CCs In Israel: June to July 2019 – From Vespa to Firetrucks

Once again I bring you an assortment of various vehicles found and captured in the Holy-land, and brought here to satisfy your huge excitement. Alright, steady on.


You may well have noticed that I’ve bunched up two months rather than the usual one, because June was, well, slow. So starting off with the first video from early June:

That third gen. Nissan Primera was imported into Israel for only two years, and only a handful were purchased – all of which were sedans. Funny, but this makes it one rare car in Israel. Same goes for the Volvo C30, which was so expensive you had to have a really good reason to buy what was essentially a Ford Focus underneath. Despite its age, the Sonoma is still the obvious choice for those who want “an American truck”, but cannot afford a modern Silverado / RAM / F150. But my pick of this video are the two wheeled representatives, oh so different from each other; the three-wheeled Vespa (being ridden by the local Hell’s Angel), and the iconic BMW R80 G/S.

Around the same time I happen to visit one of the Kibbutzim for Shavu’ot Holiday, and found these laying about, presumably waiting for the right moment to be rescued from obscurity (or maybe waiting to donate parts):

In the old days, you could actually find some classic gems in such places, but time moves on and now those Korean “UJMs” (for lack of a better word – you know what I mean) are the new classics. The Punto slots in nicely there. On to the next video:

The T2 Bus is being hauled on a Saturday, which makes me think it started on its wheels and broke down somewhere. The M.A.N. is an example of a typical Israeli fire tender, treating a small weeds fire. The Police car escorting the M.A.N. later passed me on its way to another call and is an example of highway patrol unit (they use everything from Toyota Avensis to Skoda Superb). And the video rounds up with my favorite, a late model Peugeot 205 (and for your amusement, includes a Skoda Octavia who’s driver is late to figure out his destination).

Actually that video ends on the way to a large supermarket where I buy the family’s groceries, in its car park I found this:

This is probably one of the last driving examples of a Mitsubishi Galant in the country. Not only that, but it’s a very early 1990s car. My dad owned a lower class 1989 Lancer, which was of course smaller – yet I still had to check closely to verify I was looking at what was once considered a saloon car, now downsized compared with the current Skoda Octavia parked alongside it.

Every time I see a SAAB I feel somewhat sad, as this is another car manufacturer that went up in smoke. The 9-5 was quite successful in Israel in its day, considering it was always expensive and managing an up-hill battle against the German alternatives. The mini-ambulance (based on the vehicle I wrote about here) is taking EMT services in Israel by storm, as it’ll go everywhere in busy city streets and can provide with initial care quickly. This particular filmed incident was rather comical, as I heard the familiar loud siren but couldn’t spot the usual Savanna EMT’s unit associated with it- imagine my reaction to this micro-ambulance once visual… And of course, the Mustang is always a pleasure to spot mid-day (and is probably the best catch of June).

And as luck would have it, around the same time as the above video, on my way to work I happen to stumble upon an Aero 9-5 sitting still. This is another car that’s looks has been growing on me.

Remember the BMW lover from May’s post? He added another classic BMW, the 7 series E23. This is of course a new import to Israel, no points for guessing its place of origin (well I mean, just look at those bumpers). Onward to July:

The Mazda 626 is another car that used to be so common back in the early 1990s, and it vanished almost completely. Dad almost replaced his aforementioned Mitsubishi Lancer with one (sedan) back in 1991, but had a row over its price with their local salesmen who was stupid enough to say to dad: “I didn’t tell you the wrong price, it was YOU who didn’t understand!”. I can vouch for that story, because I was there when it happened. This method of insulting the customer might work sometimes (?), but not with dad, who preceded to take his money over to Peugeot and leave with a 1.9 liter 405 (which, until the day he died, claimed was the most comfortable car he ever owned). But I digress.

As for the 626 that’s in the video, its driver was somewhat too erratic to my liking, sticking his nose way to close up my car’s boot, so I let him go at some point. The Buick Lucerene might not mean much to US readers, but is another car that’s rare in Israel since it was purchased only buy people like the pensioner who was driving it, much like the clientele described here. These are just about the only people left driving large Buicks.

And now for something a little different, sort of bonus video; in July the Opel Astra COALed here underwent its first MOT test. Since 2016, new vehicles in Israel are having their first test after three years on the road, so the Astra having reached its third year, went through the mandatory test which was captured on dash-cam. Obviously, all speech is in Hebrew, but I think you’ll get the basics:

To clarify slightly; the tester is lighting his way to find the chassis number, until I remembered it was in the cabin under the passenger mat. And the photo insert is a monitor showing you your car from the inspection pit. After the MOT, which finished successfully, I’ve returned home and captured this grader, turning left from a straight-only lane, nearly taking out the Skoda. So added to the video for your enjoyment.

One day early on my way to work, I found this. As most KEI cars go, this is oh sooo cute. Some of you will know this as an Opel / Vauxhall Agila, but this is originally a Suzuki WagonR (a yet even more comical name). Next up:

That Giulietta Spider was immaculate, and I recognize the passenger as Chaim Cohen, one of Israel’s leading (celebrity) chefs. The man is a known classic Alfa-natic, and has made enough money to own this:

I have no idea whether that Spider was his or the driver’s. Either way, that’s a lovely way to start the day, and is maybe the best catch of this post. I added the IDF International as a point of intrest and a typical medium transport truck the Israeli army uses regularly. The JEEP is yet another classic early out; remember, all these classics registered as such must not be on the road between 7:30 to 9:30 AM, so all are driving well before that time window.

Towards the end of July I captured the Mk3 Golf and Mk2 Legacy, essentially from the same era. Another fire-truck was spotted, this time an Iveco much newer than that M.A.N. shown above. But for me, curiously it’s the Kia Shuma that shines in the video (well, “shines” for lack of a better word). This is one of the last cars developed by Kia prior to the Hyundai takeover, and once again I’m shocked to find its shape has grown quite fondly on me. Also, the importer was changed so during that turmoil time for both manufacturer and importer, not many were imported and purchased. Once again, one of the most unlikely cars in this post turns out to be one of the rarest in Israel.

I’ll finish off with a detail photo of a late gen. Mazda 323. No description necessary, but I can tell you that the other side of the boot was also adorned with the same solution (albeit broken):