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Belletts Nationals in Issue 395 of Unique Cars 
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:15 am
Posts: 1974
Car(s): 1965 Wasp, 1966 Bellett sedan, 1966 RatBellett sedan, 1967 Bellett GT, 1978 Gemini van, 1994 LS400, 2004 VY SS Sandman
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Hey guys,

Let me tell you a little story. Back when I got into Belletts, it was about 1997 and I was around 19 years old. Myself and Ross Smith (2ldohc) had gone halves in a clapped out 1967 Auto which had been traded in at a Subaru dealership in Verdun in the Adelaide Hills.

We paid $100 each for it, knocked the dealership down by $100 and drove it away with rego. I will point out that I'd lost my license for dangerous driving a few weeks earlier, but we won't go into that.

I wanted to learn more about this strange little car. Together we bought two more which eventually became parts and since then I've bought and sold a few more.

Every month, I would buy Unique Cars magazine and check straight away if there was a Bellett article in there, but there never was. Never a road test, resto story or history piece. Nothing, zero, zip.

Over the years, I came to realise that Belletts just aren't on the radar; even when people are talking about the weird, strange, eclectic and forgotten, Belletts barely rated a mention.

In 2010, myself and the aforementioned Ross decided to set up an importing business, Garage of Awesome. We thought that with the dollar good against the US, we'd make a killing, quit our jobs and drive around in cool cars.

Well needless to say, working a small business around your normal daily life isn't that easy and it didn't help that the Australian government's malaise when it came to processing import applications almost broke us.

Wanting to ensure people kept returning to the site, I decided I would start writing articles and uploading them every few days. I also wanted to educate, inform and entertain, styling my writing a bit like "Cracked.com", but with cars.

After about three years of articles on everything from cars we'd spied for sale, cars we'd spotted in real life and 'list' pieces on the various machines that we'd come across on our Internet travels, a mate of mine suggested I apply to Telf from Street Machine as he was looking for fresh contributors.

I got the gig and wrote an article on a Divco van that had been converted into a streeter with monstrous V8 and rear wheels that were, wait for it, 20in by 20in! A small piece on a 27 litre Merlin-powered lawnmower followed and the rest is history; I've now written 44 articles for Street Machine that have been sent to print!

This also opened the door for Unique Cars, for whom I wrote about the Bay to Birdwood last year, followed by five more articles including this latest one; the six-pager on the Bellett Nationals in Albury.

So finally, I can open a copy of Unique Cars and find an article on the mighty Bellett; and not a small article either. It took some negotiation to get the six pages, plus a shortened deadline which meant I put in a couple of late nights.

I'm immensely proud to have this article printed and I'm very happy about the people who have been featured.

As discussed previously, I did send Unique Cars copious photos and I'm not in editorial control of what they run or where they run it.

Also I would like to point out that the more beautiful Belletts of this nation have received the odd photo when combined with a NSW or Queensland show; mainly because the clubs in those states are so active and get out to plenty of events.

I wrote up several "It's Mine" breakouts and requested Unique Cars run as many as they could, because they're all deserving of having their cars in the sun.

Belinda Wild - a third generation Bellett enthusiast, her '69 Deluxe is a rare car in a rare colour in a rare condition! I wanted to include her as she represents the next generation of enthusiasts for these cars which, sadly, is an ever diminishing amount of people.

Stickman - one of the Bellett world's greatest characters. He has driven more miles in his Bellett in the last few years he's had it than some will travel in theirs EVER. His enthusiasm for getting in and driving his car is unbounded. There is nobody in the world who wants to drive for as far and as long, then finish the day sleeping in the Bellett he just drove a thousand miles in!

Terry Hill - bought two cars worth of bits; one sedan and one GT, then worked out how to put it all together himself with no prior car restoration knowledge. His PR90 is not the tidiest PR90 in the world and it's got some wrong bits, but without him, there would be one less PR90 in the world and his car would still be in bits or pressed flat by now.

The Smith Brothers - the most enthusiastic Bellett family in the world, surely. I wanted those boys to get some exposure, because they've been there since day one and are still there today.

Gary Carter - another bloke who has been there since day one, he's one of my favourite characters. His incredible stories and vehicle knowledge makes him a pleasure to see every year. I'm jealous that Matt Smith lives so close to Gary and can experience the insanity of his conversation more often than most. Most of all, featuring Gary gave an opportunity to give some exposure to the rare Isuzu 117 Coupe, illustrating that Bellett enthusiasm is far from capped at Belletts only!

I also sent an "It's Mine" on Glenn Percy's Bellett 1800 Sport; not only has Glenn been around these cars for a long time, his Bellett Sport two-door sedan is something else we've never seen and is (almost) a one-of-a-kind in this country, however editorial limitations meant that Unique Cars did not run it.

Although every person's car was photographed, not every photo got run in the article. All the main award winners got a mention which is important, but I also had to dedicate words to the experience and the history of the event, something one doesn't have to do if they're covering a Mustang event for the billionth time.

So go out and get a copy; it's the largest Bellett article I've seen since Tom Amos and Brett Wild respectively had their cars covered in the now-defunct Australian Classic Car magazine, and given the popularity of Belletts on the wider scale, possibly the last we'll see for a decade or so!

I'm just really proud I could push our cars into the spotlight for however brief a time and if one guy gets misty eyed reading the article and decides to buy one to hoon around in, then we'll have another mad person to welcome to the fold!!

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Cheers,


Dave

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Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:36 pm
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Post of the year award goes too.......
Very well said, both here and in the actual article as well.
And the descriptions of those selected for the "Its mine" features are spot on too. Just a shame they didn't run Glenn's as its a very special car in this corner of the world.
Top effort Dave. Having some recognition for the family we've built over the last 10 odd years is fantastic and you did it brilliantly.

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Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:35 pm
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Location: Darwin NT
Car(s): Isuzu Bellett, VG Commodore Ute, Custom Chopper
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Love your work Dave.

You have a great style when you write and it is with a smile I read all your work.

Thanks for getting the word out on our little Bellett family in Australia............

If everyone only knew how good they are.

Cheers,
Neil


Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:44 pm
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Car(s): '72 Sport Bellett (imported 180912), had Belletts in past, 2 sed, 3 GT's. M/B A250 Sport, i30
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great job Dave. Been checking the shop and its not in my local place yet. (anybody notice how many News Agents are closing down? Three in my area are gone in last 12 months. Internet taking over I guess)

Now we need to publicise the various Bellett/Isuzu Clubs also. We never seem to get a place in the back of these Mags for Club contact details, even the pricing section we are missing. Although that might be a little difficult to quantify

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Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:39 pm
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A tremendous article, I am sorry I was unable to participate, but wouldn't be right without a Bellett, I now have two and wish I had never let the marque go, time will have me back on deck with my son Michael.

Unfortunately the Bellett from WA needs a little bit more attention than we had expected, but we will get it there, maybe we can attend next years Convention, just can't commit yet.

Ted.

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Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:36 am
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Location: Kallangur, Brisbane QLD
Car(s): 3x1965 PR20(Donkey, Jenny n Bundy) 1 1969 PR20(Percy) 2 1968 PR20(Eugine n GT Donor) 1 1968 PR91 GT, 1 1965 Wasp
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I must say Dave that I am absolutely, positively, unequivocally chuffed that Donkey and I got a representation in what is a fantastic write up.
I picked up a copy today and it's going straight to the pool room :mrgreen:

Totally stoked!!

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Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:31 am
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Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:32 am
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Location: MUDGEE. NSW
Car(s): 1968 PR91 Bellett GT. 2014 ISUZU MU-X, 2016 Jayco 22' Starcraft Caravan, 2013 KIA Reo shopping trolley!!
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FIRST CLASS job Dave well done, I have my copy for posterity!!

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Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:54 am
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Location: Kallangur, Brisbane QLD
Car(s): 3x1965 PR20(Donkey, Jenny n Bundy) 1 1969 PR20(Percy) 2 1968 PR20(Eugine n GT Donor) 1 1968 PR91 GT, 1 1965 Wasp
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dave wrote:
Stickman - He has driven more miles in his Bellett in the last few years he's had it than some will travel in theirs EVER
Dave


I was just having a re-read through of this whole post when one comment caught my eye and wondered how many mile Donkey and I have done together since I have come to be part of this extraordinary group of people whom I have come to consider not only friends...... but family.

On my very "first every" road trip in Donkey, en-route to my very first every Nationals, we hit a pivotal moment together with Donkey clocking over all 0's on his odometer ( viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2142) so I though I'd give you the updated mileage since then.
Donkey has since aged 144,422 miles since that day with approx 21,600 of those being miles done travelling to and from National meets and another 26,000 odd miles done just road tripping throughout this amazing country of ours (longest trip approx 11,400Km/7080M - Adelaide Nats road trip was approx 6400M)
The rest has been spent using Donkey as an every day driver and pack mule for work carrying anything from tools, to step treads, to bags of cement or even painting trestles and planks on roof racks.

I love my car and I love to drive it anywhere and EVERYWHERE

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Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:46 am
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:D Well done Dave,GREAT ARTICLE,always love your photo's,pity you couldn't have the cover,now that would be asking too much,again well done,Gerry
ps thought we had SAVE ME from the CRUSHA article by Matt {Farmer} on page 133 ;)


Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:23 am
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Nicely put Dave :D

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Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:18 am
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Location: Gold Coast, Qld
Car(s): 1966 Bellett GT, 1968 Bellett GT, 2017 Subaru Levorg 2.0 GTS
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Yes Dave, having a 6 page spread in a Unique Cars edition written by one who is properly in the know makes me proud to be an Isuzu enthusiast all these years.
I trust that you will get many more unique writing gigs like this one. Your time at Shannon's also made you the go to man for any question the staff had on Isuzu vehicles that customers were wanting to insure.

As you have experienced, running your own business is pretty hard to mesh with a family life. My wife Donna and I run our own businesses... Hers is a recently relocated and expanded Canine Cubby - Activity centre for Dogs. It caters for Dog post-op or strength rehabilitation by hydrotherapy pool swimming, Doggy Daycare and education courses ( for dogs and their owners), Grooming and Sale of healthy dog food/ treats and accessories. My business as you may know is a Custom Picture Framing which I started back in year 2000. It was a big sea change for me to leave my civil engineering career but I was relocating around too much and not feeling the rewards of a good days work. So, with the help of my father in law and a motivation to settle in one place and get Hands-On again I started my new venture and the rest is history so it seems.

We both love our work we have settled into but are both time poor when it comes to pursuing interests outside work. So in 2017 we aim to notch up a little more of our own time for our interests...in no particular order...like travel, time with our lovely Boxer dogs, tinkering with Belletts, home renos to name the main ones.

Any hoo....I wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you and your family Dave.
Cheers, Lewis.


Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:59 pm
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Car(s): 1965 Wasp, 1966 Bellett sedan, 1966 RatBellett sedan, 1967 Bellett GT, 1978 Gemini van, 1994 LS400, 2004 VY SS Sandman
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Hi guys and especially Lewis,

Thanks for your kind words.

I've had a few Unique Cars gigs leading up to this one; I wrote a story on a local Chrysler Royal, a Datsun 1600 wagon that replicates a Hot Wheels model (car is the same colour and owner has stickered it up etc with the same graphics as the model), a story on the Alfa Nationals and a biiiig story on the Austin Healey Nationals which had some great photos, but was credited to the wrong writer!!! Argh!

The current issue has my coverage on the Adelaide Motorsport Festival which is a great event; totally amazing! The article is credited to me solely, but most of the pics are by my good friend Darren Gerlach who was stooged on the credit. I have to admit though, the picture of V8 Supercar driver Josh Kean driving the ex-Gerhard Berger Benetton through the streets of Adelaide was mine and about the best (auto) pic I've ever taken.

Theoretically, if I never got another article in Street Machine or Unique Cars, I guess I could walk away satisfied that Isuzus finally, FINALLY got the coverage they've deserved all these years, but I can't really walk away yet...future issues will include the recent Skyline Nats that were held in Adelaide and, with any luck, a bit more Isuzu goodness than we've seen in the past!!

I've been at Shannons for over 10 years now; I started as a junior-level underwriter and worked my way up to team leader; I'm now in the Performance and Initiative team and have just secured a permanent position there which is great, although I do miss talking to customers every day; I took great pride in doing my job correctly and engaging with our customers, whatever car they drove!

And during the thousands and thousands of calls I took, I only copped one guy out of the blue with a Bellett; Rodney Hawley of Tasmania! When I basically bounced off the friggin' walls with enthusiasm, he took it what I came to learn was his usual laconic stride!

Until someone tells me otherwise, I'm still able to take referrals and underwrite policies for vehicles up to $500,000, so if anyone of you win lotto and want to buy a Ferrari (or better still a Bellett R6 or MX1600) then I'm your man.

In terms of running a business; our Garage of Awesome business wasn't really sustainable as a full-time gig and I'd be lucky if I broke even on the cars we imported, but I did score a Buick Opel by Isuzu out of it and best of all, it became a gateway into the article writing for Street Machine (from doing a blog on our GoA site, which kinda started on this site until I decided it just wasn't the right platform for it) and for Ross it got him experience enough to start his own consulting business, so it wasn't all time or money wasted. Besides, I've now done 46 articles in Street Machine that have gone to print, so if I did lose money, I think I've made it back now!

Thanks for coming along for the ride! Happy New Year to all!!

Cheers,


Dave

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Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:17 am
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Location: Rye Park, N.S.W.
Car(s): Doris, Aunty Mary, Shrek, Jimmy; GT, Wasp, Florian & Sed unrestos; 65 Elf; worn 02 Forester; 07 Santa Fe CRD, Sigma.
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Hey Dave.
This was a fantastic article mate, and I am very grateful for the inclusion in it, especially for my brothers. I am the youngest of them and so was spoiled pretty much by them carting me around and telling me stories and buying me stuff. In our family when a new car was bought (even a new used car) the buyer would load the family up for a run around the block. This means I got the most runs because they all got their cars first! Dad, Gary, Greg and Dennis all drove their own trucks for a living, so I got to go with them a lot, beginning with Dad in his Isuzu TX550 6 tonner.
When I was finally old enough, Gary and Greg got together to get me a '65 column benchy Bellett. I spent the school holidays fixing it up, swapping parts from one of Gregs, hand sanding it and painting it with a hired spray gun. Putting my savings and effort into it made me appreciate and look after it.
I was older than most of my classmates, so the Bellett and I soon became very popular with many of them. Many good times were had.

When Brett and Steve started the Nationals back up I thought all my Christmases had come at once, there were others in the world that loved Belletts!
Then you and Ross and Ants and Brett started up Bellett.net. I finally had reason to want a computer!
Thank you for your great enthusiasm and dedication. The 2009 Nationals and Bay to Birdwood run, with Belletts as featured marque is one of those times I will cherish forever. So many great memories from that trip with my little family and heaps of stuff crammed into Doris for a month and 5300 km, including being welcomed into your home and staying up into the early hours going through your huge collection of books and brochures. You really are a legend!
Please know that you have enriched my life, and for that I am very thankful.

I know that you have had difficult times these last couple of years. I pray that 2017 is a better year for your beautiful young family. You are all very deserving of good health and happiness.
Happy new year!
Cheers, Matt.

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Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:30 pm
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Beautiful expressions Matty and no doubt echoed by many others here too (myself inc)

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Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:29 pm
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Car(s): 1965 Wasp, 1966 Bellett sedan, 1966 RatBellett sedan, 1967 Bellett GT, 1978 Gemini van, 1994 LS400, 2004 VY SS Sandman
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Stop it Matt I'm getting all emotional here!

Thank you for your kind words.

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :mrgreen:

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Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:44 am
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Very well said uncle Matt, thankyou.

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Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:36 pm
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Very well written Dave and it shows the passion you and all the other dedicated owners of Belletts in all forms, this is why I have become addicted to the model its not only a cool car, plus my Dad owned 2 brand new one's back in the day.

I will say it again the assistance I and my Dad have recieved from the Bellett community is a joy to be a part of and will continue to enjoy the model, I hope one day I can finish the monster I am building and increase its profile even further as a elite show car (I hope so) and display the uniqueness of this extrordinary vehicle.

So keep up the great work Dave and let us know what articles you are writing for Street Machine as I have bought every issue since the early eighties and would enjoy the read knowing that you have written it.

Cheers


Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:42 pm
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