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1969 Isuzu Bellett MX1600 GT-I by Ghia

Isuzu is not a company you would usually associate with sleek supercars. However, this was the world they played in for at least one brief moment. At the 1969 Tokyo Motor Show, Isuzu presented the first of two concept cars, the Bellett MX1600.


In 1970 Isuzu presented a second MX1600 concept car, the imaginatively named MX1600-II. The car had a mid-mounted 1.6-liter engine from the GT-R version of the Bellett, powering the rear wheels. Inside the car was a two-seat sports affair, and being Japanese, it was right-hand drive. It was only subtlety different from the 1969 model, mainly in the front-end styling.


Sadly, the car never made it into production. It would have provided an interesting counterpoint to the ever-popular S30 platform Nissans and acted as a predecessor to the Honda NSX in terms of Japanese supercars.


The car was designed by Tom Tjaarda, who worked at Ghia, Pininfarina, and Italdesign. His hand can be seen in many Pininfarina cars of the 60s, from Fiat to Mercedes. Most notable here is the DeTomaso Pantera, whose design is said to be a direct descendant of the Isuzu MX1600.


Images: www.tom-tjaarda.net; www.2000gt.net