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Isuzu Bellett

Carpedia  ·  November 7, 2021

Isuzu Bellett

When you hear the word Isuzu, what car comes to mind right away? The D-Max and their utes, of course! Back in the day (the early 60s to be exact), it would be the compact Bellett.

The Japanese automaker has been manufacturing cars for more than a century, and during all these years, we’ve seen some pretty interesting designs. The Isuzu Bellett is undoubtedly one of the most exciting models in the company's portfolio.

Isuzu introduced this compact car nearly six decades ago, and aside from its attractive styling, it was also characterised by some very interesting technical solutions, even revolutionary in some way. 

The model was offered in Australia as well, either as a sedan or a coupe, for almost eight years.

The First Generation of Isuzu Bellett (1964-1971)

The development of Isuzu Bellett started in the early 1960s. The company wanted to offer a new compact car, which would replace the good-old Hillman Minx, which was produced under the license of Rootes Group. 

At the time, the main competition were models from Toyota and Nissan, but Isuzu engineers designed a car that was more upscale than its domestic rivals. This car could compete with European models as well. 

The Australian version was on the offer between 1964 and 1971. The replacement came in the form of Isuzu Gemini, which was based on GM’s well-known T-car.

Design of the Isuzu Bellett

The Isuzu Bellett originally came as a small sedan with a design that was typical for the time. By Japanese standards, this model was a mid-size car, but in other parts of the world, it was considered a compact car. 

That’s not surprising since the car measures just around 2,350 mm in the wheelbase with an overall length of only 4,032 mm.

Some design solutions are typical for the era. For example, the car features drum brakes on both axles. But things start to get exciting when it comes to the suspension setup. 

In this aspect, the Isuzu Bellett was more advanced than its Japanese rivals, particularly with the rear axle, which combined independent coil springs with a transverse leaf. That’s quite an interesting piece of engineering, even today.

Isuzu Bellett Dimensions


Isuzu offered the initial sedan version with a couple of different powertrain options. In some markets, the small sedan was equipped with a 1.3-litre petrol engine, while a 1.8-litre diesel was available too. 

On the other hand, the Australian model came with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit paired to a 4-speed manual gearbox. The official numbers are unavailable, but we estimate the max output to be between 37 and 40kW.

Isuzu Bellett Engine Specs

Updates to the Isuzu Bellett

Thanks to the combination of attractive styling, advanced technical solutions, and good overall performance, the Isuzu Bellett became very popular, beating key rivals like Toyota Corona and Nissan Bluebird. Both these models are legends, so beating them in their own game is not an easy feat, not at all!

Body Style

This encouraged Isuzu to do some interesting updates and include new body styles. Soon enough, we saw a coupe version and a coupe ute variant of the same car, but the latter wasn't offered in Australia.

The coupe version came in 1965 as the Isuzu Bellett GT, an enhanced model with a different rear-end design. It was also lower by about 40 millimetres. 

Suspension & Engine

Another notable difference was in terms of brakes, as the front axle was equipped with discs. 

Of course, the most significant upgrade was a bigger, 1.6-litre petrol engine (max output of 45kW), which was significantly upgraded soon after with a max output of 66 kW.

Other Updates

The Australian Isuzu Bellet GT debuted as a 1966 model, which wasn't the only update for this model year. Another big novelty was the addition of a 3-speed automatic transmission for the sedan version.

The next update was in 1968 when the Deluxe version was introduced in Australia. This version arrived with more features and upgraded styling that included several unique styling details. By 1969, the Deluxe trim remained the only one in the offer for the Australian market. 

The GT was discontinued the same year in Australia, and it's a real shame that we didn't have a chance to get an upgraded version of its 1.6-litre engine, which came with a max output of 70 kW. Furthermore, the 1970 Isuzu Bellett GT featured a bigger 1.8-litre engine, with a max output of 85 kW.

The Isuzu Bellett was officially discontinued in 1971 and replaced with Isuzu Gemini.

Isuzu Bellett GT-R

The GT-R is another interesting version that didn’t find its way to the Australian market. This was a racing version of the standard GT model with several exclusive features. It came with upgraded suspension and brakes, a unique paint job, and an engine borrowed directly from the 117 Coupe.

This model was originally designed for racing, but the company was taking individual orders as well. Around 1,400 GT-Rs were sold around the globe, or so we heard.

Isuzu Bellett MX1600 Concept

The Isuzu Bellett MX1600 was one of the craziest things we’ve ever seen from this Japanese manufacturer. This concept car debuted at the 1969 Tokyo Motor Show, and it was one of the first supercars we saw from Japan. 

The model used the same 1.6-litre engine from the GT-R but featured a completely different layout. Like a proper supercar, it featured just two seats, a mid-engine and rear-wheel drive. Interestingly, it came with the rear-hand drive design.

The MX1600 was designed by Tom Tjaarda, who worked for legendary design studios like Ghia, Pininfarina and Italdesign. So, it’s no wonder that this striking supercar concept displays a lot of influence from Italian sports cars of that era. 

The second concept car came next year, with subtle changes at the front end. Unfortunately, it remained just a concept and never entered serial production.

Do you have a Bellett that you want to sell?

The Isuzu Bellett is now a classic car, though not among the most desirable ones. However, a well-preserved example, especially a coupe version, can easily reach five figures. So, if you want to advertise your Isuzu Bellett for sale in Australia, you can do that on our website

On the other hand, if you own one and need some parts for it, we can probably help you with that. We have a network of wreckers who will be only too happy to check their stocks for you. If they have the parts you need, they’ll send you a quote. Easy does it, right? Send a request now!

By Nebojsa Grmusa

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