It seems to be time to educate ourselves about the cars of Israel. Prolific Cohort poster Yohai Rodin has uploaded a number of models made by Israel’s primary domestic builder, Autocars Co. Ltd. The company was founded in the 1950s, and lasted through 1980, making a number of cars including a very attractive sports car, the Sabra, which we’ll get to soon. This little pickup is identified by Yohai as a Rom Carmel 1300, which would imply it was made after 1973, when Rom Carmel Industries bought out Autocars after it failed in 1971. Rom Carmel itself was then bought out in 1978 by Urdan Industries. Needless to say, trying to establish a viable domestic autobuilder in Israel was a challenge that was never quite overcome.
All the vehicles built by Autocars, except a kit-built Triumph 1300, had fiberglass bodies, thanks to their UK partner Reliant, who had experience in that. From what I can gather, this Rom Carmel has a Simca engine. The sedan version was largely the same, from the B-pillar forward. These were built in small numbers, and a lrge percentage of Autocar’s output was bought by government agencies due to a mandate to buy domestic vehicles.
We need to do a full history of Autocars. Anyone out there interested? T. Turtle?
Not related to Autocar trucks, natch…
Nor Auto Car(riers). hehehe
Certainly not, even though (confusingly) some Autocars were assembled in Israel and the world’s most powerful road-going truck was designed and built for Israel (and nowhere else) in the early 1960s…
The last time I was there, early in the ’00’s, Harry’s U-Pull It junk yard in Hazleton, PA had a Sabra elevated on top of a trailer turned office.
I saw a lot of Susita Carmel sedans when I was in Israel in 1982 but the only pickups I remember were Peugeots and Subaru BRATs. The other striking thing was how many cars had the windshield wipers removed.
Because people used to steal them, as well as hub caps and badges.
I like the unique styling. It has a kind of Studebaker meets Chevy LUV vibe to it.
I’m with you on the Stude, but I’m seeing Ford Courier for the rest of it.
Hey, you are right. That really does look like a Courier, especially the bed. Also, it looks like they took that Unibody idea from Ford. I wonder if it worked any better for them.
Much like the Anadol in Turkey
Itself sold in Israel.
Well now kids, we have found out which truck is NOT the Official Truck of the Taliban!
Paul, a story about the Israeli motor car industry is something I would not at all mind doing but as things are at the moment I suffer from a chronic lack of time – perhaps later in the year…
As for the mechanicals, those had Hillman Hunter engines and boxes, not sure whether 1300 or 1600cc. Autocars during its life used either Ford, Triumph or Hillman engines and gearboxes. Chassis and body was fully made in Israel. They did sell something like 20,000-30,000 vehicles during their existence so the enterprise was not a complete failure; those (and the previous Susita) allowed many Israelis to own their first car due to their low price, but they were no high quality product. In a way, they were Israel’s equivalent of the Trabant or the Lada: crappy cars that broke downoften, leaked water in and had no performance or handling to write home about but were so simple any tree-shade mechanic (of the type prevailing in all of their countries of origin) could repair them. Actually, in the last few years people started finding and restoring Rom Carmels and Susitas as they have been re-discovered on nostalgic grounds – not unlike the Trabant in Germany…
An Israeli motor industry might have had the chance to succeed but not with these cars… There were a couple of better cars to base it on (the Hino Contessa and the Studebaker Lark) but, for a number of reasons, it did not happen.
Thank you. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot, but you are obviously very knowledgeable. If and when you feel so inclined, it will be most welcome.