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.