As you can see, it took a while to accumulate this collection of CCs, either in video or in photo form- not driving much due to a burst of another Covid-19 variant, had its toll upon capturing classics. Thus three months are stuffed into one post in this on-going series.
Starting off, as ever, with the video, but with a comment; I used the Astra much more than the Civic, and that one does not have a rear view dash-cam installed. So sadly, less frontal view of captured cars than before. Still, there’s a lot to be seen:
The first vehicle in the video is a rather unassuming 1991 GMC Vandura 4X4 “Pathfinder”. That might not be anything out of the ordinary in the US, but here in Israel, those not common at all. Not only has the regular 4X2 Vandura become a rare sight, but the 4X4, of which not many were sold here in the first place, is virtually close to extinction. This example is riding on Savanna wheels and is already on a “Collectible Vehicle” license, as told by the plate. When new, these 4X4s would sell through the official importers and did sport the “Pathfinder” sticker on the lower edges of the front doors.
That 1963 Cadillac Coupe DeVille was almost invisible, what with its shade of color and the low light of a rather gloomy day. I’ve seen plenty of classic Caddies in various meetings (as these have a strong following in Israel), but this particular car is new to me- Yes, that wretched Covid-19 business had me missing many meetings, not to mention two young kids that keep you busy. Anyway, here are some more photos of 1961-1964 Cadillacs:
I wrote in the previous post that it seems every post now has at least one Volvo representative (which replaced the default Subaru). Indeed, another one is upon us, in the shape of a 1991 744, still on a regular non-collectable license (those are available once the vehicle has passed thirty years). I’ve discussed Volvo’s importance in Israel before, so here I’ll just add that this example is rather politically-inclined; those stickers depict anti- Benjamin Netanyahu slogans, undoubtedly leftovers from the last round of elections (in which Netanyahu lost out to the current administration). The power of a classic Volvo can never be ruled out in such matters…
The next car in the video was captured at the worse possible conditions, yet I had to include this Mk 1 Golf Convertible for its shear classic status. Impossible to see its license plate, so I cannot tell you the exact year. The fact these were produced for so many years, does not help also. Still, this looks like of the early 1980s, and doesn’t seem to be a GTI spec. I’d wager that it’s a recent import, as when they were new no more than a handful ever arrived officially. Still, I have more photos of other Convertibles I encountered through the years:
And to finish this segment off, here’s another VW Golf Convertible from Salzburgring car park. Judging by the enlarged bumpers, this looks like an import from the US:
Next up in the video is a real CC, parked duly at the curb and being driven from time to time, as I see it regularly in the town where I live. A 1982 BMW 728i of the first 7 series, an E23, and of course running on a collectable license. Not sure where the owner got the idea for the go-faster bonnet (hood) stripe, but there you go. This one has no relation to the BMW service center related cars that used to park near my flat, discussed here. I say “used to” not because they no longer do, but because we now have moved to a different location in the neighborhood- so I no longer pass there. Maybe I should.
Next up I stumbled upon a Chevy Cavalier Coupe, again a car which probably means (and is worth) just about nothing in the US. But in Israel, this was something of a poor man’s Monte-Carlo (or maybe even a base Camaro) in its day. Well I mean, the GM genes are there- probably. More can be read in this post, where I found an off-sided, battery supported (yes!) Cavalier near home. As time moves on, so do these cars gain (just about) a following.
Next we come to another great example of a vehicle that used to roam the streets, and now just about gone. Not only does this 1992 Fiat Fiorino van driving regularly, it’s a working vehicle I’ve seen plenty of time as I head off from work. This belongs to a printing shop as is depicted by the accompanying stickers. At first that dull paint might look like it was applied later in its life, but with Fiat of this era- who knows. Small super-mini based van such as the Fiorino were very popular in Israel throughout the 1980s. Cars like the Ford (Fiesta based) Courier, Renault (R5 based) Express, Citroen (Visa based) C15 and the (127/Uno based) Fiorino were small so fit just about everywhere, low on fuel and back then, low on tax (provided you had the right business to justify that). What killed them was the first Citroen Berlingo that offered much more car for not much more money, and could also benefit from tax reductions. Even if this specific Fiorino is a late model, it has just turned thirty which is very respectable for a working vehicle.Wonder if the owner will transfer its license to a collectible type, which would lower its tax considerably but would impose a limit of not driving between 7:00-9:00 AM.
Next on the video I drove behind a late-model Peugeot 205 from 1995. At the time these seemed to be around forever, and indeed, note the “Forever” sticker next to the “205”, as Peugeot themselves got the idea. The replacement 206 was just minutes away at this point but the 205 was still a best seller, and why not? It was a great little car, maybe the first true interpreter of the term Super-mini and showed the way for all other rivals to follow. Again we have a car that was just about everywhere in Israel, and now only few remain, mostly serving old timers that use them to transfer stuff or even handyman doing odd jobs (GTIs aside, as those have a separate following altogether). Nothing is beyond such cars, as you can see by the roof racks- transfer a bed? No problem.
Next up I happen to catch a glimpse of a bye-gone shape, that was really enhanced by the powder blue color. I followed what turned out to be a 1953 Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe. Although it’s registered as a 1954 model, I think it’s a 1953 because of the tail lights’ shape. I followed it as far as I could, hoping it would turn left so that I could get a better view from the side (no rear dash-cam on this one), but alas, the Chrysler was on its way out of town. Although Mopars used to be entwine within Israeli car culture (such as it was), this specific example is a recent import and wasn’t purchased in Israel back in its day.
If you look closely- I mean REALLY close, you’ll notice another classic just making the lights before the New- Yorker is forced to stop. That car was turning left, where I was going. Sure enough, as I reached the next stop-lights, I noticed the 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Coupe turning on its heels to join the New Yorker no doubt. Pretty sure these were traveling together, and the Lincoln turned left instead of right at the previous intersection. This specific Continental is known to me from car meetings, and has been documented by me before:
And here are a couple of other Town Coupes, all (including the featured brown car) are recent imports and not sold here when new- I’d be surprised if even one ever reached the shores of Israel back in the day:
Onward in the video we come to a first generation Dodge RAM, sadly too off to the side to see a clear plate. At first, I was sure this is a D100, and a survivor of the truck that used to be assembled in Israel from knock-down kits back in the 1960s through to the 1970s, by Automotive Industries (defunct since 2019, though the EN Wikipedia page doesn’t indicate that). All these pickups have now long gone, which is a shame considering they were assembled locally, so I was quite pleased to find one that’s actually driving. But upon seeing the “Ram” emblem, this could be anything between 1972 to 1993, as I understand most outer body panels are interchangeable between the older D series trucks and the Ram series which arrived in 1981. The front grill also looks post 1980, so anything goes. Still, good to see classics trucks and not just classic passenger vehicles, which are the norm in the Israeli classic cars’ scene. I found an older photo of a D100 step side, though the bed is not what you’d expect. Someone had a miss-mach passel going on there:
Next on the video, here’s another pickup that used to be common and now almost vanished- a 1998 GMC Sierra 1500. A whole shipment of these arrived and sold as hotcakes back in the day, and I swear they were all in that same color scheme. I remember I looked upon those GMCs as too big, certainly for a country that is Israel- little did I know how larger will its decedents evolve, into the current Silverado, which is just WAY too big. Of course, nowadays I wouldn’t mind having a 1998 Sierra- I’m just not into the 4X4 that all these imported GMCs had. The ones who survived, like this featured truck, just keep on working for a living.
Onward in the video, we come to a nice little car that was really ahead of its time. The Renault Twingo was imported into Israel for maybe two years, around 1994 and 1995. As it did not leave an impression on the local market, the importers duly ceased. Anyone who’s ever owned one knows how well the Twingo reinvented the term Little-Big Car. It was something between KEI car size and larger Super-Minis, and was great driving in narrow city streets, not to mention parking in small spaces, yet was very spacious on the inside (well, for its size anyway). The local market, at the time striving for big(ger) cars as possible, was not ready for such a car, not to mention that Israel does not really have narrow streets as you’ll find in certain European cites. And of course, the final nail in the Twingo coffin was its relatively high price. Thus any Twingo you’ll come across will be a rare sight, as this 1995 captured car, which also has such a funky color. Really, the market grew to accept these minis some fifteen years later, when the Mini category itself grew a little bit to include such cars as the Skoda Citigo, Hyundai i10 and Chevrolet Spark.
The next car in the video is again from the mid-1990s, yet very different from the Twingo; it’s a 1996 Alfa Romeo 146. Try as I might, I could never warm up to these, either this five-door nochback or the three-door hatch (neither could I warm up to other Fiat products of the times, such as the sister Tipo). This I think was the low point in Alfa Romeo’s styling, which took the 175 lines too far. Actually the only one I like from this era is the family sedan 155, which replaced the 175- so maybe it’s all about size and proportions? Either way, the 145/146 was an OK seller in Israel, and pretty much has the customary following as the rest of Alfa’s products in Israel. Oh, and they did drive great- here hare some photos I took when I attended a motoring gathering at a (now defunct) tiny race track:
And a couple more 1 46s from various local Alfa club meetings:
Next up in the video we come to a rather interesting vehicle- so interesting, in fact, that I plan to dedicate a separate post for it. Basically, it’s a mobile workshop constructed on an end-of-life M.A.N. 18.360 coach, from 2008 or whereabouts. These vehicles were conceived back in the 1970s after suddenly Israel tripled its size following the 1967 Six Day War, so just towing a malfunctioned bus to a service center, which was not a big deal in the past, became a real difficulty when you have many miles to cover, not to mention there were no motorways back then. Converting an out-of-service bus into a mobile workshop that toured the country was step one, but in the mid-1980s those vehicles gained towing capability. The last incarnation is what you see here, and actually uses a relatively new bus. Anyway, more on that in a later post.
Thus we come to the last car of the video, captured as I was leaving work- a Chrysler New Yorker Landau from 1988 (?). These were also very rare, as not many would arrive into the country and those that did, were private imports, such as this one. According to its number plate, it was imported privately into the country back in the early 1990s:
So off to the stills’ section of this post, and I’ll start with something a bit different (and actually from from very late November); One early morning, as I was leaving for work and about to enter the Civic Tourer, I found this rather unassuming Ford Focus wagon parked behind the Honda. Now, this is nothing special, but I suddenly realized these are two wagons that were introduced right around the corner from each other, and are direct rivals also. So, interesting to compare their styling which is rather different:
You decide which looks more advanced, interesting or indeed even beautiful. Me? By now I certainly warmed up towards the Civic, but I always thought the Focus looks great. Both are base models, by the way.
Now lets turn to some CCs:
Sometimes you need a bit of luck capturing CCs. As I was about to stop for red lights, I noticed this Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, so obviously I stopped alongside for a picture. As I had no license plate visible, there’s no way for me to know its exact year, so I guess it’ll go down as 1980-1986 model, unless the CC community has further knowledge. I did manage to find another similar car in my archives, although I believe this one is a 1977-1979 model:
Off to the next car, and it probably couldn’t be more different than the Cadillac. Returning home after I disposed of my elder son at preschool, I found this 1996 Suzuki Vitara:
Now if you recall, in the last post I met up with another same age Vitara, only that one was less preserved and had an open top. It was also more road orientated, whether this one has had some light improvements done towards terrain motoring, such as steel wheels with appropriate tires and after-market front bumper, for a much better approach angle. I suspect the ride height was also dealt with.
You can’t really see it in this picture but it’s unbelievably short- I’m standing with a hedge at my back, taking the picture from a distance that usually would not allow me to take in a whole car.
For all its boxy look, I much prefer this three-door body rather than the “convertible” style that has half the roof opening. In the hot Israeli summers, it makes more sense once you turn the A/C on. And not to mention better protection for your belongings. All in all, a really nice Suzuki that also gained cult-like following through the years.
And now off to something that is again nothing special for US residents:
As I was running some errands in a town next to where I live, my way took me near an unused field that catered for various trucks’ parking. Right on the edges were twin 1993 Kenworths as you can see, probably owned by the same person. Once again, a vehicle that may not seem all that special to US eyes, might be very rare in other parts of the world. Starting from the late 1980s and on, Israel was mostly dominated by European “cab over engine” trucks, such as Volvo, Scania and the like. Yes, we did see Mack and International, but those were mostly IDF owned and not civilian. You could see civilian Leyland and Mack but that was much earlier.
The yellow truck, a shorter chassis day-cab, has T800 stickers, and so is its register with the Israeli DMV, but from my limited knowledge, I think both Kenworths are W900s.
The dark green truck, complete with longer chassis and sleeping cab, is much the same. Both were imported privately in 1993, as the license plate attests, and I’d like to think they were imported and purchased together- and just kept being together all these years (probably changed owners but that’s normal).
On to the last car of this post. I was visiting my mother late February and as I was washing my car, I heard this familiar GM V6 rumble. Looked up and saw a yellow flash, which drove down the street and parked next to one of the houses:
They never sold in Israel when new, so here we have another recent import example of what is a 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT Fastback, which might be the best of the lot. And again we have a car I didn’t think much of back in the day, it looked too stubby and weird to me (not to mention all the other problems listed in this Deadly Sin post). But when the fastback came along, I thought at least they addressed one of its major flaws quite well. Would you believe after all these years, I now prefer the original “cut-off” roof-line? How things change.
To end this post on a personal note- as I write this post I’m down with COVID-19. Yes, after dodging the bullet for two years I had to concede as well, to get infected through my elder son (who caught it in preschool, where else?). Fear not, by the time this post publishes I’ll be over the wretched thing.