Car Show Classics: Alfa Romeo Classic Club Israel – From TI to Clover Leaf

Last Friday I had somewhat of a dilemma; I had planned to go to a meeting where a recently imported 1980 Trans-Am Pace Car was about to be unveiled. This meant Firebirds, T/As and generally, plenty of Detroit iron. But during the preceding week I got an email from my friends at the Alfa Romeo Classic club, promising an unavailing of a special Sud, also imported recently to Israel.

Well, I’d like to say that I thought the CC community would be more interested in classic Alfas than “another” Firebird, but it wouldn’t be true. Ultimately, the Alfa meeting was closer- much closer, so that’s where I went…


Good thing I did, as I was reminded why I always loved to visit this club’s meetings- they are the nicest people, and so passionate about their cars. I’ve heard a saying that you can’t really be counted as a car lover, until you’ve owned an Alfa- preferably an old one. I’ve never owned an Alfa, but I’ve always lasted after one. I mean, there are various Alfa models I could happily see myself in. Not sure if I could handle the constant TLC these cars often demand.

The club itself has become much more than just about classic Alfas, and virtually all are welcome, as you’ll see in some of the photos. This is not out of place in a small automotive market that is Israel, where premium brands such as Alfa are being sold in small numbers. Accepting modern models strengths the club, and I can recall club members purchasing a classic Alfa after first having owned a modern one.

This specific meeting celebrated the presentation of a 1974 Alfasud TI, imported into Israel only a week prior to its unavailing. Two members bought it together, and one of them said he fulfilled one of his childhood dreams. Certainly, this is one rare car in Israel. I don’t think a single TI Sud was ever imported into the country when new.

So, on with the photos, starting off with, naturally, Alfasuds:

Some say this and not the VW Golf, was the original hatchback. However, Alfa introduced the Sud with a fixed rear window, thus not taking advantage of the hatchback’s shape and main advantage. The problem was they kept producing the Sud this way long after the Golf was introduced. It’s not until 1982 that a true rear door was introduced on the face-lifted Sud.

Curiously, a rear door was introduced with the Sprint, a sporty-bodied Sud (think of it as a Sud coupe):

Those cars were Da Bomb when I was growing up in the early-to-mid 1980s. I remember a neighbor had a black one, and boy, how cool was he while driving it.

The Sud’s replacement was this Alfa 33, essentially a re-bodied Sud with some modifications. This is one of the very early models.

While this 33 is one of the later, face-lifted cars. Oh, and you’ve seen it here before.

Now lets see some Spiders:

See the difference between these two Spiders, some 35 years between them.

Those Spiders are of the 105 series, of which other representatives were present. Starting with the beautiful GT1300/1600 Giugiaro designed cars:

This silver GT1600 and its red sister above make good use of modern sized, Alfa styled wheels, which make the cars look much better than the original skinny tires. And they’re sized just right, not too OTT. I like.

Another 105 series member is this relatively late-model Giulia (called Nuova), distinguished from the early models with a “new” front.

The 105 series was replaced by the 116 series. This Alfetta was the Giulia’s replacement.

And the platform served another coupe car, starting with this Alfetta GT, as is the red car above.

Following the 1980s face-lift, the name Alfetta was dropped and the car was simply called GTV.

Top of the line was this GTV6 recognizable by the bulge in its bonnet, made to clear way for the V6 engine.

Alfa also tried their hand at making big- shall we say- executive cars. This is one rare 1986 Alfa 90, maybe one of its kind in Israel. As new, they sold very few.

Modern incarnation of the 90 was the 164, shown here in the two photos above. This was part of a cumulative project between Alfa, Fiat, Lancia and SAAB, each using the same Tipo 4 platform to produce their own executive cars.

Here’s one of the modern Alfas I mentioned above, the Giulietta. This is the sporty Clover Leaf model. You can also spot a 156 behind it.

As ever, there were other makes present at the meeting. Here are some of them, starting with Fiat:

I don’t care much for either of these as they’re presented here. The 128 Sport was given American-style strips more fitting on a Mustang, and from the back it reminded me of a… Pinto. And the 124 Spider’s wheels could pass as some Seventies’ 4X4 wheels. As for the white-wall tires, I’d best not say anything at all. I’m all for personal improvements on classic cars, but these styling effects have nothing to do with the cars underneath them.

Now for some British representatives:

Aristocracy indeed. And he wasn’t the only one at the venue. See this next RR, some of you will recognize:

This Silver Wraith II was captured by my wife on dash-cam previously, and I guess it was a matter of time until I photographed it myself, which I now have.

While loitering around the cars, I saw a friend who’s also a my brother-in-law’s cousin (say it fast three times). He’s well into motorbikes, classic cars and what not. “Come with me”, he said, “I want to show you something”. He then led me to this:

This 144 is not his car, but very similar. This is a 1974 DeLuxe model, and features some creature comforts and options somewhat rare on the Israeli market, such as an original sunroof.

Now here’s what I like about these meetings; none of these people know each other, but it doesn’t stop them having a friendly discussion or even help each other, when help is needed.

But by now, it was time to head back towards the center of the display, where the Sud TI was about to be unveiled:

Yep, those are air-horns in the engine bay. joking with the owner, I said the only reason he bought the car was because of them: “Buy a set of air-horns, get an Alfasud attached for free”. He laughed and said these will be removed soon.

As you can see (and as the owners themselves admitted), it needs work. Still, they bought and imported the car after a long time was spent finding one, and when the opportunity presented itself, it was not to be passed. Compare this photo with the Giulietta Clover Leaf above, surly the Sud TI’s modern successor.

Yes, this motoring icon was also present. And it looked to me to be (thankfully) unmolested. Now lets include some US cars also:

You see, I still got a Firebird for the same money. Well, not quite the same as that 1980 pace car at the other meeting. Maybe it’s not a fair comparison, but looking at this and the ‘Vette’s photos, I’m amazed at the difference in front-and-rear overhangs between the two cars.

I’ll finish off with another photo of the star of the show, that 1974 TI. Complete with a pack of groupies at the back.