How about an incredibly slow, oddly styled, diesel engined car from one of Japan's least respected automobile manufacturers?
That would be the Isuzu Bellel.
The Bellel was the first Japanese diesel production car. It was also Isuzu's first independently designed car. Prior to this Isuzu had been producing Rootes cars under license. The suspension set up was copied from the Hillman Minx.
Looking at it straight on, the front end isn't bad looking. It almost has an 60s Italian sedan look to it. The Isuzu designers seemed to lose ambition when designing the side of the car, as it's slab sided and unimaginative (although the little turn signal on the c-pillar is an unusual touch). It's the back end where things get really weird. I don't know that there was ever another car produced that had such an odd collection of angles and shapes. (OK, the big, finned American cars from the 1950s may have this beat.)
The engine is a 2.0 liter diesel. 60 miles per hour comes in a very leisurely 25+ seconds. The transmission is a 4 speed with the shifter being mounted on the column.
If you've been kicking yourself for not buying that Bellel in 2009, here's your chance - maybe your only chance ever - to buy not one, but two rough Bellels.
The light blue one is most likely just a parts car. Given how rare this car is in the US - and probably everywhere - having an extra car is a good idea.
The black car appears to be mostly complete and in relatively decent condition. It has California plates and is being sold out of Arizona. The body has what appears to be just some minor surface rust. Being a southwestern car, there's more than a good chance that the interior is trashed from the heat. Unfortunately, the seller did not include any pictures of the interior.
The seller believes that there are around 10 Bellels left in the US, including these two. I have no reason to doubt that.
I closed my '09 post by stating "this is another one of those 'there's no really good reason to buy this car' type of car, except for its rarity." In my mind, its rarity is reason enough for wanting to see this car restored.
Located in Oracle, AZ, click here to see the eBay listing.