CCs in Israel: March – April 2022: Sports-cars to Vans and Everything in Between

Corvette C3, VW T3, Subaru Leone, BMW E34

Here is another batch of captures from the previous two month driving on Israel’s roads. As per usual, I inserted some words where I thought more information could be of use.

 

Starting off with the video:

Followers of the series will know by now of a (relatively) massive following the C3 Corvette has in Israel. As only handful of examples would reach the country when C3s were new, most of the cars you’ll meet are recent imports, that have been dripping into Israel slowly but surely. And as you can import 30+ years old classics, so the C4 Corvette has taken its place as the current favorite. However, this causes some irregular licenses, probably done because of some error but maybe for other reasons; this specific ‘Vette is registered as a 1983 car, and we all know this could not happen. So I took it upon myself to decide this is a 1982 model. Here are three more 1982 C3s found in classic meetings:

1982 Silver Chevrolet Corvette C3

1982 Blue Chevrolet Corvette C3

1982 Matt Black Chevrolet Corvette C3

Next up in the video I came across a 28 years old LR Discovery, which is even older than the example found here. These have just as much following in Israel as the Corvettes’, and it’s not uncommon to see them driving to off-road areas, installed with whatever is necessary for the tusk. This 1994 Disco is no different, sporting the mandatory high-lift jack, air-intake snorkel kit and even top (rear) roof lights. Of course, lifted suspension, bull-bar and roof racks are not worth mentioning (thus got mentioned).

Next up in the video, and I know I wrote this countless times; unbelievable how cars that used to be so common have seemed to just vanish throughout time. Such is the case with the Renault 5, that used to sell in Israel by the doses. Both the first and this featured second generation 5s were bread and butter cars, and just about everywhere. This 1989 car is a typical example of the breed; a five door (useful), basic power-plant (1.4) with a bit of small-time luxury involved (GTL/”Super”). As these were so common I never bothered to take photos, before I noticed they were all gone. Hence the only other photo I’ve got is another 5 found in some meeting, sporting a foreign license plate:

Maroon Renault 5

Next up we have a Subaru, as is the norm with Israel and what used to be the country’s affiliation with the mark. But these earlier DL (they were never called Leone here) 1970s generations are getting hard to come by, not least because the sharp rise in Subaru’s sales came in the 1980s with the following two generations, as outlined in the link above. Still, as classics, those DLs are revered highly and actually make sense as first-time classics, being relatively available in Israel (as opposed to the C3 ‘Vettes mentioned above) and very simple mechanically. So I’m not surprised that this 1978 DL Hardtop looks so fresh (even if I spot what I think is some bubbling in the rear right corner. It even sports the very desirable, originally Subaru XT alloys, that many DL owners install on their cars. There’s an active strong club that networks all the owner’s needs, thus you can see plenty examples in various meetings:

Red Subaru DL Leone Hardtop

1973 Red Subaru DL Leone Coupe

1979 Brown Gold Subaru DL Leone

1979 Gold Subaru DL Leone

1978 Red Subaru DL Leone

1979 Blue Subaru DL Leone

As you can see, there are plenty enough to go around, and none of these are recent imports- all were imported when new. The last blue DL above even boast an original 1979 color, as the sign on the license plate says.

On to the next car, and although 5 series BMWs were never cheap or even accessible to most folk in Israel, their survival rates are not at all bad, such as the Renault 5 above. This one is a well preserved 1992 525i, sporting some subtle modifications, such as luscious alloys and somewhat 1980s-esqe rear number plate red surrounds, to mach the tail lights. It rightfully qualifies for a “collectible vehicle” license, as it’s past the thirty years’ mark, just this year. Even though I will always prefer the earlier E28, this has now become almost peak BMW (some say that honor is reserved for the next E39 generation). Either way, it is now a fully fledged classic and I wouldn’t mind one (to add to the ever growing list of “some day” cars). The only photos I have of other E34s are of race cars, so here’s a representative from this event:

Black BMW E34 Racing

Up next in the video is a rather unassuming first generation Mazda MPV, late in the production line- 1998. Those went down well with Israeli buyers, which were deprived of such vehicles in the local market (unless you were up for a converted van-into-people carrier). Also, you didn’t need to know what it was for, since the name simply spelled out its purpose… It was and still remains rather ungainly but that did not bother buyers, who discovered this new niche in the Israeli market is very useful.

Onward in the video to the gorgeous Alfa Romeo Spider and really, an immortal shape. In Israel, the mark was represented officially almost always, so even what was considered real exotica (for Israel), was generally available and kept on selling through to the late 1980s. This example is a 1984 car, and even if some styling was lost with the addition of 1980s rubbers and plastics, it still looks great and unlike anything else around it. I’ve written plenty about Alfa Romeo in Israel, especially regarding the strong local classic club, so here I’ll just add some more predominately 1980s Spider photos from various times:

Type 105 Alfa Romeo Spider

Dark Blue Type 105 Alfa Romeo Spider

Red Type 105 Alfa Romeo Spider

Brown Type 105 Alfa Romeo Spider

Red Type 105 Alfa Romeo Spider

Silver Type 105 Alfa Romeo Spider

Next car on the video is actually a van, or shall I say van-based. This 1990 Peugeot J5 crew-cab pickup is old enough to be registered as a collectible vehicle, yet still serves as a workhorse. These (and the sister Fiat Ducato) used to carry Israel’s small-time builders, plumbers and the like in the late 1980s/early 1990s, along with its rivals, the VW transporter and Ford Transit. My personal experience with the J5 is from when I worked with my brother-in-law’s stages & scenery company, at which we installed stages and worked the entire country. Of course, we used large trucks for the big stuff, but for small jobs we’d drive a similar diesel J5 (and also a 1995 GMC Sonoma). Driving it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience, as it was front wheel drive with no power steering, and being cumbersome and heavy (especially loaded) didn’t help. I mean, turning the steering wheel was difficult enough for the J5 to be the only vehicle ever to cause my brother-in-law to be side-lined for a week, after having strained a muscle. It was also unbelievably slow even unladen, being an old-style diesel with a four ratio steering-column shift, so screaming at the top of its lungs around 80 (kph, not mph). It wasn’t very reliable either, having got broken on a few occasions due to loss of coolant and other gremlins. To its credit, it was fairly comfortable and did sit six people, so at least very useful.

A mile or so down the road from the J5 reveled this majestic 1977 Jaguar XJC 4.2 that is really from another time, and maybe another size- note the Skoda Superb that is virtually the same size as the Jag. I’ve written some words about Jaguar in Israel when I bumped into an XJ at a filling station, so here I’ll only add that this featured car is a recent import, and in Israel it’s one of a kind being an XJC (coupe). That recent import is not all that recent, as it’s been in the country for more than ten years, and is very well known within the relative commune. Here are two more pictures:

1977 Mustard Jaguar XJC6

1977 Mustard Jaguar XJC6

The video ends with a once very popular VW T3, so recognizable for its “boxiness”. I’ve written about it previously in this post, so will only add this featured T3 is an original import from 1983, which makes it very rare, as most of these failed to survive and really, if you’ll ever see one it’ll be more of the younger types, such as these:

Grey Volkswagen T3 Crew Cab Pickup

Dark Blue Volkswagen T3 Transporter Bus

And now let’s turn to some classics captured on “phone-cam”:

1986 Dark Blue Mercedes-Benz W124 230E

The Mercedes-Benz W124 appeared with various models on countless posts in this series, and as you may well know by now- I’m a big fan. I claim this, its predecessor W123 and the bigger S-Class W126 are the best cars MB has ever produced.

1986 Dark Blue Mercedes-Benz W124 230E

In Israel, survival rates are impressive, not least because many of the cars were sold as taxis (not surprising) . But it was actually the private sellers which held on, such as the W124 featured here or this pictured dark blue 230E. Both these cars are impressive as they are early models, this one is from 1986.

1986 Mercedes-Benz W124 Interior

1986 Dark Blue Mercedes-Benz W124 230E

And you’d have to say, this doesn’t look like a 36 years old car- the interior looks just a few years old, and the body is straight- those scuffs could be dealt with easily. All in all, it fits the justified reputation the W124 has. Now on to the next classic:

1967 Silver Chevrolet Camaro

As I was about to set off from my home, I spotted this parked 1968 Chevy Camaro SS/RS 350, which could be “real” or not. To be honest, I’m not sure if that’s even relevant because really, the car itself doesn’t know.

1967 Silver Chevrolet Camaro

1967 Silver Chevrolet Camaro

Along with the obligatory hidden headlights, it sports some finely-tuned looks, what with large after-market alloys, removed front bumper and painted rear spoiler and bumper. I have to say it’s tasteful, and suits the clean styling of these early Camaros.

1967 Silver Chevrolet Camaro

It’s still a long car, as I had to step back to take it all in. A handful of units made it into Israel in real time, so virtually all first gen Camaros you’ll see are recent imports- this example no different. Here’s another recent import I photographed some years back:

1968 Yellow Chevrolet Camaro

1968 Yellow Chevrolet Camaro

As you can see, it started out with some really nice original Rallies but ended up with larger, modern units, which I think is a shame- not to mention that comical oversized “ram air” that I could live in. But as ever- to each his own. So, onward to the last capture of this post:

Red Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II

I found this parked in front of my mom’s neighbor’s house- and have seen it a good few times since then. Maybe he fell in love with some RR fantasy and decided to import one for himself.

Red Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II

Red Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II

Long, long rear overhang- can I say I’m feeling a Caprice Classic here, or is it blasphemy? Anyway, searching for it in the Israeli DMV’s data base comes up with nothing, so I’ll just record it as an early-to-mid 1980s Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II, originating from the US, judging by the quad headlights:

Red Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II

As I’ve already written about Rolls-Royce in Israel in this “wife capturing RR” post, I’ll just add this one is, much like the featured Silver Wraith II in the link, is again riding on a regular license rather than a “collectible vehicle”. Don’t understand it, for all the reasons mentioned in the link. Lets finish off with another Silver Spirit II, from previous times:

1985 Black Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit II