Israel’s premier classic car club, The Five Club (named after the five digits that adorned early Israeli license plates) hosts weekly meetings in various cities in the country, every Friday afternoons, once the weekend commences. From time to time, central meetings hold receptions of “new” classics that join the club, either through recent import to Israel or a restoration that has finally finished. Last Friday was such an event, celebrating the completion of a 1958 Volvo PV444. But this turned out to be much more than just that.
You see, the event was sponsored by the Israeli importers of Volvo, who decided to turn up with all their cars- including two tractor trucks flanking the restored PV444 (see top photo). You could seat inside various models, reserve test drives and what not. As a side note, I’m very impressed with recent Volvos- it seems they managed to re-invent themselves as luxury with a twist, not trying to imitate the three leading Germans. For example, the XC90 Excellence I sat in was very impressive and as good as anything you want to throw at it- and I’m speaking as a person who does not care much for SUVs. I could see myself driving one of these. Oh, wait: I could see myself being driven in one of these…
There was even this yet-unveiled-in-Israel S90, driven by the owner of the Volvo import/dealership in Israel, Mr. Yaakov Shachr himself.
Also, and more within CCs ally, many classic Volvo owners were invited to exhibit their cars, regardless if they were club members of not. And of course, other classic cars, mostly regular meeting attendees, were also being showed off.
Volvo in Israel were regarded very highly, even with the “old people’ cars” image they used to have. Built like tanks and providing creature comforts, in the Eighties the 200 and later 700 series were even chosen as ministers’ cars. Volvo, being Swede, helped avoiding the customary German route (Holocaust victims still had their influence- this is no more, as the president now rolls in an Audi A8). Most Volvos were cared for by owners buying them new, and passing them in the family, so their survival rates were actually not bad, these cars enjoying reputation for sturdiness and of course, safety. So their survival rates were far better than other, more popular cars.
So on with the photos:
Familiar shapes, front and back, the 244/240s
Some owners tried to personalize their cars, as with this green example…
… or this black “stealth” one. Late Seventies Volvo owner would shiver at the sight of these, but I like them.
Of course, earlier Volvos were also at hand, such as these 121 and 144. See some more below:
You will of course notice the GIANT bumper of this Orange 144. Israel did not follow the US 5mph rule in the Seventies, so it’s safe to say this is a new import from the USA (which I can also tell by the license plate).
But really, it was this car that set Volvo’s reputation in Israel, the 244/240 series. This is a late Seventies car.
Here are two more, a yellow 244 and its successor, a well preserved green 1985 240.
And here is a 1983 car. Note the (fake) horse-shows on the grill.
Another example, this is a 1985 car with US market headlights. Again I can tell by its license plate that it’s an original Israeli car and not a new import, so the owner must have added these at some point later in its life. The 740 is also from 1985.
There were also some P1800s at the event. Besides this beautiful ES, note there’s another P1800 behind it.
Lets turn away from Volvo and check out some of the other attendees at the meeting:
Nice, isn’t she? Mazda3 front wheel cover really does the trick.
Well, you can always go for Malaise type cars, such as this LaSabre.
Or this New Yorker.
How about this Caddy? I’m Sorry, but I think all these are horrible and represent all that was bad in the American car industry, back in the late Seventies.
Now that’s MUCH more like it.
As is this. And what’s that in the background?
“Give me wood, more wood I say!” must’ve been the head stylist’s lead.
Of course, not only American cars were present. Here are some European representatives:
See this interesting car, an obvious new import to Israel; any ex-Soviet would recognize this GAZ-21 Volga. The rest of us will compare it to American brands it obviously tried to copy…
The Escort was once very popular in Israel- it was assembled here at one time. Amazingly, even though it outsold Volvo there are far less survivors around.
One day I will post an article about the very interesting Israeli car, the Susita and its derivatives such as this Sabra, Israel’s first and only two-seater sports car. But this requires a lot of research, so it’s on hold at the moment.
Yes, we have Alfa here also. This is another original Seventies import.
As is this 1982 Innocenti Mini.
There’s always room for a majestic SL.
Back to US made cars- but cute ones, like this V200 Valiant.
Or this early Comet.
Yet older iron was also on the premises.
The meeting is starting to die down, and the Volvos are beginning to exit the grounds.
However, I spotted this nice Montecarlo SS, another new import. That sign behind the windshield says “for sale”…
A lonely ‘Vette.
I’ll finish off with two Volvos. The first is of course the star of the show, the restored 1958 PV444:
Funny how humble it seems compared to the S90 above.
But this is my favorite car at the event. A tongue-in-cheek volvo 144, made to look neglected on purpose, but with a twist, manifested in its seemingly out-of-place modern wheels. All complete with a hilarious slogan and a Ferrari sticker.
Never take yourself too seriously; Drive a Volvo.