T.Minor posted these pics taken by Ofer Paz of a five-seater El Camino in Israel. And why would anyone bother to do this, instead of say just buying a Malibu coupe? It’s not for the cargo-hauling ability. T.Minor explains:
This is Israel’s version of the “Chicken Tax” – sort of. These El Caminos were at the time considered as commercial vehicles and were taxed very low, so people used them as a cheap way to get a US-made car (still desirable at the time). It did not matter for the purpose of tax law whether it was a two or five seater, hence the obvious modification. Later the administration caught up to this and changed the law so it made no sense to modify these.
Thanks for the explanation; makes perfect sense. Now there’s one more thing that needs explanation: how come the Chevy bowtie on the front grille is bigger than every other ’76 El Camino that I can find images of?
It’s a minor point, but I notice silly little stuff like this. Was there a tax break for that too?
Holy flying buttresses Batman err Zackman….
Prototype for the current crop of “less than a 6ft bed” trucks that litter our highways.
Anyone else notice the 2CV pickup?
I want one now.
Or how about the photobombing Nissan Pulsar NX?
Reminds me of an Explorer Sport. Or maybe a Subaru Baja?
I also do rather wonder why the top portion of the car is primered when the rest of the paint looks nicely finished.
Pretty much happened in Chile. One of the effects was building here Falcons from imported Rancheros! Behold the “Falcon Sprint”: https://www.flickr.com/photos/riveranotario/8847457839
Look at all that trunk space. Proportions not quite right.. In the UK we have the same tax exemption hence the number of Toyota/Mitisa andFord crew cab trucks with bed boxes on the road.
You know… I kinda dig that Falcon!
Interesting to see how countries have their own way to “commercialize” vehicles. I remember the days that something like a Peugeot 205 GTi was converted into a van. No rear seats, blinded rear side windows, flat cargo floor. Everybody could drive one.
Not possible anymore. “They changed the law”, just like in Israel…Now you really have to run a business and the vehicle’s cargo area dimensions have to meet a certain standard.
Since this article’s CC is a Chevy (nicely done, by the way) here’s another one. An official Chevrolet Tahoe Van.
Not much to see on the outside.
Same rule in Austria.
I was unaware that Chevys were even available in Israel in the ’70s; at one point in the Arab-Israeli boycott companies could only do business with one or the other, and the oil sheik Cadillac became a stereotype while Ford had their own historical reasons to go with Israel and the Israeli attempts at a domestic car industry were mostly based on British Ford mechanicals. At least FWIU.
Was Ford’s “historical” reason to make up for old Henry the First’s infamous antisemitism?
That would be it. No prizes for guessing, though.
True, but he never stopped selling in Israel, even in the 30s.
The big three had a non-stop presence in the country since the 20s, and the same applied to most of the independents. It was the main Japanese who avoided Israel until the 80s, which explains how Subaru became Israel’s best selling car in the 70s-80s (and Suzuki and Daihatsu doing very well, too).
This looks conceptually similar to the pickup base sedans you see in South America. The Dutch market had some pretty creative dodges too. To meet rules on cargo floor length ahead of the rear axle Landrover had a unique 129″ wheelbase version of the Defender 130 crew cab (normal WB was 127″). There was also a high roof version of the Discovery van, made by Terberg.
The best way to induce people to choose a kind of car above another one.
In France, we used to have a yearly tax, called the Vignette. Each car has a fiscal rating, called “chevaux fiscaux” (fiscal horsepower), or CV, mostly based engine size and gear ratios.
Bigger engines and/or closer gear ratios meant more CV and a heavier Vignette, whose amount was in proportion to the number of CV.
Diesels also got a lower rating than gasoline engines. A 2.5 litres diesel engine would get a 7-8 CV rating while a 2.5 litres gasoline had a 13 CV rating.
(For the record, Renault’s 4 CV and Citroën’s 2 CV got their name because of their fiscal rating, even if 2 CVs eventually got a 3 CV rating when their engine grew in size).
France also created the Super-Vignette during the seventies. Cars with a fiscal rating above 16 CV (2.8 – 3.0 litres) got a Vignette which grew exponentially, and not proportionally to the engine size.
The goal was to protect the french market against an invasion of sedans from the other side of the Rhine… France got sentenced by the European Court of Justice for that nasty trick when the Court saw that no french cars were rated above 16 CV. France reluctantly agreed to apply the Super-vignette to cars with a fiscal rating above 18 CV.
American cars were the big collateral damage of that tax. I guess it was one of the reason why american car sales slowly dwindled in France during the 70’s.
It also was the reason why diesel Oldsmobiles and X-cars were a success over here. 350 diesel Oldsmobiles were rated at 16 CV while V6 Skylarks got a 13 CV rating. So one could drive a american car without the Super-Vignette burden.
Not just big US cars – this stupid tax killed Delahaye, Bugatti, Hotchkiss and other manufacturers of Grand Routiers (?). France could still have had manufacturers offering real competition to BMW/Audi/MB had your government not been so socialistic after WWII… I don’t know how Jean Daninos managed to survive with the Facel Vega but maybe there was some loophole?
Of course, here in Austria you are taxed by quoted manufacturer hp to this day. My Mazda 3 with its 165hp costs me an extra €250 per year when compared with the 120hp model.
I’m not sure the Vignette killed luxury makers in France.
Bugatti was mostly affected by the loss of Jean Bugatti just before WWII.
And both Bugatti and Delahaye presented outdated chassis after WWII at a time when high luxury vehicles weren’t an item really sought for in France.
Hotchkiss had troubles building the Hotchkiss-Gregoire, which was also too expensive.
So Hotchkiss focused on building trucks and military vehicles.
And there were no loopholes for Facel. It sold because it was a great car that got a lot of hype around it. The list of famous owners of Vegas is quite impressive.
Facel died because of reliability issues with Facellia’s Pont-à-Mousson engine and the decision of the board to replace any failed engine for free.
If Facel had chosen a Volvo engine like they did later, France might have a got its BMW/Alfa Romeo equivalent.
Well my view is that you first need the home market to establish yourself; I do not know one manufacturer which was created on export sales alone. I can appreciate there was more than one factor in this but a tax of that kind makes it very difficult for anyone thinking of producing anything moderately big. And when you look at the kind of cars Peugeot and Renault were making before WWII and the ones after, you can see it affected even those two.
Taxation based on horsepower is, in my humble opinion, absurd. If you want to promote cleaner air, and promote people to drive smaller, greener vehicles, tax based on fuel economy, emissions, or some blend of the two.
Here are the later versions which were far cleaner (by Yohai90). Nowadays Elcaminos and GMC Sprints are coveted in Israel by hot rodders and restorers; cars like in the article, which obviously has been customized using Bondo and tasteless wheels, are the exceptions rather than the rule.
The badge on the front is a late-model addition, just like the “CHEVROLET” lettering on the tailgate.
Differences in how cars vs. trucks are taxed in Scandinavia also results in weird mashups, like this Camaro/Camino.
Even in the USA there are strange vehicle taxation schemes, state by state. California taxes a Chevy pickup at a higher amount than a Suburban, even though part of the tax is based on “unladen” weight. That is because the Suburban is a “station wagon”, not a “commercial vehicle”.