I was preoccupied for the last two years, mostly with kids (well, my kids) but also with this pandemic thing that rushed over the world, as well as Israel. As things got looser, and finally COVID-19 is making signs of winding down, so did local classic car meetings begun to re-appear. Finally I found the time to head over to one of the many meetings that take place around 16:00 just about every Friday, at various central locations in Israel.
I decided to visit at a laid-back meeting I visited previously many times, and wrote here what sets them apart. Time to see if some of the cars have changed- let’s dive straight into the photos:
Entering the premises, I was faced with this originally preserved 1979 Porsche 924, maneuvering into a parking spot. Sometime later, another classic Porsche, a 1974 911, was heading out:
I counted three classic Alfa Romeos, two of which were spiders:
The top 1975 Spider is a regular at the meeting, and looks much nicer than the US import Spider that’s in the second photo. But the third Alfa at the place was somewhat interesting:
Obviously someone went a long way to make a point- a good point, I think. After all, how many more red alfas can you take? I like the originality of this 1971 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super’s restoration, and that still it isn’t 100% accurate, as the lack of bumpers and the protruding exhaust suggest. Looks a bit lowered too.
Us iron was always popular in Israel, so you can bet there will always be enough representatives at such meetings. Strarting off with a C3 Corvette (some would say a classic show isn’t complete without at least one C3):
This is a 1979 car, and is a recent import. But as we are well and truly some 35 years since the 1980s, you can also be certain of a C4 representative:
And as you can see in the photo above, sitting behind the C4 was a rather immaculate 1963 Willys Overland Pickup. Here’s a better look:
JEEP products were assembled in Israel starting from 1952, in a very restricted market. But in 1962, the administration decided to ease restrictions of pick-ups’ import, whilst lowering taxes on locally produced ones. Hence, the local assemblers conceived a local, “cheap” JEEP pickup based on the station wagon, called “Willys Compact”. that’s why this looks as if a station wagon’s top was removed, rather than the original single cabin pickup- because they did. So this is an original Israeli Willys and rather unique. Staying with the US theme:
A recent addition to the meeting and a recent import altogether is this 1969 Chevelle, though the Israeli MOT has it registered as a 1970 model. Perhaps this is a cunning plan to make it younger than it is, for some odd reason. Anyway, it still looks gorgeous. And parked next to it was:
All, and I mean- ALL of the brown. Weirdly, I find this satisfying for some reason. I used to look upon brown cars as old’s people’s choice, but now I think beige has well and truly taken that role. Anyway, brown looks fine on this 1980 Trans-Am, of which (much like the ‘Vettes above) you can find at least one in every classic meet. Or you can settle for its sister:
A well known participant in meetings, this 1979 Z28 is much more vibrant than the Brown T/A. Incidentally, the lower photo was taken at another, previous meeting as I neglected to snap the Camaro from the front- I was so familiar with it I forgot. Let’s move on:
Parked next to the Camaro was this very elegant 1966 Cadillac Deville Convertible, which is also a regular at this event- and you get a nice compare with another similar-yet-so-different convertible, a Mercedes-Benz W113 SL280. More Mercedes later, but for now let’s stick with Cadillac:
This 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible was somewhat long.
I mean, really Looooooooong. Just take a look at the front marker light. And that color… Well, love it or leave it. But from all I’d choose this:
To me, this 1963 Cadillac Coupe DeVille looks much better, even with a somewhat dull shade of color. And it’s not the first time I (or you) have seen it- I stumbled upon it some time before. You’re bound to run across most classics in your area more than once in such a small country (with a small community) that is Israel. Now go for some Malaise-era classics:
That face… Funny how these two very similar 1979 Thunderbird and 1978 Ranchero found themselves at the same meeting. Not to worry, more Ford products were available in the form of two early 1970s Mustangs:
Somehow the blue 1971 Mustang looks better than the yellow 1973, even if they’re essentially the same. Non are favorites of mine to start with, I’d have to say.
Another JEEP was spotted at the meeting, albeit some twenty years younger than that Willys Compact. This 1981 CJ-7 is an original import from when it was new, and looks a lot nicer than similar examples that were captured here. The winch is probably a mandatory accessory by now.
As I’ve written in several posts before- this Chevy Van might not mean much to US readers, but is rapidly becoming very rare in Israel. And now, Classic-inclined people are starting to take notice- hence this 1993 Sport Van is being treated as collectible and not as a work-horse, such as the van captured here. As for the Z71 package- well, you can dream, can’t you?
This 1955 Hudson Hornet is another regular at the event, and rather unique among the sea of other classics. I had the opportunity to snap up the engine bay once the owner lifted the bonnet (hood):
Nice, isn’t it? And well preserved too. And not what you’d expect normally when lifting a bonnet (hood…) to gaze at a classic US engine. Well, maybe if you know your Hudsons. But now we come to my favorite of the US cars on the lot (possibly the entire meeting):
Funny how growing old has you look at various cars differently than when you were young. I mean, I used to look upon this 1960 Buick Electra and its counterparts as barges, with busy styling and too much chrome. How could these match the late 1960s\ early 1970s muscle-cars? My outlook has changed dramatically, much like this Electra’s styling- something’s happening in every angle of view.
Same goes for the inside, and note how airy the cabin is. It’s almost post-less (or pillar-less, whichever way you want to call it), not to mention the effect you get from the curved front windshield. I forgot how shallow dashboards used to be. Nowadays you’ve got huge distance between you and the base of the windshield (granted, much better safety as a result but that’s nothing to do with styling, which is the point I’m making).
Nice flow at the back, and suddenly I think the bumpers are actually toned down, certainly compared with the giant post-1973 items. Those fins… For me, this car is fabulous, which says more about me than the Electra itself. But than I also liked the same era 1959 Chevy Biscayne posted here. And look at this for contrast:
There were more than a few Mercedes-Benz at the meeting. Here they are, starting with two W126s:
This black 1984 380SEL Looked practically new. Well, the 1980 280SE in the photo above it wasn’t far off either. They belong in a period when MBs were built like tanks, so I’m not surprised to find them in this state. On to two very different SLs:
What a difference some twenty four years make. The dark-green 250SL is from 1967, whilst the R129 is from 1991. Some might say it’s all in the headlights; all they did is just go from standing up to laying down…
Best Mercedes-Benz at the meeting was this 1972 280SE W108 3.5, which belongs to the head meeting organizer. As expected, this MB in well known and jealously maintained. Now, fittingly, I turn to BMW photos:
Three E30 BMWs were at the meeting, with nearly all body variations present (minus Estate/Wagon). The two-door sedan is my favorite, but I have to say it’s really refreshing to see an unmolested original E30, that even sports the original wheel trims and not some aftermarket alloys.
The 635 Csi and the red E21 are again regulars at this meeting, whilst the 1971 Bronze 1800 is what I mean as a contrary to the original E30 (and the E21) above; by no means should you stick to an all-original look, but why is the plastic screw-on air dam essential? It just looks messy.
A sole Audi was at the meeting, and really one of a kind in Israel. Just about a handful of Audi V8s ever arrived in the country, so to witness a survivor is a rare occasion, even if it doesn’t look too impressive wearing black and surrounded by much sought-after classics. Now go for Volvo:
Although the 245 Wagon is from 1984, it’s got 1970s written all over it- Maybe the same goes for the white 1997 944, of which styling could be considered old by the late 1990s. And the 1971 P1800 is just gorgeous. Now I’ll just post random classics from all manufacturers and years:
This 1961 Borgward Isabella Coupe is another regular, but extremely unique in the Israeli landscape. Hard as it may seem to believe, it is not a recent import but was sold as new way back when- at least that what the license plate says. The color scheme is not original, I think, but it’s complementary to the Isabella’s styling. Now for some 1980s:
All of these were extremely popular and common in their day (well, the Kadett convertible is a one-of in Israel but not the five door), and have now all but vanished. At least few of these will continue to live on in meetings similar to this. Here’s another example of a once common car:
Sometimes I don’t get classic car owners; the last time I saw this 1969 Capri it had no strips and no white-wall tires- you can imagine it looked much much better. This setup reminds me of guys in the 1980s who’d own a crumbling classic, and throw “accessories” over it because they saw a picture of a Mustang somewhere. Not everything is worth imitating. Onward with more classics:
I don’t know why but this flowers’ motif goes down well with me- perhaps because it eases the German seriousness of the Golf(ish) icon. Third generation steel wheels work well too.
Here’s a string of old Peugeots. The blue 1953 203 is really lovely, but how different are sedan and convertible of the 404 one from another. It’s all in the Pinin Farina, I guess…
Classic meetings like this always attract various modern sports-cars, and above you can impress yourselves with examples. Looking at these you might think Israel is the center of supercars- mostly 911s.
As the two Mustangs were leaving the meeting, so did I decide to bring this post closer to home. On to the final stretch, than:
I’m not into MGAs, but this one looked just stunning. It’s a 1962 of a recent import, as it were, and one of the best examples I’ve seen recently. Now for something I thought I recognized, but as it turns out- I didn’t (but still I did. Ha?):
Back in 2018 I did a post about a Hymer-Mobile I captured whilst on my way to work. When I saw this at the meeting, naturally I thought to myself: “Small world” and made nothing of it- of course, in such a small country that is Israel it’s the same one, yes? Well, it’s not- someone privately imported another Hymer, and it’s not even the same model. Going back to said post, I discovered this is the bigger 660 (and anyway, comparing both has you noticing differences immediately). This one is registered as a Merc (not surprising) and is from 1985. And check out the electric bike on the rear carrier; this is what you’d call “sign of times”- once this probably would carry some two-stroke moped or motocross, but no more.
Two VW Beetle-based fun vehicles also attended. I especially “dig” the Corvette rear end treatment, which shows no signs of being born in 1974. Maybe originality doesn’t really matter with this kind of car.
We cannot finish this post without at least one Susita, this being the “12” model from 1967. I keep telling myself the story of this mostly unknown Israeli car manufacturer needs to be written and posted on Curbside Classic, but I just can’t find my way to get there. Some day, maybe.
I’ll leave you with one final photo of head-on faces:
Wow, that’s an amazing group of variety there. Great article. New Kaiser’s and Willys Aero’s were made in Israel early 1950’s, wonder if any are left today?
Only a few. Most were scrapped many years ago – the model was not thought of as desirable even in Israel back then. When I was growing up in the 60s they were owned by those who were unable stretch to anything “better” and could not wait to get rid of them; by the 70s most were unfortunately scrapped.
Thanks for taking the time to do this post. Most appreciated.
I have a sentimental soft spot for the 73 Mustang based on a personal experience, but I get it that people in the Mustang fan club don’t see them as their favourite.
That 60 Buick looks like it means business, and I liked your shots of that one. The 69 Chevelle reminded me of how similar (or perhaps the same) the roof is to that on a Buick or Olds of that year.
That Alpha Romero Polizia is perfect. Being an introvert I don’t think I’d like all the attention one would get driving it but it looks so good.
Just curious but have you ever seen a recreated Hebrew Hammer mobile? One of my J-Team friends lent me a copy of The movie years ago and it was hilarious.
Not in Israel. First, a wealthy Orthodox Jew over there would have most likely bought a station wagon like an Olds 88, a Volvo 760 or even one of the people carriers like the Chev Vandura, VW T4 or a Chrysler Voyager, given that such people tend to be blessed by many children and have a strong practical common sense. Secondly, a Cadillac would have been too flashy and not gone down very well with the community. And for the same reason any garish displays of Jewish symbols would have been avoided. The only person “allowed” a Cadillac would have been one of the big Rabbis, but even that would have never blatantly advertised the owner’s beliefs (see pic).
That is not to say there are no cars with nationalistic/religious symbols in Israel but those are likely to be owned by people who are “traditional”, that is, not heavily religious and mostly working class.
Great post, great photos!
Love the Jeep pick-up, the Hudson, the P1800, the Peugeot 203 and that Borgward (preferably in a different colour). Oh and the 1960 Buick, while we’re at it.
Might do a European Deadly Sins piece on Susita if you won’t – or we could collaborate on it, if you’re up for it. Let me know…
I think the Susita is solely an Israeli Deadly Sin, in this case all European (to be more precise, British) involvement was at the company’s owner behest…
Thanks for the offer, will look into it… It’s a hefty task.
That yellow, early “70’s” Mustang convertible keeps calling me.