CCs In Israel: September 2019: Motorcycles, Cars, Vans – It’s All Here

Welcome to September’s edition of various interesting vehicles captured on the streets and roads of Israel, either motionless or whilst on the move.

As early as 3rd of September, while walking in an area of baby-shops and car service-centers (don’t ask), I caught a glimpse of a familiar shape inside a Ford/ Mazda Service center:

That’s about the best photo I could grab, as I wasn’t allowed to enter the place for better angles. Usually classic Mustang owners would steer clear of the importers’ official service centers, and go to specialty garages, so this is somewhat peculiar. Still, it provided the photo. A few days later, a somewhat different car was captured near my home:

As you can see, the owner treated it to go-faster stripes/ wheels (the original red paint already adds some 10bhp). This Monte Carlo generation was very rare in Israel, being expensive because it was marketed as sporty but never with the Z34 pack, so quite rightly buyers just went for the much cheaper Lumina and also gained rear doors. Nevertheless, some were drawn to its two-door-coupe shape, hence some road-worthy ones remain, albeit rare.

I mean, you gotta love that face, can’t you? On to the first video:

The GMC Yukon is almost extinct in Israel. Never a large volume seller in the country, it was still visible enough when new. Now only die-hard enthusiasts persist, mostly self-employed punters who use the Yukon’s truck-based capabilities for carrying their equipment.

My work took me to Ashdod Port, Israel’s busiest harbor. Driving along the long line of trucks heading for the docks, through sheer chance I spotted the Chevy Malibu in my rear view mirror- and how good it is to have a rear dash-cam. Both the Malibu and based on it El Camino were very successful in Israel in the late 1970s, and although more common in the past, you can still see examples of which driving around today, all are cars that were imported when new. So true survivors.

The Hyundai Atos is yet another car I used to look down on and treat as laughing stock. But now I can see it as one of the many steps in the rise of Hyundai. Here was a car built originally to cater for the Indian market, but found itself entering Europe (and Israel) at the base of the model lineup. At the time, said lineup was dull, to say the least, but not the Atos, which was a great little city-car and as you can see, quite robust to have survived some twenty years on, not looking bad at all.

The Hummer H2 was inserted for its comic appeal, serving here as a limousine for newlyweds undoubtedly charmed by the H2’s presence. Actually, not many were sold in Israel- it was the H3 that you saw here and there. Sorry, but my view of the Hummer is that the only reason you’d buy one is for its sense of style, but buying one proves you don’t have any.

The motorcycle at the end of the video is a classic, I know that much because of the license-plate. But although Harley-Davidson would be the obvious choice, I hesitate to decide. Any decipherers in the audience?

The video above is the drive into Ashdod Port and back out again. It shows views seen on the perimeter roads around the harbor, which you might find interesting. So added to this post.

Also in September I had a drive up to the very north of Israel, to the Golan Heights, which you might find interesting. First part is the wide motorway winding through the upper Galilee. Then the drive towards the Heights themselves which ends in the bridge over the Jordan river, the climb up to the Heights and driving down again. Note the old Bailey bridge suspended above the current bridge- This was used since 1967, and I remember it well from my IDF service days. Today deemed too risky to use, and replaced with the current bridge since 2007.

On the same day I went hunting for Civic hatchback photos for this post, but ended-up with this Alfa Romeo Post, I managed to find a couple of other CCs:

This Toyota Land Cruiser BJ71 is, to my reckoning, of the mid-to-late 1990s, and obviously rough-terrain ready. Not many were sold in Israel when new, because people preferred the much more comfortable and daily-driver-friendly “Range-Rover” J80 series over this spartan “Defender”. As many of you know, these Land Cruisers have a tendency to survive gloriously, as this featured one has.

Another 1990’s survivor is this Cavalier, which was very successful in Israel. This is of course the low-spec poverty version, as told by those black (well, gray) bumpers, and a very early one as well. Also note the purple Daihatsu Sirion, photo-bombing from the back.

A few days later I was out jogging on the same street and while cooling down encountered this lovely Mk II Golf, which was well preserved. I didn’t take a frontal photo as the driver was inside, waiting on his date (which was apparently romantic, when she arrived). But after crossing the street, the Golf duly powered on and I happened to catch it again:

I like this photo because of the unintentional comparison it provides between the mid-1980s Golf and the mid-2000s Civic. And how little has that Golf shape changed over the years- don’t mess with success. Onward to the next video:

Being delivered somewhere, the Citroen H-Van is the third one I’ve seen recently. Those were definitely not part of my childhood, but now are turning up somewhat. The food-van craze, which is becoming more common in Israel, has also claimed this specific Citroen, judging by the constructions on its roof. I get the feeling it’s not even drivable, as there are no license plates, so no MOT.

The DR-Big was a very successful motorcycle in Israel, and Suzuki’s rival in the large dual-purpose bikes’ class. They sold like hotcakes, benefiting from unrivaled reliability, derived from a LARGE 800cc air-cooled single piston motor. And looked the part. I remember at the time, wanting to sell my 1998 Suzuki Bandit 600, toying with the idea of trading it with a DR-Big of the same year. It never came to be, but the following this bike has never diminished. It was just the bikes themselves that were sadly overpowered by time (and crashes).

The Toyota MR2 was met before, and even uploaded to the Cohort about a year ago. Here it is:

This is another car never imported to Israel when new, but now that it’s more than thirty nears old, someone has decided to fulfill a dream of owning one and imported this car recently, registering it on a classic license. And I don’t know if there’s a car that bears the 1980s in its styling so much as the MR2.

The BMW R100 RS is an original late 1970s/ early 1980s bike. These again sold relatively well for their high price, and as you’d expect, survived remarkably. Classic BMW motorcycles have a large following in Israel and are maintained religiously by their owners, with help from specialists well known in the country. So no surprise to see this R100 up and running.

The Mercedes-Benz 410D of the indestructible TN series is yet another survivor of a time when you couldn’t kill a Merc. Those were produced for almost twenty years, and as you’d expect, took the van market in Israel by storm (wasn’t it like this everywhere?). This is a late production, early 1990s example, and I’ll bet it’s still working away, much like when it was new.

The CJ-7 closing the video is again such a familiar sight, derived from its iconic shape that changed little in so many years. It’s only after you look at the license plate that you discover this is a 1983 model. How time has passed- years ago I wouldn’t have bothered giving these a second glance, but now I’m archiving this JEEP.

One day on my way to pick a package up from the post office, while parking I heard an unmistakable burble. An elderly gentleman stepped out of this Alfasud, and left. Quite convenient of him, as it left the Alfa clear for photographs.

I mean, yeah, it could probably do with a restoration, but on the other hand, this is a driving example of an original Alfa that has not crumbled under rust. And whilst the bumpers and outer plastics have faded completely, it’s still looks remarkable for its age.

The number plate verifies this is a 1983 model, but curiously not registered under “Collectable Vehicle” license, which is mad in my book; the benefits outweigh the downsides under such license, so it’s beyond me why someone would prefer to keep an old classic like this Sud under a normal license. Still, it’s one of the best CCs of this post. However, the best one came on cue, at the end of September:

An absolutely gorgeous Alfa Romeo Giulia Super, on its way to the Israeli Alfa Romeo Classic Club meeting (this was on a Friday). I decided to keep almost all the footage of this Giulia in the video, just because I love it so much, and is on the “must have one day” list. Maybe the best sports-sedan of its day, until BMW decided they wanted a part of that market- and the rest is history.

Ending the video and the final catch of the month is the Mk III VW Polo, an estate (wagon) no less. Yes, the paint has seen too many Israeli sun rays, but it still drives. My sister had a 1995 hatchback, and I can remember a well put together, solid car that gave you the feeling it could go on for years. I fear current VWs are nowhere near as robust as that Polo was. Perhaps cars in general are not meant to last anymore.