Isuzu Bellett Reviews from Australia and New Zealand

1964 Isuzu Bellett 1500 1.6 twin cam

Year of manufacture1964
First year of ownership1995
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.6 twin cam Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired86000 miles
Most recent distance135000 miles
Previous carHolden Brougham

Summary:

A very quick head turner

Faults:

The car is modified so it is driven quite hard, the only recent problem I have had is a rear driver's side wheel bearing that failed in 2001, but that's OK as it was 37 years old. But as a matter of course I did both rear bearings at the same time.

General Comments:

The car is fitted with a later 1600 twin cam engine from a 1970 Bellett. It is also fitted with a GT Bellett gearbox and disc brakes. The suspension is lowered with heavy springs fitted. The little car has a top speed of 210 KPH and handles very well. It is painted French blue with two white stripes down the centre.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th January, 2002

1964 Isuzu Bellett Sedan 1.5 in-line OHV four cylinder

Year of manufacture1964
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.5 in-line OHV four cylinder Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired64000 miles
Most recent distance75000 miles
Previous carHolden Gemini

Summary:

The king of old-school Japanese classics

Faults:

The starter motor was already klaptus when I bought the car, and eventually died not long after purchase. Not to worry, I bolted a piece of cardboard over the hole where it went, and started the car using the crank handle supplied! There was a hole in the bumper that lead through to a widget on the front of the crank for this purpose, and the numberplate was hinged. Came in very handy. A new starter was eventually sourced and fitted.

Other than that, the car NEVER EVER broke down, despite poor maintenance.

The thermostat housing was badly corroded and towards the end of it's life, it leaked water hugely, but even when the temperature reached soaring heights, the head never warped or died, and the little thing just kept plugging along.

Gears were graunchy due to a worn column shift mechanism.

Brake lights stopped working and never worked again.

General Comments:

The Isuzu Bellett is an amazing little car.

The 1964 model looks the best, and mine came with a 4-speed column shift and a bench seat. It was also a pre-seat belt model, so the trick is to hold on through tight corners.

The Bellett handles like it's stuck to the road, even with 13" 75 series tyres, the IRS rear end held tenaciously to the bends, but only on full throttle. The weak who lift off through the corners caused their own demise.

I saw my friend (and Bellett co-owner) hung a corner so hard, that the inside rear wheel lifted some 5 inches off the ground, and yet he took the corner with no drift whatsoever, such is the cornering power of these little sedans.

While the column-shift wasn't the smoothest of actions, it was really, really cool - especially in summer with the windows down. The coolness factor was huge.

The bench seat in the front allowed the car to carry six passengers. Of course, it would help if we were all 1960's 4' tall Japanese people and not 1990's 6' tall Aussies, but you get that.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th September, 2001

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 2 reviews