It’s time again for another bi-monthly update of CCs and the like from the holy-land. Along with dash-cam captures, I’ve included quite a few still pictures.
So, on with the video:
First car (well, truck) in the video is a VW T4, and what was known as the first to bear the Transporter name (well, at least in Israel). You can imagine these were very popular service vehicles in their day, both in van form and in this double cabin pickup setup- as were their successors. Although this featured truck was born in 1995, you can clearly see it’s still being used as a work-horse, which, judging by my experience, is usually the case with these old VWs- what better proof of their longgivity can you ask for? And if you’re not convinced, you’ll meet an even earlier example down this post.
I seem to be picking up at least one Mercedes-Benz W124 per post, if not two, and the next car in the video is another representative of that. I’ve written before; these are such complete cars, and might be the ultimate best MB has ever produced, coming after (and gaining from) the very successful W123 and W126- and possibly distilled these cars’ best attributes into the W124. Not clear enough to see the license plate of this example to be able to determine its age, but it seems this is a late-model car, so possibly mid-Nineties.
Next up is a twenty years old Toyota Camry, with oh-so-fitting Champagne color. I may need to explain myself here; US readers probably wouldn’t take notice, but in Israel, 2001 Camrys were not available officially. The Israeli Toyota importers rested upon the European Avensis for that segment in the market, and would later import it alongside the Camry from the USA (until they realized the Camry is the best seller of the two, not to mention Toyota axing the Avensis). Thus, any Camry of this generation (XV20) you’ll find in Israel is a private import and consequently, very rare. I think the nicest thing to say about the styling is “unoffensive”. If you squint your eyes and REALLY convince your self, you could see shades of Ford Thunderbird in its silhouette (if that’s a good thing), but that’s about it, at least for me. Still, you don’t see these everyday and therefore, it earned its place in this post.
Another make which comes up repeatedly in these posts is Volvo, and usually it’ll be one of the 900 series, usually a 940, like this captured example. Previously I’ve discussed Volvo’s strong legacy in Israel, so it’s not surprising to find another one of these driving about. This 1997 car looks somewhat patched-up, with clear signs of repairs and resprays, mainly around the bumpers. But it must be said, with proper care these Volvos could be around forever, so I can safely say this will not be the last of the 900 series 8to be captured.
Next up is the familiar shape of the VW T2 van and it’s a very late model from 1979, just before the third generation took over. As you can see this one is a restored example, and probably part of the local Israeli community that continues to nature the cult status these vehicles posses (as shown here). I cannot say I care much for the latest fashion of sticking Porsche wheels on Classic VW vans- I mean, this can go only so far without looking ridiculous.
Next vehicle is another Israeli classic favorite, a JEEP CJ-7. Quite impossible to decipher its age because of unsatisfactory filming conditions, but if I’m to guess I’d say this one is an early 1980s example. Ever since the early CJs, the JEEP was very popular among the terrain-goer Israeli, certainly until the early 1990s, when the first Japanese alternatives started arriving into the country (same time as LR Defenders, but those were too expensive and brittle to be considered seriously). Also, the IDF using various series of CJs from the late 1940s to the late 1990s (including a locally-produced derivative), didn’t hurt their reputation. And as with yesteryear VWs and Volvos mentioned above, these have also amassed a cult status. So no surprise to stumble upon such CJs, although now mainly on their way to some classic meeting rather than just as an A to B vehicle, as these used to be.
And if here, it’s a good time to pause with the video and insert some still photos of another same era CJ-7:
As you can see, this is the short version, contrary to the one in the video. And it’s short. I mean, REALLY short. My Opel Astra is parked just ahead of this CJ-7, and after I parked and left, there was space for maybe a Smart ForTwo. Upon my return I found the JEEP parked there, no problem (well, it’s creeping behind the parking sign but still within the marked curb, so within its rights).
Although it’s from 1982, this JEEP still sports an oh-so 1970s paint scheme. Actually, it sports the entire look, complete with rear door mounted wheel, white-lettered tires and matching wheels, with a mandatory winch at the front. And yeah, it had some unfinished body repairs done, but it kind of works for the sort of vehicle. CJs sitting on the side of curbs used to be such a common sight when I was growing up back in the early 1980s, but I can’t remember when I last witnessed one doing that.
Continuing with the video, the harried C5 Corvette included here looks to be almost out of place, as it appears too new to be part of this post. However, it is a 1998 car and as such not THAT new. Besides, this is still Israel and not the US, where I suppose these ‘Vettes are common. Also, I know you like this “drive it like you stole it” style (on a side note, I have tons of reckless driving material under my dash-cam’s belt- not surprising really).
Last videoed car is a rather ordinary 1994 Mazda 323 (or elsewhere, Familia). When Mazda entered Israel in the early 1990s, little did they know this car would be first in line of Mazdas taking the market by storm; this 323, further two successors (dubbed here “Lantice”), and of course the new Mazda3 (first two generations) took over from Subaru in the 1980s, and then Mitsubishi in the 1990s, as default template best sellers and indeed, so successful they even set the bar in terms of pricing- other importers just followed suit and would press their represented car makers to match prices (“if you want to sell here, you cannot cost more than Mazda!”). This went on until Hyundai and Kia got the idea, and started matching (if not surpassing) the Japanese at their own game, so to speak. Add to that the known SUV rise which finished off this Small Family Sedan segment anyway. Back in the late 1990s/ early 2000s, I remember publications claiming Israel was Mazda’s best selling market (after Japan), to the point company heads would turn up here for visits to try and figure out what was so special about this country that would make it such a golden goose. At the the time, they would just be a good value deal, and ticked all the right boxes important to the Israeli buyer: 1.6 liter petrol engine (that was under higher tax limit), automatic gearbox, air-con, power windows, sedan-shaped (Israeli favorite) and so on- all for the right price. I used to have a girlfriend who lived in a Kibbutz, where the vehicles were shared at the time, and some of these were much like this featured 323. I drove these a few times, and yes, it was nothing special, but was competent and well-built, which was just what you need for a shared vehicle. Besides, it was up against other shared Kibbutz cars such as a Skoda Favorite, or, my personal favorite (see what I did there?), the Skoda Forman van. These were real bastards, so no problem for the 323 to shine…
Continuing from the still photos of the JEEP above, next up is probably the most Bona-Fide classic car of this post, not to mention an almost true CC:
As you can see, not really a driving car as this 1966 Volvo Amazon has too much dust sitting on it to have it considered as such. I’d say this is one of those classics someone desperately had to have but when the ownership settled in, found out it might be too strenuous to maintain. Thus, it falls into that category of classics just rotting away aimlessly.
Inside, probably a host of parts under that sheet, and obviously, a cracked dashboard. I mean really, couldn’t the owners have at least put up some sort of sun protection? OK, it’s probably result of years’ neglect and not the current owner’s fault, but keeping it in this state surely doesn’t help. At least you can guess its red upholstery from the visible door-card.
God knows its mechanical state, but I guess it runs, being that it has a valid license (probably this is the reason why it sports a replacement modern door-mirror, as it wouldn’t pass the MOT test without one). Also, the trim is mostly there, and it looks straight enough. Hopefully it’ll find its way back from this down-spiral it’s in.
Quite weirdly, we come now to my favorite CC of this post:
Years ago, if you’d have told me that a VW Transporter pickup would be in any way interesting, or indeed a favorite of mine, I would have to question your sanity- but here we are. In my defense, this 1992 T4, an even older sister to the videoed blue car, is in remarkable condition, especially if you remember this started out as a working vehicle meant to undergo harsher life than passenger cars. I have no idea if this Transporter in still at work, but I suspect if so, than it’s toned down for sure. Looks to me as if someone went to the trouble of respraying and probably body repairing, and you wouldn’t do that if you’re still planning to use the pickup hard at work. You only need to notice the condition of that blue T4 in the video to see how these old trucks usually look.
This pickup is only one year away from “collectable vehicle” status, which if why I think it looks like it does, obviously maintained by a loving owner. And how about the Suzuki GS500 photo-bombing at the side? Well, not photo-bombing at all, I obviously included it in these photos as it is rapidly nearing the same collectable status, having been born in 1999. I remember those fondly- indeed, my first motorcycle was a naked 1992 GS500, which was tailor-made for the small country that is Israel. It was reliable, tough and would be as comfortable in the city as well as on the open road, on which it was fast enough back then. Could there be a connection to the Transporter’s owner? The paint scheme suggests so, but who can say. They look good together, even if the unlikely pair.
Next up is a another late 1990s refugee, a 1999 Citroen Saxo, and yet another well preserved example, right down to the wheel trims which managed to survive.
OK yes, the black plastic bumpers and trims have faded courtesy of the Israeli sun, and the “Saxo” emblem has taken a walk, but here is another example of what I think is a car waiting to arrive at the age of thirty, so to achieve the coveted “collectable vehicle” status. You start seeing more and more 1990s preserved cars like this Citroen, or the Transporter above.
A picture of the interior, and even the dash isn’t cracked (a common 1990s PSA disease). The sun visor leaning on the passenger seat could be hint of the owner’s TLC. Yes, there are seat covers that make you wonder what is hiding under them, the door card cloth is loose around the grab aperture, and the steering wheel probably could use restoring (why would you put on this hideous cover otherwise?). But other than that, it’s just fine and will be very familiar to anyone whose ever driven a 1990s PSA product. The central AC vent is a feature, not a bug (or vise-versa…), and reminds me of the time my father replaced cars and hired a 1.6 automatic Saxo for a month, to bridge between the two. It was competent, and even if felt somewhat like a tin, did everything expected of it with no hassles. It certainly wasn’t a “Citroen”, just a clothed Peugeot 106 (not a bad thing but you can forget the famous quirkiness associated with the brand).
All in all, a nice example of a car that used to be very popular in Israel in its day. It still has some way to go before arriving at thirty, and I do hope it’ll make the mark.
Stepping out of work one day, I noticed this adventurous 1995 Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Tenere. I remember those well from my motorcycling days, when in the mid-1990s they made a huge impression on a very small Israeli motorcycle market. Those in the associated riding groups with a Super Tenere would look down upon riders with the smaller displacement, 660cc single cylinder Tenere (without “super”)… You cannot beat the class system.
This example looks to be somewhat weird; it is registered as a 1995 model, but those graphics are from 1992. Also, the entire front fork/fender/wheel assembly looks like a replacement- on the original XTZ 750, the front fender was hugging the wheel and not high up, MX-style, and it had a double disk setup. No matter, as long as it keeps rolling (again) towards the thirty years mark. In Israel, motorcycles are eligible to be registered as collectible vehicles just as passenger cars, when time is due.
This next car might be THE definition of “extreme use”. Its condition had me thinking this was a second generation Subaru, but it is in fact a “new” third generation.
Something is off with this one’s registration- there’s no entry found on a related DMV data-base, which had me thinking that number is too good to be true. Essentially, there is no such thing as a personal plate in Israel, so this looks like someone with the right connections had it made up (this could be done if you know the right people). But why? This is clearly a driving Subaru Legacy, so it must have a valid license. Also, that’s an interesting look for the front bumper, and fully matches the car.
Roof bars are a must on these wagons, and you didn’t expect the wheel trims to survive, did you? This may have been a car put to work previously, as the rear clearly hangs low- but there’s nothing inside to create weight. Possibly this was done earlier in its life. Actually, there’s such an example further down this post
Just across from the Subaru was parked this:
Another well-used example, this time it’s a 1996 Land-Rover Discovery. However rough and neglected it looks on the outside, it seems to be at least somewhat cared for, judging by that large sun-visor.
This has had the off-roader’s mandatory modifications done to it, such as removing any intrusions under the front bumpers to clear the approach angle, and obviously different shocks and springs. The tires are also off-road induced, and do I see leftovers of white-wall someone tried to paint over the lettering? Note the sealing treatment above the windshield.
Over to the other side, and notice the infant boots hanging from the towing bar, the spare wheel trying to escape from its cover and the amount of excessive rust that took hold above the window line- even the roof rack has it bad. This is somewhat uncommon in a fairly dry country such as Israel (yes, it’s humid in the coastal region but not enough to cause this amount of rust), and usually you have to make an effort to get to that state (or could it be that first gen. Discoverys have issues in that department? Let the CC community discuses this). These early Discoverys have all but vanished, leaving survivors such as this featured car to drive off road but not much else.
Now we come to last of the still photos’ captures, and curiously, another most favorite (although there was one already, so is this second most favorite or just another most favorite? never mind):
Possibly I’m being drawn to this 2000 Mazda 626 wagon because I’ve grown fond of station-wagons/estates, driving a Civic Tourer (wagon in Honda jargon) or maybe because I remember the 626 sedan my father almost purchased back in 1999. However it may be, this is a late model 626 that is splendid for a working vehicle.
Obviously, it didn’t have a sail-through life- evidence of repair can clearly be seen around it, such as different shades of silver on the doors. I’d wager it’s the driver’s door plus the front fender that undergone some remedy. All in all, it looks great- but how do I know this is a working vehicle?
The answer is in the boot; that’s a serious amount of paint and painting accessories to be carried around just for fun. Usually, cars like this look a lot more like that Subaru B4 wagon above because, well, it’s going to get dirty and suffer anyway, so why bother? The owner of this one is different for sure.
As for the 626 in general, those were very successful in Israel when they first arrived here in 1998. Much like the 323 in the category below, they outsold everything in their market segment and continued to do so when the replacement Mazda6 arrived (the current model is still selling steadily but the absolute king of this segment is the Skoda Superb, though its falling down due to the SUV craze). As for Dad and the 626; He almost replaced his Peugeot 405 1.9 petrol with a 626 sedan back in 1999, but had a row over its price (given to him earlier) 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 Toyota and buy what was back then possibly the most accessorized Avensis 2.0 petrol. It was a used 1998 car that belonged to the local Toyota service center’s owner, and he was friends with Dad years before- in hindsight, that Mazda episode shouldn’t have happened to begin with, but there you go.
And now for some photos of the Civic tire repair I had to perform (well, not me, clearly it was done by a man who repairs tires) when a rampant screw found its way in there. Again I used the place near work which did the Astra’s wheel alignment last post:
And to finish off this post, here’s a video of the annual Opel Astra MOT test held in July. You know the drill by now, seeing tests from previous years, so this will be a shorter one. I’ll just add that they tried multiple pollution tests of the Ford Focus seen in front of me in the video, so when I was done with the test one of the testers sent me to finish things up at the office and released me when I returned. Also, I’ve kept a small part of the drive out for those interested in garbage and junk trucks (there must be a few lurking about here):