the hood) would be seen today. This is not to say it lacks it’s good points but that most people who have them do not know enough to want to save them. Unfortunately, people tend to collect what others collect and most do not dare step beyond the social convention until others pave the way to make it acceptable.
Unfortunately, the first generation Trouper had a habit of puking out their rear axel seals at about the 3 year point.
I have 2 1983 and 84 isuzu imark diesels and a 1984 isuzu impulse 5 speed for sale call ryan at 443-783-0795.
Nice looking machine, they look similar to a same vintage Simca.
Let’s not forget that in addition to the Chevy LUV packup Isuzu also made the misnamed [not made by Germany’s OPEL] so called OPEL for Buick in the 1980s.
Indeed, and the Opel by Isuzu would technically be a 1st gen Isuzu Gemini elsewhere in the world, while the early I-Marks would be 2nd gen Geminis. There’s a thread going on here for an Opel restore:
And I have seen this car in person. Its pretty damn cool, and probably damn near as rare as the above Bellels. Definitely something to watch for in the future!
So restore the black one as best as possible, and do a light-custom (bolt-ons only – no cutting/paint/interior) on the primer one.
I see it as white, with a sliver roof and mesh wheels, with either a black or red interior.
Driveline maybe gets pulled to keep for parts for the black one?
Where does one find the glass for these?
Just takes money…
Yeah, that would be my angle. Restore the black one, keep the other one for parts and as yard art. The problem is, I have no angle on these at all right now. Wife gave me the big, “No way, buddy”. 🙂
Wow what a find!
The historical aspects of it alone are an outstanding feature and I am certain that it doesn’t appeal to only Isuzu fans.
When I look at this car I also see a little bit of Pug here and there, but what about Humber Super Snipe – yeh go on trash me but think about it before you do; Isuzu did build the Hillman from Rootes Group…
So please somebody who has a better bigger wallet than I rescue these beauties.
in malta we had these isuzu as taxis. im an autoelectrician and with all the technology of today the bellel was the only car that shows a light under the fuse when the fuse is blown im a toyota geek but when i saw the bellel it brought me back to when i was a kid
So is there plenty of these cars in Malta still?
OMG, they sold for $1500. 🙁 I hope at least one of them ends up on the lawn next year at JCCS. If this winning bidder is reading this, get in touch!