CCs in Israel: April-May 2021 – Germany vs. US

Oldsmobile Cutlass, Fiat Croma, Mercedes-Bentz W113 W124

Again I had to join two months in order to produce another post in this series. Given that dash-cam captures were rather depleted, I will try to balance that with some more still photos and some personal fleet updates.

As usual, let’s get on with the video:

The first car is the unmistakable Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Coupe, of a 1987 vintage. This one is kept very original and its license plate suggests it was imported into Israel as new, back in the 1980s. I distinctly remember those driving around, and whilst not as common as bread & butter, were certainly not handful. One thought raised when looking at the Supreme is how big these seemed to me back in the day, and how small they look now- I think this is about the same size as my Honda Civic Tourer, which is no more than an elongated Hatchback. Here are two more examples, although these are four door sedans and thus lacking the scrumptious fascia:

grey oldsmobile cutlass supreme

black oldsmobile cutlass supreme

Next up we have a proud representative of the Malaise era, and some ten years older than the Cutlass. I just barely saw the Lincoln Continental Mark V parked at the petrol station area, so pressed the dash-cam to save the clip. Back home, I examined the videos to find this is another new import into Israel, as most (if not all) of these are. Official import just did not exist at the time (still doesn’t), but curiously, many are being brought into the country now- it seems those Mark Vs are dream cars for many Israeli would-be classic car owners… or are they just cheap(ish) in the US? Anyway, to prove the point, here are some more examples imported in recent years:

Maroon Lincoln Continental Mark V

creame Lincoln Continental Mark V

Brown Lincoln Continental Mark V

light blue Lincoln Continental Mark V

white Lincoln Continental Mark V

You’d tend to overlook a car born in 2010, but when did YOU last see a Fiat Croma? This is the second generation but in name-plate only, as it is miles away from the large saloon that was part of the 1980s SAAB/Alfa Romeo/Lancia/Fiat shared platform. The Croma was meant to be a large crossover station-wagon but as it happens, it was aimed neither here nor there; you had either dedicated crossovers or dedicated MPVs for that matter. Thus, it failed to make any impact on the market and even a facelift, which the captured car has, didn’t help. So although it’s relatively new (certainly by CC standards), this is one hell of a rare car. An anecdote I remember about it is when Michael Schumacher was a guest on Top Gear sometime in the 2000s, he said this was his company car from Ferrari, which made Jeremy Clarkson’s jaw drop. I thought this was actually a very logical company car, especially if you have kids (which he had by then). And anyway, if you’re Michael Schumacher- what road car could match your on-track “daily”?

Stuck in heavy traffic is probably where I most loath to find myself in, especially with kids in the back. But at least a nice W113 Pagoda Mercedes-Benz could be captured in these circumstances. This one is a 1969 280SL of a recent import, which is no surprise at all- even though these were imported into Israel when new, you can imagine not many were purchased in the first place, either for their high priced or for being German (it meant something in a Jewish country back in 1969). So most W113s you’ll see in classic meetings are recent imports. Here are some more examples:

red Mercedes-Benz W113

black and white Mercedes-Benz W113

dark blue Mercedes-Benz W113

white Mercedes-Benz W113

blue Mercedes-Benz W113

Last car captured in the video is yet another Mercedes-Benz, this time of the W124 type. But contrary to my recent W124 captures, this one is a rare convertible- of those, only a handful were imported at the time. Despite what you might consider appropriate weather, Israelis were never fans of open-tops. The few W124 convertibles that survived, are being preserved buy their owners. However, this one, a late model from 1994, is a rare example of a newly imported classic, presumably because its owner couldn’t find a local car. Looks like it needs some work, and parking in the street like that does no favors to its front headlights which are turning yellow (a very common disease in sun-washed Israel). The dust also attests to its somewhat neglected state, I guess. But I pass that spot every two weeks or so, and the W124 is always there, so I might see an improved in time.

Now for some still photos of two interesting vehicles. One was actually home-made:

food van vw t2 lookalike

Sometime in May I found myself at this open-air shopping center, in which a VW T2 was placed. The photo above is what you see when you first notice it, and at a glance, nothing is unusual. But hang on- it’s too long, and what about that rear wheel arch?

food van vw t2 lookalike

That fascia is way too weird, and those are not its original windshields. The lights’ arraignment is wrong, and whole thing is off. By now, you already know it has nothing to do with a genuine T2 but its shape.

food van vw t2 lookalike

Off to the other side, and I now began to admire whoever constructed this; a food-van made to look like an original T2, but scaled to fit its purpose. I mean, even non-automotive persons will recognize the immortal shape yet the owner/operator of this stationary food-van selected not to search and destroy a genuine T2 for his/her purpose, which is nice. It even has front doors with hinges and everything.

food van vw t2 lookalike

Last photo shows where the driver and front passenger would usually sit, occupying some sort of a refrigerator/working area. Well, it’ll not be driving anytime soon.

black BMW E32

Another classic BMW turned up parked near my home, much like the E24 630 CSI featured in this post. This one is of course an E32 second generation 7 Series, and is almost thirty years old, born in 1993.

black BMW E32

Black color in Israel does no favor to cars, as you can see- I had a black car one time, and I can tell you no matter how much I washed it, it still got dirty in a day- obviously this one hasn’t been washed for several, and if anything, looks like a daily driver. It had had some sort of attention, manifested in replacement mirrors and quite tasteful (normally sized!) alloys.

black BMW E32

The rear flank sticker sheds light upon this E32, that linked E24 above and a couple of more BMWs mentioned here and here– All relate to a veteran BMW service center near my home (where I took stills shown in those other posts). According to this, the place is operational since the early 1970s and, starting in 1980, has its roots planted in the current residency. I suppose one of the head employees lives just around the corner from my home, and from time to time uses various BMWs as rides. Very convenient, as I don’t need to search for classics- they come to me…

Now for some CCs captured whist servicing the Astra. I wrote about this particular Opel Service Center and its CC littered surroundings here, so just  to update; since the Opel takeover by PSA, the Service center moved under the wing of the Israeli PSA importers (as did the entire brand), thus gained new clients with PSA products, along with the older GM-based clientele- very handy, if you ask me. Still, most of the current vehicles in the service center remain GM based, and as usual, older GMs are littered around the perimeter. The Astra was brought in by my wife and later, I went over the dash cam’s footage; Apparently they moved the car between the service center and a small parking area, thus various CCs were captured and I made a video inclusive of these- go on, have an identifying game (not really hard):

To end this post, I will add some photos and a video of the wheels’ alignment done to the Astra- finally I got around it, after having all four tires replaced last year. Because of COVID-19, this car had barely drove in 2020, so this process, which I usually perform after having all four tires replaced, wasn’t urgent. But now Israel has returned almost to normal once most of the population has been vaccinated, so the Astra returns to full service. Besides, whilst driving the car I did feel some slight vibrations so I was keen to have this checked.

I decided to give this tire shop next to work a chance- apparently it’s being run by one of the oldest hands in the business (one of those chaps who used to work “by feel” before you had all manner of wizardry machines and tools, such as a tire rotating machine). Before aligning the wheels I asked then to check for tire rotation and surely enough, correction was needed and performed. After which the car was duly uploaded on the wheels’ alignment ramp/lift to have the work done:

opel astra wheels alignment

opel astra wheels alignment

opel astra wheels alignment

To me, the process is very interesting- in the video, I’m having a conversation with the bearded operator, who happened to be the owner’s son. It was just as fascinating to talk to his dad, who explained how this work was carried out in the old days. So on with the video- points of interest/explanation:

The operator stands on a ladder to turn the steering wheel, getting feedback from the computer screen- this necessitates the key-switch to be in “On” position, thus having the parking sensors beep like crazy (I should have remembered to turn these off); For you non-speaking Hebrew out there (are there any?), the short discussion between me and the operator is about camber, caster and other angle-related terms; My Morris Marina t-shirt is so out of place, much like the car itself; Face-masks have become an accessory rather than necessity, and as of writing this, next week those should be rid off completely in Israel.

In the end, the wheels were properly aligned and nothing was in need on correction. And so ends this post- see you in the next installment.