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Monday, 27 May 2013

Style ‘N’ Safety For Israel’s Classic Cars

DSCF1193Scores of classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts poured on to the streets of Karmiel this weekend for the Israeli city’s third annual heritage motor fair. The event was not a mere nostalgia trip as the cognoscenti had a chance to make minute inspections of top class marques like Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Jaguar while motorcycle fans made a beeline for the dozens of Harley-Davidson models on display.

The event, delayed from its scheduled Shavuot holiday slot due to torrential rain, was a celebration of a wide range of vehicles manufactured from the early 1920s to the mid-1970s.

A highlight of the morning was the Chevrolet Bel Air 53 owned by Daniel Oster when he was the Mayor of Jerusalem at the close of the British Mandate of Palestine prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. Its present, fourth owner is classic car buff Sami Biron, who quips that the Bel Air’s rear seat writing desk surely makes it fit for a mayor! DSCF1198

But on the day, this grand vehicle was only one of several hundred ‘collectible’ cars, tractors, trucks and motorcycles which paraded as part of a joint venture by the Municipality of Karmiel, Five Club, City Without Violence, the National Road Safety Authority and the National DEA.

Karmiel Mayor Adi Eldar viewed the event as family entertainment with an emphasis on safe driving. He highlighted the many severe motor accidents occurring daily on Israeli roads, often due to violence or drink driving. Next year’s event will focus on careful and responsible driving, he said.

* The ‘Five Club’ was established in 1985 by the Association of Israeli Drivers to promote the preservation of classic vehicles in Israel and to establish a framework for the exchange of information and related activities. The club, which now has more than 850 members owning about 2,500 cars and 700 motorcycles, was so-named as it began activities with five old cars aged 25 years-plus, several of them bearing five-digit licence numbers. DSCF1201

* The Karmieli show was the second such event organised by the Five Club in barely two weeks. The first was a little publicised show in Tel Aviv celebrating the achievements of the Israeli car industry during its hey-day between 1951 and 1981. This was a time when the Israeli Autocars Co manufactured more than 100,000 fibreglass-based cars while other Israeli factories assembled Studebakers, Fords and even Japanese Hinos.

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