Hooniverse Weekend Edition – A 1964 Isuzu Bellel Diesel Sedan

This is a continuation of the Hooniverse Interesting Project Car weekend, and it’s time to take a look at the rarest car of the weekend, a 1964 Isuzu Bellel Diesel Sedan. I know what most of you are thinking right now… But Jim, isn’t that suppose to ba an Isuzu Bellett? Why no it isn’t, and according to Wikipedia:

The Isuzu Bellel was an intermediate car manufactured by Isuzu Motors Ltd. in Japan from 1961 to 1966. It was the company’s first independent design, and also Japan’s first passenger car with a diesel engine. It was available as a 4-door sedan and a 4-door station wagon.

So one has to wonder how an Isuzu found its way to these shores, as they were quite rare with left-hand drive in the first place (There were over 37,000 produced in total). So let’s discover the Isuzu Bellel Diesel Sedan from 1964. Again, taken from the Wikipedia Entry:

The Bellel was fitted with 1.5L and 2.0L gasoline OHV engines, and also the aforementioned 55HP 2.0L diesel engine. There was also a lesser 1.6L diesel with 52HP available. Both Diesel engines used a fuel injection system that was a licensed Bosch unit. All engines were mated with a four-speed manual transmission with the shifter mounted on the steering column. The suspension setup was modeled after the Hillman Minx, which was previously manufactured by Isuzu under a license agreement with the Rootes Group.

These cars were very popular as taxicabs, which offset its rather poor reception with the buying public because of its unusual styling. Initially, the Bellels had quite original, triangular taillights, but these were dropped during a 1965 facelift in an attempt to afford the Bellel a more formal, upscale and mainstream look. I kind of like the tail lamps myself. According to the listing, the car is complete, but is not currently running. It is in fair overall condition, but would require a full and extensive restoration. There is a small rust perforation in right rear quarter panel, otherwise corrosion is confined to surfaces. The majority of the engine mechanical parts are still available since the 2 liter diesel engine was very popular in industrial applications, as well as forklifts. If you ask me, this would be like finding a needle in a haystack, but to each their own. This is a car that will never be a true collectible, and chassis parts will be very hard to come by. However, since the suspension pieces are modeled after the Hillman Minx, maybe you can get brake parts, wheel bearings, and other suspension pieces from that model to bring it all up to code. As far as the transmission, that too might work with a Rootes Group substitute (clutch, clutch cable, and such). If you can source a 2.0L Isuzu industrial diesel, it might just drop into the engine compartment. If you can do all that, this might just be a great 24-Hours-of-LeMons racecar, with an engine that will last the entire race, while everything else disintegrates all around it. Asking price is $500, which is right in the budget parameters, and your team will be heros fielding a seldom seen sedan that is not from France, or the former iron curtain countries. An IOE winna for sure. See the eBay listing and see if you agree with me.

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