Isuzu Bellel

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Isuzu Bellel. 1961–7 (prod. 37,206). 4-door sedan, 5-door wagon. F/R, 1491, 1991 cm³ petrol, 1991, 1999 cm³ diesel (I4 OHV). Isuzu’s first independent design, though mechanically inspired by Rootes products that they had assembled under licence beforehand. Larger than the earlier Hillman Minxes, with seating for six, rivalling the likes of the Prince Gloria. Never that popular, with design flaws and serious quality problems, including failed engine mounts and leaks. Styling dated quickly as the larger manufacturers launched new-generation sedans. Launched very gradually, but the faults were not remedied till 1963. First use of a diesel engine in a mass-market passenger car in Japan, but the units were harsh and noisy, due to their truck origins, and by the time Toyota and Nissan came out with LPG-powered models for taxi fleets, Isuzu lost that market. Minor refreshes in 1963 and 1964; major facelift in 1965 with more formal front end, but by then rivals were introducing OHC sixes and more standard equipment.

Manufacturing location: Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan

Marque: Isuzu | Successor: Isuzu Florian (117)

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