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My Answer to "Why?" 
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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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People often ask me the following question when it comes to Belletts. It's a pretty short question.

"Why?".

Seriously, when I was a kid, all I wanted was an orange Holden Torana SLR5000, preferably with the A9X option, or better still a Torana SS hatch with the A9X option. But during my path to hulkingly powerful Torana ownership, things went incredibly awry.

As a teenager, A9X Toranas were still commanding about $12,000, which was money I didn't have and nobody was going to help me with. A good SS hatch without the A9X homologation option with the RTS-spec rear end, large Salisbury differential, large Holden sedan brakes and 14" Monaro GTS steel wheels was only about $5000. And noboy dwas going to help me with THAT either.

I almost managed to win though. My dear grandmother had money set aside for her grandkids after she died and she said that she'd dip into that and help me buy a sensible hatchback. Unfortunately, a 5.0 litre, 4-speed manual V8 hatchback with bolt-on body kit and Bathurst homologation did not fall under her definition of "sensible hatchback" and the dream was left unfulfilled.

Now a good A9X Torana will command around AUD$100,000. Damn. Although it was just as well. If I'd been successful, I'd have a car that I'd probably have modified and ruined the value of, which would still be too valuable to drive and when I did drive it, I'd have to be sure nobody followed me home. Worst of all, when you own a car, you spend a lot of time looking from the inside of the car out and the LH/LX Torana range featured the world's least interesting dashboard.

Alternatively, I did strongly consider a HX Holden Sandman van, preferably a manual and preferably a ridiculous colour with SANDMAN emblazoned proudly across the back. But I did (correctly) ponder if the handling would be woeful, plus there was another thing holding me back (it certainly wasn't good taste), it was the price of petrol, which was probably a lofty $0.70c per litre.

I was delivering pizzas for a living and fuel economy was paramount, plus I had unlimited use of Mum's Mazda 323 wagon (aka The Joywagon, after her numberplate JOY034) as she'd recently inherited her dad's KE70 Corolla. The Joywagon was pressed into service longer than anticipated and I was fortunate enough to be able to tour in it, sleep in it and deliver pizzas in it. And hate every minute of it.

These factors then dictated my next choice of vehicle. It obviously had to be a Holden and it had to be four-cylinder. Unfortunately, Holden's track record on four-cylinder vehicles was terrible at best; HB Torana's were cool but feeble, LC and LJ Torana four-cylinders were overshadowed by their stronger AND longer six-cylinder counterparts, while the LH and LX Torana four's (aka Sunbird on later LX's and all UC's) not only had a completely gay name, but were even more feeble when compared to the loud and lairy SLR5000 V8 machines.

I'm not even going to discuss the four-cylinder Commodore, except suffice to say it was not in my radar.

So, in terms of rear-wheel-drive Holdens, the choices were limited. It was either going to be a Gemini or, uh, ah, well that was pretty much it. My mate Wade had a stonking TD Gemini coupe that reguarly made mincemeat of my Joywagon at every single set of traffic lights and at every single opportunity. Then another mate bought a TD Gemini sedan. I thought the wagon was a bit wet, so the panelvan was the only option.

For a time there, almost all my friends owned TD Geminis of one shape or another. Two had coupes, one guy had a sedan (albeit two different sedans) and another friend owned a wagon, while I was the only one to have a panelvan.

I looked long and hard for my car and missed out on a couple of pearlers, including a rust-free, RAA-special. It was yellow and was definitely plated a van, however it had the windows of a wagon. I was going to buy it and put the panels in it, however the seller sold it on before I got a chance. Mum insisted, ironically on an ex-RAA van, than I get an RAA inspection, and this delay in purchase meant it went to another home.

While camping down at Victor Harbour, I found a red Gemini van parked out the front of Rumbelow's Deli. It had a black vinyl roof, sunroof, terrible K-Mart wheel covers and the mural of a Hawaiian-style scene on the side. I fell in love instantly and bought it, liberated finally from a life of driving banality in Mum's Joywagon. I don't know if you can fully appreciate how gay it is to rock up to a teenager's party (which inevitably spilled onto the street) in an orange wagon that said "JOY" on the numberplate.

Awesomely, it fulfilled some major desires... strictly automotively speaking, of course. It was a Holden, which was paramount given the amount of trash-talking I did about every single other brand in the world when I was 18 years old, plus it was rear-wheel-drive, which was good for sideways action, it was able to sleep one person comfortably or two intimately and while it was the same model as my friends' cars, it was also a bit rare and a different shape.

The FeralVan, as it was christened by a friend of mine, was truly a freedom machine. I looked past the odd bits of it that had been hacked away with what appeared to be tinsnips; including the leading roof support to make way for the dodgily inserted sunroof. I looked past the under tray of the fuel tank, mainly because it had rusted away. And I looked past the discarded frangar packet I found under the spare wheel.

Attachment:
Holden Gemini 1978 TD Panelvan - 05 - resize.JPG
Holden Gemini 1978 TD Panelvan - 05 - resize.JPG [ 79.11 KiB | Viewed 2957 times ]


That car went well despite some seriously rallying, and for all it's faults and rattles, it rarely left me stranded. I upgraded the engine to a G180Z SOHC engine, fitted Pedders shocks with lowered springs all 'round and put a Momo sports wheel on it, which cost me about 20% of the car's overall purchase price. Eventually I fitted a set of polished Nissan Exa alloy wheels, which everyone thought I'd taken of a VL Calais (except they have a completely different stud pattern).

The thing was a beast, but one day the clutch went 'bang' and I thought, "Perhaps it's time to upgrade". The thing was, indeed, incredibly rusty. FeralVan was replaced with FeralVan 2000 late in 1999. It was blue and looked a lot better, however it did NOT have a mural and it was just as dodgy as the original FeralVan. Our dalliance was short-lived and after it snapped a lower control arm and almost killed me, I bade it farewell and sold it to a surfie who has never surfaced again. Perhaps it killed him, as it had tried to do to me.

I made the decision that stock is better, so I thought I'd look for an original, unmolested TD Gemini panelvan. It had to be chamois, as most of them were that colour, and could not have been overly modified.

The first one I looked at was the right one. It had been in some minor bingles, but back when it was new enough to be fixed properly, plus it was chamois and was essentially unmodified; 1584cc SOHC engine, 4-speed, everything.

I bought it and christened it "BreadVan" as it was not only the same colour as bread, but it was the same shape as bread and probably delivered bread at some stage in its commercial life.

I had a lot of fun in that van too; raced it properly in CAMS-sanctioned events and drove it around Tasmania. I still own it and currently, it's just sleeping.

Just over 12 years ago, when this Isuzu relationship started, the Internet was still shiney and new. HotGemini had not yet been hacked by Muslim extremists and was not only a public forum, but was so in the purest sense; you did not even need a login to post! Yahoo was the search engine of choice and upon Yahooing (now known as "Googling") "Isuzu" information about the Bellett sprouted forth.

After a minor amount of research, one of these Isuzu Bellay's (as I pronounced it) came up for sale in the paper for $300. It was a 1967 auto. I took Ross (2ldohc) and we handed over $100 each and took the car away. That car is long-gone, but it sparked a desire for something different, to save a little portion of automobilia that is ignored by 99.9999% of people and to keep a rare car going for not only ourselves, but the people that remember them.

And that, my friends, is why.

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Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:02 pm
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dave wrote:
People often ask me the following question when it comes to Belletts. It's a pretty short question.

"Why?".

a question i ask myself most days.......

dave wrote:
Seriously, when I was a kid, all I wanted was an orange Holden Torana SLR5000, preferably with the A9X option, or better still a Torana SS hatch with the A9X option. But during my path to hulkingly powerful Torana ownership, things went incredibly awry.
As a teenager, A9X Toranas were still commanding about $12,000, which was money I didn't have and nobody was going to help me with. A good SS hatch without the A9X homologation option with the RTS-spec rear end, large Salisbury differential, large Holden sedan brakes and 14" Monaro GTS steel wheels was only about $5000. And noboy dwas going to help me with THAT either.

i knocked back an LX SL/R5000 sedan, with the full A9X kit inc. drop tank, in 'absinth yellow' for $8k in 1994, so i know what u mean dude. a mate had a 253 LH sedan, and after an afternoon of fun and frivolity changing a set of spark plugs in 6 hours............. i thought 'what the hell am i getting into this world of hurt for?'.
then the 1st of my Wasp's appeared. history followed.

dave wrote:
I almost managed to win though. My dear grandmother had money set aside for her grandkids after she died and she said that she'd dip into that and help me buy a sensible hatchback. Unfortunately, a 5.0 litre, 4-speed manual V8 hatchback with bolt-on body kit and Bathurst homologation did not fall under her definition of "sensible hatchback" and the dream was left unfulfilled.

party pooper........... is sensible in my book!

dave wrote:
Now a good A9X Torana will command around AUD$100,000. Damn.

so what's the prob there?? :P

dave wrote:
I was delivering pizzas for a living and fuel economy was paramount, plus I had unlimited use of Mum's Mazda 323 wagon (aka The Joywagon, after her numberplate JOY034) as she'd recently inherited her dad's KE70 Corolla. The Joywagon was pressed into service longer than anticipated and I was fortunate enough to be able to tour in it, sleep in it and deliver pizzas in it. And hate every minute of it.

tour, sleep and deliver......... u sure that's all............?? :P

dave wrote:
These factors then dictated my next choice of vehicle. It obviously had to be a Holden and it had to be four-cylinder. Unfortunately, Holden's track record on four-cylinder vehicles was terrible at best; HB Torana's were cool but feeble, LC and LJ Torana four-cylinders were overshadowed by their stronger AND longer six-cylinder counterparts, while the LH and LX Torana four's (aka Sunbird on later LH's and all LX's) not only had a completely gay name, but were even more feeble when compared to the loud and lairy SLR5000 V8 machines.

HB's.... never cool, never will be. horrible little abominations on our world. not even the great sir jack brabham could make them worthy.
LC/LJ's..... even worse. notorious for rolling tyres off rims, and multiple times in the same trip. know of one guy that rolled one, went into the garage to have it re-set, and rolled another driving out of the garage........
LH/LX's..... and the 'backfire' engine. hmmmmmmmm, the 'Plus 4' pack was a beaut too.......... and the 'sunbird' was a UC dude! 'sunturd' was more fitting tho......................

dave wrote:
I'm not even going to discuss the four-cylinder Commodore, except suffice to say it was not in my radar.

GOOD!!!!!!!!

dave wrote:
I don't know if you can fully appreciate how gay it is to rock up to a teenager's party (which inevitably spilled onto the street) in an orange wagon that said "JOY" on the numberplate.

could of had "GAY" instead!!

dave wrote:
Awesomely, it fulfilled some major desires... strictly automotively speaking, of course. It was a Holden, which was paramount given the amount of trash-talking I did about every single other brand in the world when I was 18 years old, plus it was rear-wheel-drive, which was good for sideways action, it was able to sleep one person comfortably or two intimately and while it was the same model as my friends' cars, it was also a bit rare and a different shape.

how much trash-talking u DID........?? what's changed.........??
and i bet the sleeping was not the priority for the rear section mate!!

dave wrote:
And I looked past the discarded frangar packet I found under the spare wheel.

yeah, yeah, u FOUND......................... see above...........................

dave wrote:
That car went well despite some seriously rallying, and for all it's faults and rattles, it rarely left me stranded.

Isuzu reliability again!! can't bet it.

dave wrote:
I made the decision that stock is better, so I thought I'd look for an original, unmolested TD Gemini panelvan. It had to be chamois, as most of them were that colour, and could not have been overly modified.

The first one I looked at was the right one. It had been in some minor bingles, but back when it was new enough to be fixed properly, plus it was chamois and was essentially unmodified; 1584cc SOHC engine, 4-speed, everything.

I bought it and christened it "BreadVan" as it was not only the same colour as bread, but it was the same shape as bread and probably delivered bread at some stage in its commercial life.

I had a lot of fun in that van too; raced it properly in CAMS-sanctioned events and drove it around Tasmania. I still own it and currently, it's just sleeping.

PICSORBAN!!
i have the power!!

dave wrote:
After a minor amount of research, one of these Isuzu Bellay's (as I pronounced it)

and some still do............. *grinds his teeth again*...........

nice write up there dave!
is always good to read how we all got 'into' bellett's to start with, as everyone has a story to tell (i'm sure i wrote mine in the thread about my first bellett, in the 'my bellett' section...... better check that!).

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Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:40 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:39 am
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Location: Adelaide Hills
Car(s): GQ Patrol, 1968 bellett ratter, 1969 florian deluxe & 1976 Luv
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HB's.... never cool, never will be. horrible little abominations on our world. not even the great sir jack brabham could make them worthy.

hey nothing wrong with a hb torana! was my second car in all its brabham specialty! (i swear it was just noiser and used a bit more fuel over a standard hb and that was it!)

not long after followed my HR, then my bellett, and thre days after the bellett was bought it met a hasty demise coming down mcintyre road! that then led me to my first Florian.... i was never cured.

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Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:22 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:50 am
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Car(s): Peugeot 206 GTi 180, Ford Fiesta, Bond Equipe 2-Litre GT, Mazda R360 Coupe, Nissan CSP-311 Silvia. PAST: Bellett 1600GT
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Agree re: HB's...my old one was a blast, and spent forever being bailed up by people prattling on about their first car. Even better, I bought it for $400, drove it for 2 years until the fuel line split, then sold it for $700 sitting derelict in the driveway!

On the subject of why, betwen the ages of 10-15 all I ever wanted was a '57 Chevy...then I went out and bought a Fiat 500 as my first car (having knocked back an NSU Prinz)! Something went seriously wrong. On the way I developed a love for Bellett's, I always remember them being around, so I can't tell you when. Test drove a GT when I was 19 - dad told me I'd be ex-communicated if I bought it, t'was a roughie. Always wanted one ever since. Planets just haven't aligned yet.

Cheers,
Duane


Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:52 pm
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u guys must have got the 2 good ones then!!

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Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:56 pm
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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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PR91 wrote:
and the 'sunbird' was a UC dude! 'sunturd' was more fitting tho......................


Nah it was later LX's and the UC as well. The LX Torana was released as a 4 cylinder originally, then about 6 or so months into it they re-released it as the Sunbird.

I knew two kids with UC Sunbirds Back In The Day, and those bastard-child 1.9 litre Starfire motors were pretty stout in the torque dept! Cane Toad could bag up his 265 Dragway Splats with minimal fuss.... until his wheel fell off because he used the wrong lug nuts.

And I wouldn't need to trash talk if you just bought a decent car. Geeeeez!

Dave

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Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:46 am
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 2320
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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Nice explanation, Dave. I hope everyone who dares ask that question gets the WHOLE answer!
So, there were a bunch of you in Geminis - I can relate. In 1979 Porter, Tricky, Irwin, Gelcrobe & me (navy, gold, black, red & blue) all had Belletts. We could get a good line-up happening at the Drive-in!
I know a bloke that had a Commodore 4 -WAGON! Very sad thing.
The girl that rolled my Crown owns a Sunbird, but she put a 186 in it after she towed it home.
Another 'Why' Question - Why did Toyota buy that motor & put it in Aus Coronas?? Musta wanted Holden owners to feel better! "This is as big a heap of crap as your Sunbird! Better go buy a Pintara!" (Nissan's attempt at consoling 2lt Cortina owners?)
Sorry, starting to rant! Apologies to anyone who loves any of the above.
Cheers, Matt.

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Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:32 pm
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dave wrote:
PR91 wrote:
And I wouldn't need to trash talk if you just bought a decent car. Geeeeez!


so, bellett's and wasp's aren't decent now....?????? for shame!!!!!!!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
they are all i technically own
i dont own a ford mate, or a holden.........
all japanese for me, even the work car!

the wife on the other hand...........

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Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:55 am
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