So who could be interested in the Israel Motor Industry? While the answer may not be particularly encouraging, there it is: a site that deals exclusively with this subject.
Once upon a time there was an Israeli Motor Industry. Kaiser-Frazer, Willys, Renault, Contessa, Leyland Ashdod, Albion, Mack, KAFRIS, Autocars, Sussita, Sabra Sport, Studebaker, Triumph, Jeep and Wagoneer, Automotive Industries, Ford Escort, Transit, TIL, Matmar…The list goes on and on. And truly, during the years 1951-1971, and to a lesser extent over the ten years that followed suit, there was a motor industry in Israel. And despite the popular jokes, it was not a lot worse than those of other developing countries, such as Spain, or South Korea, that made their first steps in establishing an autonomous economy in the fifties.
But as opposed to Spain and Korea, and actually to any other country where the motor industry had a respected role in the second half of the 20th century, only a few pieces of evidence – physical or in writing – to the policy, development and production of motor vehicles in the young State of Israel have survived. Perhaps it was as the industry had miserably failed, and already in the early seventies became an economical burden, and maybe as the historical documentation was pushed away in favor of the daily chores – the Israel Motor Industry has vanished into thin air.
And with lack of evidence, and as the former heads of industry and its workers are gradually fading into oblivion, only sketchy details remain, and mess abounds. This website is here to fill in the lacking documentation of the Israeli Motor Industry, as well as that of the Israeli car market in its early stages, up till the eighties. Over the years I have gathered evidence, paperwork and physical documentation for these vehicles. My goal is to have some order in place, and present familiar and less common faces from interesting angles. I would be delighted to answer your questions, in as much detail as I could.
This website is dedicated with appreciation to the people that have put together with their own hands the Sussita, the Jeeps, Ford, Dauphine and Lark. To Yossef, Lena, Moshe, Atri, Natalia and Luba, and to thousands of others who have signed up their names on the roofs of the vehicles they assembled, and have in many occasions ended up being unemployed after many years of hard labor.
Yohay Shinar, September 2011