As Israel emerges more and more from under COVID-19, due to the massive vaccination process the country has undergone, so have more cars returned to the roads, and as usual, I was ready to capture anything worthy with my dash-cams. Still images were also taken when possible.
I used the most handy DMV-data App mentioned in previous posts to determine vehicles’ age, where available. Anyway, on with the video:
The 1997 Land Rover Discovery is eligible to be included in this post not only for being almost 25 years old, but also for being a three-door body. This makes it one of its kind in Israel, certainly as old as this, and unmolested at that- of course there are some dings and bangs but from what I could see, nothing major to report. The Disco, as it’s known in the trade, and LRs in general, have a loyal following in the country so even if this one is rare, it’s still not surprising to find driving in everyday traffic.
Yes, I know the 2003 Lincoln Town Car might not be special in US eyes, but this early-millennium private import is another one-off for a country that is Israel. As a matter of fact, there is still no official import of Lincoln products, and I don’t predict there ever will be, as the sister Fords, such as the Explorer, are expensive enough and don’t sell so merrily.
I’ve discussed plenty enough in previous posts about the importance and influence of the Subaru Leone/DL in Israel, throughout several generations- just last month there was yet another sighting. So it’s no surprise that I should find another DL, but this time it was a very rare three door coupe body, with the yet-even-rarer period wheel trims. The coupe sold in very low numbers, as it was both less usable and more expensive than the sedan, of which hoards were purchased. White was usually the color of choice, as were the roof racks which this example proudly wears.
You’ll appreciate the fact that I caught a glance of the yellow (mustard?) Chrysler New Yorker from across the street and duly returned for a closer look and some photos:
The DMV data app has no info to give, but the license plate tells me this is a recent import, though not that recent- this New Yorker could be an Israeli citizen for some fifteen years.
Not that I’m a Mopar specialist, but I’d say this Chrysler is a 1977 vintage. It has the obligatory mid-Seventies looks, including the yellow paint and matching vinyl roof, and is as Brougham as you can get (very easy to achieve in that decade).
All in all, this is another example of a vehicle that down the decades, has turned almost completely removed from its surroundings, certainly in Israel where although Mopar products were usually successful in the 1960s and 1970s, they were rather Darts/Valiants and not the larger family siblings.
Moving on with the video, and to another Land Rover. But this time it’s the original Range Rover. Even though the aforementioned app declares this as a 1971 vintage, I’d say it was born probably sometime in the early 1980s, being that four doors appeared on the Range not before 1981 (there were coach-builders that offered conversions prior to 1981 but that was not happening in 1971). Still, the license plate could well be from the Seventies (and belonged to another vehicle) so there might some creative records-twisting going on. Anyway, it looked pretty pristine, and age-wise, certainly eligible to be included here.
Next up was the GIANT Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon that was met in heavy traffic, and stayed in front of me the whole time (so no view of its front from the rear dash-cam). This Caprice is from 1992, almost eligible for a “collectible vehicle” license, but rather still being used as a builders/painters’ vehicle, as attested from its occupants and their equipment. Not surprising, as these Caprice whales can take just about anything inside. The sedans were fairly successful in Israel at the time, but I think the only real hurdle to buying one was their sheer size, which was way too much for a country as small as Israel. Of course, nowadays you can see plenty of new Merc S-Classes and/or BMW 7 Series, which are just as large as the Caprice and much more expensive than what the Chevy cost originally. Shows you how Israel itself has changed throughout the years.
Out driving with the family one springy (yet murky) day, I stumbled upon this rather lovely 1987 Porsche 944, coming the other way. This is obviously a new import into Israel because, as I’ve written before, official Porsche representation only started some 15 years ago. Once the vehicle in question has passed the 30 years mark, you can import it into the country regardless if it had previous Israeli importers. Hence (relatively) many Porsches from earlier times can now be seen driving about, such as this example.
Last car of the video is my favorite, the Mercedes-Benz W124. In the early morning light, the license plate is not visible enough to see the numbers, so I could not use the DMV app to determine its age. It seems this is an example dating from 1989-1992, when the W124 had a first facelift, but in all honesty, this is just a guess.
And now on with some still photos:
I remember when the first gen. Subaru Legacy came out- it was a big deal for the then-importers in Israel, having controlled the local market for so long, but now under threat from Mitsubishi, which were taking control with their Lancer and Galant (having entered Israel in 1989). Also, the Legacy was really the first “grown-up” Subaru, certainly compared with the Leone/DL mentioned above.
To try and make headway, the importers even convinced Subaru to install the old 1.3 unit in the Legacy to make good use of the then-active tax reduction “step” on such engine capacities (much like Volvo did in the local market, offering 1.8 liter units instead of 2.3 much more suited to the cars). This did nothing for the Subaru’s performance of course, but it didn’t hurt the sales.
This example is one of the lucky ones, with the 1.8 liter unit. It is from 1991, which just makes it eligible for a “collectible license” in 2021, and I suspect it won’t be long before I’ll stumble upon it again to see the change marked on the plate. By the way, this parking area hosts many 1990s to early 2000s Japanese runarounds, which are usually parked there around the same spots. That Honda HRV I posted before is regular, and note the late-1990s Toyota Corolla photo-bombing the Subaru in the one of the photos above.
As mentioned, once Mitsubishi was convinced to disregard the Arab boycott of Israel and enter the country, so did all the other Japanese manufacturers to follow suit and from the early 1990s, Israel was awash with east-Asian brands that previously were never here officially (besides Subaru, of course, which was small enough not to care about the boycott in the first place). The first to take advantage of the light pickups market were actually Isuzu (and not Toyota with their Hilux).
The model name for the Isuzu was dubbed “Ippon” in Israel, and was very effective- if I recall correctly, they were the first to offer a double cabin on the local market, which until then, only knew “light” pickups as El Caminos and GMC Sonomas (or, if you will, the Subaru pickup of course). This Isuzu is a 1996 model, and is a post-facelift model. I actually had a chance to photograph an even earlier 1993 double-cabin Ippon on the same day I took photos of the 2CV from the last post, but neglected to do so. You can still see it in the background in one of the 2CV’s photos.
I’ll finish off with this mandatory anti-theft device, essential to anyone who will not invest in a proper insurance (for obvious reasons). Well, it works…