Word of the Day: Isuzu Bellett GT-R

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jan 10, 2020 | Word of the Day, Isuzu Bellet GT-R

Flat-black hood, a pair of side-draft carbs and a twin-cam head atop a 1600cc bottom end. Meet the Isuzu Bellett GT-R, released in 1969 and only produced through the following year. 

Isuzu only built about 1400 units, with none officially sent to the U.S.–other than the ones found in Gran Turismo. We found one for sale stateside, though, for $34,500.



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Duke MegaDork
1/10/20 8:23 a.m.

Kind of like the Miata is the best little British roadster ever made, I kind of always thought of the Bellett GT-R as the best little Italian sedan ever made.


1/10/20 8:25 a.m.

Man, Isuzu is one of those brands I shouldn't love but do, and I constantly search for a 1st gen Impulse because apparently I love pain. Must be because the brand had so much promise but could never seem to get off the ground.

It looks like the start to what we called the "Buick Opel" here in the states (if that makes any sense) and the Gemini in 'Straya.

pointofdeparture GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/10/20 8:41 a.m.

Isuzu made a lot of stunning products that we never saw Stateside. The Giugiaro-penned 117 Coupe is a personal favorite of mine.

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
1/10/20 9:04 a.m.

Dang David!

You are making some stellar choices with these "word of the day" posts. Keep it up.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/10/20 9:12 a.m.

In reply to Jumper K Balls (Trent) :

Thank you. Glad to hear that you have been enjoying them. Look for more next week. Same topic? Something different? Guess we'll see where they go. smiley

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/10/20 9:18 a.m.

I love Isuzu. They made such random stuff over the years. I'm still waiting on that one guy to finish swapping his RX-8 with an Isuzu V6.

1/10/20 1:12 p.m.

Back I in the late 1960's my friend rallied with us in an Isuzu Bellet... very heavy and strong car...bullet proof... they used their truck components to build the Bellet...amazingly tough car... crazy rear suspension...as the rear wheels would tuck in when unweighted.... often wondered what happened to those cars...

car was unique, reliable and very comfortable compared to my 69 beetle...lol

Knurled. GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/10/20 1:22 p.m.

Man, Isuzu is one of those brands I shouldn't love but do, and I constantly search for a 1st gen Impulse because apparently I love pain.

I had a Turbo.  Looked gorgeous.  Which was great, because it never ran for more than minutes at a time before something failed catastrophically.

Years later, was riding somewhere with friends and I saw a Turbo on the road.  Black with tan interior, just like my moneypit was.  "Look, an Impulse just like mine!"

"That one's not just like yours, it's running!"  Low blow, man...


pointofdeparture GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/10/20 1:59 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

Isuzu really managed to do a remarkable amount with the GM parts bin they were increasingly forced to work with as time went on, but much like Saab after them, the less that Isuzu was allowed to be Isuzu, the more their products ultimately suffered...

Knurled. GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/10/20 2:13 p.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

Interestingly the main issue with the car was the Isuzu engine.  The cylinder head was poorly engineered, as it had two exhaust ports in the center of the engine like a Kettering design V8 (think practically every GM V8 designed in the 1950s).  Back then they did this for a good exhaust heat crossover under the intake manifold.  Not necessary for an inline, crossflow engine... that had EFI... and a turbo.  It kept cracking heads at 2 and 3 exhaust ports due to all the heat.


What was funny is that it had EGR, fed by a separate pipe.  Not an internal passage, which is the normal reason for running two exhaust ports next to each other.


I tried to make it work, I really did, but I gave up after several years and much money.  Seeing EvanB​​'s Kadetts is difficult, because they superficially remind me of the Impulse.


This may also be part of why I have a soft spot for Chevettes, too.

pointofdeparture GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/10/20 2:27 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

Yeah, that is...something. Some reading indicates that the Impulse/Piazza 4ZC1 engine was derived from some kind of van. Seems like a lot of issues were solved with the DOHC 4XE1 engines (but then the GM parts bin engineering really took hold on the rest of the cars).

impulsive Reader
1/10/20 9:05 p.m.

Buried in a closet somewhere I have a few model kits of this car still in the shrink wrap.



There was a pair of diesel sedans on Tucson CL not that long ago.

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