CCs In Israel: June 2020: From On to Off-Road, take your choice

Last post in this series was somewhat gloomy because of all the COVID-19 repercussions, forcing people to stay at home, and thus driving less on the road with most various CCs absent. Thankfully as the country loosened up, everyday traffic thickened and I got to capture much better stuff this month.

So, on with the video. As usual, I will elaborate below:

I’d probably get a better view of the VW T2, had it been going my way, but since I was heading north with my family I was in no position to chase it (different situation down this post). This was a Saturday and undoubtedly it was being aired out, much like many other classics that were left unused during the Corona Virus’ first wave, and now their owners are able to move them.

Same drive and further on, a mid-1990s Pontiac Grand Prix was captured driving hastily, driven by the same type of elderly gentleman who in Israel, usually drives aging 1990s GMs. Although PN struggled to write something about this first gen W-body GP in the past, my contribution is that I actually like their styling. Forget everything else; the engineering, creature comforts or build quality- I think the GP simply looks good, at least the best out of all the other W-body sisters.

First off-road of the month is the iconic Toyota Land-Cruiser J60, and a pre-facelifted example. What you see here is a new import, since up until the mid-1990s, no Land-Cruisers were imported officially into Israel (or Toyota in general, for that matter). Also, the license-plate says so. I’ll admit my lack of knowledge in these vehicles, so I’ll leave you with the task of figuring out its exact model year. I’m pretty sure that’s not an original paint job, but it works. I’m glad to find cars that “shouldn’t” be seen in the country at all.

Next up is just a lowly Ford Focus, I know. But this is one of the early cars and as such, could be over the twenty years mark. That’s one hatchback that looks very nice in my eyes, and stood the test of time. It’s also fitting that I should include it here given the family connection to another CC featured down this post.

The black Jeep hurrying me was probably one of the last CJ-7s to arrive into Israel when (almost) new. Its license plate clearly shows it was registered in 1989, so this is well after the final CJs were replaced by the Wrangler. Obviously some creative registration antics were involved, but the end result is another CC up for grabs by the rear dash-cam.

You’ve seen that Volvo 242L before, parked near my home in August 2019’s post. This time I caught it on its way presumably to the same spot. You can’t really miss that square block of a shape with a distinctive paint scheme.

As I was driving home one day, right around the block I found a parked 6-series E24 BMW. After parking my own car, I went back for closer photos:

Blue BMW 630 CSI

You cannot miss the 5-mph bumpers, which attest to its origin; a new import from the US, as is usual with such cars, imported preferably from warm climate states rather than rain-infested countries. Most are also cheaper in the US than Germany, so collectors buy them despite those ugly bumpers.

Blue BMW 630 CSI

Blue BMW 630 CSI

Judging by the rear emblem, this 630 CSi is one of very early US cars dating from 1976, having been replaced only a year later with the 633 CSi.

Blue BMW 630 CSI

Really timeless shape, and (again) shame about the bumpers. But have a look at this, which I noticed and had a close-up photo taken of:

Dep. of defence sticker on BMW 630 CSI

“Dep. of Defense” vehicle? It has a registration number which looks legit- but what do I know? I’m sure the CC community will have an answer to this enigma. And meanwhile, you can feast your eyes upon the forming rust bubbles that inevitably are getting hold at the windshield base.

Back to the video, and on with the next segment:

It wouldn’t be a post from Israel if I didn’t include at least one Subaru DL (Leone). Thankfully, it’s not a pickup this time but a regular sedan, although it still performs “manual labor” and hauls some cupboards (?) to wherever. This is in fact one of the very early DLs of this gen, as these started selling in the country in 1985, when this example was registered. The older these get, the more accessorized they become, with the much sought-after alloys that were very expensive to specify when this car was new.

Another 4X4; another Jeep, and it’s not far off from the CJ-7 mentioned above. This one is a CJ-8 with its elongated wheelbase and rear overhang. Running alongside the CJ-7 during its production years, I guess it was produced sometime in the mid-1980s although I cannot tell the exact year of this particular example; the license plate shows it’s a recent import and unlike the CJ-7’s plate above, it does not reveal exact registration year.

Hands down, winner of the best CC in this post has to go to the gorgeous Dodge Viscount. Once again it was the color that caught my eye and as I was approaching the roundabout, instead of turning right as I was supposed to, I turned left in pursuit of the Dodge (what will you not do for a post on Curbside Classic?). I followed it until it was clear going further will take me too far for comfort, so I turned away. I had no designs on capturing the Viscount’s fascia anyway, as I was driving the Opel Astra and that has only a front-facing dash-cam. But as it turns out, I’ve seen that car before:

Blue 1958 Dodge Viscount

This is another one of the regular attendees in classic meetings, specifically the type that hangs around this meeting, and it does look fantastic. You couldn’t get much more Fifties than that, certainly in Israel, where most cars of that decade have long gone.

Blue 1958 Dodge Viscount

The license plate says this is a new import, although not all that new- some ten years have passed since its arrival to Israel. But who cares? I love it, and this comes from a person not that big on 1950s cars. Though you’ve seen plenty of its tail in the video, here it is again because, well: fins!

Blue 1958 Dodge Viscount

Back to the Video:

The credit for capturing the Mini Clubman Estate has to go to my wife, who kindly informed me of “this old car I saved for you on the dash-cam today”. I’ve seen this car there for years, and it belongs to the owner of SKF Bearings’ Israeli branch- they’ve managed to obtain two adjacent parking spots right next to the shop, presumably for loading/unloading, but since the sidewalk is wide in that area, with little commuters passing, I guess the local authorities don’t mind if that tiny (for 2020) Mini is parked there. Well, it is an Estate after all so you could call it a commercial vehicle if pressed. I’ve had designs upon photographing that car for years, but I rarely get to that spot and never on foot- so you can thank my wife for that. I’ve never seen that car in local meetings (Mini related or else), and I’ve concluded the owner keeps to himself regarding his car. From what I can remember, it’s an original import and may have belonged to the (now deceased) originator of the business- it’s even painted in the same SKF blue. Despite the less-than-ideal shooting conditions I had to include this, just for the sheer difference between the Mini and the traffic around it- a world away.

Another CC that was in a hurry was this Volvo 940, of a late production model. These, like the 240 and 740 series before them, gained great admiration when new, if only for being the choice of ministerial vehicles at the time. Today, they begin to be sought after now that the earlier models have already amassed popularity in classic communities. This specific example is of a lowly spec, sporting black bumpers and wheel covers (which belong, if I’m correct, to the younger brother Volvo 850). In Israel it was actually the earlier, mid-1990s cars, that were better spec’d. It’s missing the front near-side indicator/side-light cluster, but other than that looks just fine- and drives just as well, as you can see.

Come the end of June I stumbled upon this:

White Ford Escort 1.3 CL

Yes, it’s a 4th gen Ford Escort. Well, we all know it’s more of a face-lifted 3rd gen, but I’ll go with Ford’s designation. Having parked my car, I drew closer:

White Ford Escort 1.3 CL

Once again, I maintain that in Israel, you’ll find the best CCs in rural towns and small villages, which is where this one was. According to the license plate this should be a 1990/1 model, so really one of the very last- and it looks stunning for a thirty years’ old car. A gardener passing by in his Hilux, saw me taking photos and stopped by to ask if it’s mine: “I see it here all the time and wanted to ask the owner if he’ll sell”. I suggested to leave a note on the car and we parted, but this little episode tells me that this Escort is parked outside regularly. Impressive:

White Ford Escort 1.3 CL

I mean, it’s got all its trim and the original wheel covers- even the emblems. This one settles for the 1.3 liter engine, and why not? It only has to move around 850 kg (kerb), so with a manual gearbox, it should have been enough for what was Israel at the time. The rear bumper sports the mandatory reflective strips, that were let go in 1994- but in Israel, if your car dates back to a year before that, you must keep these until the end of time.

White Ford Escort 1.3 CL

And the frontal view is where I leave you, and June- ’till next time.