Car Show Classics: Alfa Romeo Classic Club Israel – Growing As We Speak

Recently the Israeli Alfa Romeo Classic Club has moved to a new, dedicated venue, and celebrated this with unveiling a GTV6 belonging to one of its members. That club has been growing rapidly in recent years, and many more cars have joined since I last wrote about it here. They were seeking a meeting place devoid of boy-racers who are always drawn to Alfa Romeo meetings and usually eager to show off their Vroom-Vroom capabilities.

So the club managed to secure a private parking area, adjacent to a Cafe that has agreed to cater the members on Friday afternoons. It so happens this venue is placed in an industrial zone right outside Israel’s international Ben Gurion air-port, so the meeting was awash with landing airplanes which, to petrol-heads, is no bad thing. Having this place about 15km from my home is an added bonus.

Essentially, for this meeting (and unveiling) the club hosted another Alfa Romeo club AND northern Alfa Romeo owners, so I expected the meeting to be good. So, after parking my car close-by, I set into the meeting area and started with the business of taking photos Here’s the first one:

This Corniche is a very luxurious Alfa Romeo… I’m kidding, of course- The Rolls belongs to a “friend of the club” so to speak, that was allowed to enter into the Alfa perimeter. Other interesting cars were also present, such as this Lotus Elise Cup 250:

More non-Alfa will be shown later. For now, I’d better start with the marque’s photos. Here’s a collage of modern 147s, 156s, 159s and Giuliettas:

Newer Alfa Romeos were also represented with some Giulias and Stelvios. Hard to believe that this is all that Alfa currently offers (Ed. Note: perhaps for Israel, but there is also the 4C Spyder and the Giulietta in other markets), especially in meetings like this, when one is able to compare with its past models.

A few GTs (Type 937) were present, of which this matte-black example was photographed, alongside which was parked a Sprint.

This is a late model, 1988 car, and even if just a mostly tarted-up Sud, it still ticks all the right boxes.

As a teenager I remember those cars well, and the local Alfisti in my hometown who drove a red, mid-1980s Sprint, just like this one.

From Sprint to Alfasud, and this was much more common back in the day. Most people who went and purchased an Alfa Romeo, would usually go for Suds, the cheapest all-rounder in the model lineup. This particular white example was the most common, and is a post-facelift and true hatchback (finally Alfa gave the Sud a rear door after ten years’ production).

On the contrary, this three-door TI was everything but common. No surprise, as it was never imported officially into Israel. Maybe for fear of clashing with Sprint sales- who knows. The two Sud TI I know of are not original Israeli cars but were imported into the country in recent years.

Now let’s turn to the all-favorite type 115 Spider:

There was a time in Israel when, if you wanted a two seater sports-car, the Alfa Spider was all you could have. So despite their high prices, fragile Italian temperament and (in the 1980s) old age, they sold rather well- hence all the cars you see above are original Israeli cars, purchased here when new and preserved to the present day. Most attendees in the meeting were of the mid-1980s, but there was one representative of the 1970s.

Of course, the later Spider was also represented with this Lime Green late model example (unlike the early mid-1990s posted here). This one is conveniently parked alongside a type 146 Alfa, of what I refer to as Alfa Romeo’s dark age, when all they produced was rebadged/ modified Fiats.

Here it is from the back. That’s really Snot Green, if I’m honest, and I’ll repeat what I’ve said in that linked post above; However unique, I could never sympathize with its styling. To me it’s just not pretty and has nothing to do with Alfa Romeos of old. Oh, I’ll return to the GT 1300 Junior in the background later.

To finish off the Spider’s part of this post, there were two Alfa Romeo Brera-based cars at the meeting. And yes, it’s a long way away from the original Spider, but much better styled than the previous generation. I think the entire type 939 family looks gorgeous, the sedan and wagon (159), the coupe (Brera) and the two-seater (Spider).

And here are twin Breras, which wrap up the 939 family nicely. They might not have been the best to drive, but boy do they look good.

There were also two 4Cs present. These cost A LOT in Israel, so you’ll understand bumping into one even on an annual basis is just not possible. So meetings like this are the best opportunities to find 4Cs. But as special as these are, I prefer other, much older Alfa Romeos:

I love the old Giulia. This was the original sports-sedan, or at least defined the category, before BMW entered and took stronghold. And I think the styling is to die for, only falls short of its coupe 105 series sister.

Conveniently, a coupe is parked alongside; frontal view has you thinking there’s no link between these cars, but of course, the coupe is based on the Giulia’s floor-pan.

This GT 1300 Junior is one of the early mid-1960s cars, bearing the original fascia styled by Giugiaro. Although I prefer the later, twin headlights face, I must admit this is a very clean styling that works well.

Here’s another early GT 1300 Junior, made to look like a Sprint GT. Devoid of the bumpers it looks even better, that clean shape is yet cleaner. For example, note how the front indicators are made to look as part of the front wing, rather than part of the grill itself.

The first four headlamps’ fascia, later incorporated into all coupes, was introduced on the 1750 Veloce. This is a post 1970 series 2 car, and note how the indicators are “stuck-on” the front, rather than being styled neatly as in the earlier design.

Final incarnation of the grill was this (and later spread over all models). Specifically this car is a 2000 GT Veloce (or GTV). This was Alfa Romeo trying to make the Sprint (which by now was long-in-the-tooth) into a grand-tourer. The type 105 coupe sold relevantly well in Israel, and much like the Spider seen above, save for one- all Coupes you see here are original imports and not new arrivals into the country.

I will now turn to some of the non-Alfa cars that were allowed into the event. First two are close relatives:

The Abarth Punto Evo has a large following in Israel, and some say this has more Alfa Romeo genes than Alfa Romeo themselves. You can count on at least one representative in each Alfa Club meeting.

A very different car to an Alfa was this, a Morgan +4, of which there were two at the event. This is another car that was never imported into Israel when new (still isn’t), for lack of market really. Once over thirty years old, you can import almost anything, hence you can see two cars at classic meetings, a once imaginary conception.

Winner for “Best CC” has to go to this 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Sedan. Those were very successful in Israel back in the mid-1980s, and it’s no problem seeing one now and then, usually in this typical not-restored-yet-preserved state.

And look at this, I’ve got a Brougham for a head… This is for all you Brougham lovers.

This I did not expect; yes, the Neon was marketed in Israel (under the Dodge moniker) back in the 1990s, of which almost non survived. But the SRT-4 seen here was never officially imported to the country, and this one has a license plate number that points to the 1990s as its origin. So you can understand my surprise.

And here’s another one that must have slipped the radar as again, the Prowler was never sold in Israel officially, so this example must’ve arrived into the country via personal favors and/ or money changing hands. Either way, these sorts of vehicles can only be seen in meetings like this and never on public roads.

Finishing off the non-Alfa cars is another Israeli Alfisti favorite, the Lancia Thema. This one is a third series, early to mid-1990s that managed to survive. As you can see, it could do with a going over but at least it’s still here with us- again more than a few were purchased new, but most have vanished completely.

But now it was time for the GTV6’s unavailing ceremony to take place, and for this the club arraigned a (humble) lineup of type 116 Alfetta-based GTVs, of various years:

There were three early model, pre-facelift Alfetta GTV 2.0s (or so they seemed, I found no evidence to think they were tarted-up GT 1.6s). This was the by-then-old type 105 coupe replacement.

Those early models still used the “Alfetta” name, to link them with their sedan sister. Post 1980, face-lifted models became a family of their own, simply called GTVs. This is why you can spot an “Alfetta” emblem on the rear of this recently imported GTV 2.0 (which is also why it looks much better than its Israeli red counterparts, above and below). Also, its wheels are taken from a post face-lift GTV, and naturally suit it well.

It’s interesting to think that although (quite logically) there were more sedan Alfetta around when I was growing up, the GTVs survived much better. Maybe it’s because of their shape that’s really much more attractive than the sedan that had people drawn to them.

The GTV6 is a different matter, as these never arrived into Israel when new. Regular face-lifted 2.0 GTVs (after 1980) that were styled to bring them into the 1980s, were indeed imported and when new, not so rare to find on the streets. But the GTV6 was overlooked by the importers at the time, maybe thinking its V6 package would be so expensive only few would purchase it. Hence this 1981 GTV6 is a recent import and fulfillment of a dream for its owner. Witness how the facelift modernizes the mid-1970s shape and brings it into the 1980s, plus the unmistakable bonnet bulge that is the GTV6’s trademark.

But now came the time for the unavailing itself, and as the crowd gathered around, the dark green GTV6 emerged from under its cover.

This is a very late model GTV6, also a new import into Israel and sporting a body-kit. By the late 1980s the GTV was getting old, having been introduced in 1975. But the GTV6 was as fun as ever, and the owner told everyone how purchasing and importing this car was dream-come-true for him. Thus the lineup was complete:

Once unveiled, the car duly received a club sticker and the owner proudly attached it to the windshield. Job complete.

As the meeting unwound, there were still some more Alfa Romeos entering the area, such as this beefed-up late model Alfa 33.

And of course, you could not do without at least one 164. This example was “breathed on”, so to speak, and I must say I prefer the original looks better- contrary to the 33 above, this is a big executive car, and spoilers, rear wings, lowering or Nurburgring stickers do not do it favors.

I mean, to each his own but this sticker is a little OTT. Oh well, time for a video:

This video was assembled from dash-cam footage in and out of the event, with a short clip from the grounds themselves. You probably noticed the landing plane, so it’s fitting I’ll leave you with this photo of El-Al’s 747-400 in landing mode. One of the Alfisti guys turned my attention to this plane, saying El-Al, much like other flight companies, are retiring it and these days the 747 performs its final flights. So I managed to snap it up. Hopefully Alfa Romeo won’t end the same way.