Unique Cars - - MORLEY’S WORKSHOP -

gag about the diesel Gemini, Elky, was from back in the day. The story was that the diesel Gem could get any­thing up to 70 miles­per-gal­lon. Just not in one day. Oh, how we larfed.

I hadn’t ac­tu­ally heard about folks plonk­ing the lit­tle Isuzu diesel en­gine into Sier­ras, but it kind of makes sense. Most blokes I know at the time were us­ing Corolla mo­tors (3Ks and 4Ks I think) to get their lit­tle Sier­ras out of the bog-holes quicker, and that seemed like a pretty good con­ver­sion too. Prob­a­bly a bit faster than the Gemini diesel deal.

You’re right about us miss­ing out on so many tasty cars, too. When you look at what Ja­pan was do­ing even back in the 70s, you can see that it was a hot-bed of high-tech de­vel­op­ment, yet so much of it missed the boat to Aus­tralia. The clas­sic ex­am­ple was the Toy­ota Cel­ica from the mid-70s which, in its home mar­ket of Ja­pan, could be had with a much im­proved rear end and, won­der of won­ders, an hon­est-to-god twin-cam en­gine that even had twin side-draught car­bies.

As a kid, watch­ing Peter Wil­liamson in his RA40 Cel­ica at Bathurst was truly in­spir­ing stuff. Even for a kid raised on Hold­ens and VWs. Wil­liamson’s car was the first in the world

to have race-cam and to watch his laps (and you can youtube it) where he’s beat­ing up on V6 Capris and ev­ery­thing else across the top of the moun­tain, you knew you were wit­ness­ing bril­liance. And when you watch closely, you no­tice that at no point in a lap of Bathurst did that lit­tle 18RG en­gine drop be­low 6000rpm, with most up-shifts hap­pen­ing at about 8000. Don’t try that in your 202-cube VB Com­modore.

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