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Autocars Sussita - (1959 - 1961)

Autocars Co Ltd was founded in the 1950,s as Israel’s first true car manufacturer (with a good deal of assistance from Reliant, UK), assembling Reliant three-wheelers at its Haifa workshops. Reliant were experts in making vehicles from fibreglass, and it was this material, which made car manufacture possible in countries with little or no traditional heavy industry.

Autocars weren’t content with just assembling someone else’s design, and wanted a vehicle that would be recognizable as an Israeli designed automobile. With Reliant’s technical know-how, Autocars introduced a utilitarian four-wheeler called the Sussita at the end of the 1950s

This tall, dumpy vehicle was available as an estate, panel van and pick-up, and featured the mechanicals and engine from the Ford Anglia 105E. The Sussita was initially exported from the UK in completely knocked down (CKD) form for assembly at the Autocars plant, although production was ultimately undertaken entirely in Israel by Autocars themselves. The Sussita quickly became Israel's best-selling model, earning itself a reputation as a basic but dependable workhorse (after all, "Sussita" is the Aramaic word for mare).

Sussita Estate

Autocars decided to try and earn the Country some much-needed foreign currency by looking at the USA and Canada as a possible export option. This venture had been prompted by the car's enthusiastic reception at the 1960 New York Trade Fair, where firm orders for 600 examples had been placed, largely on the strength of its low purchase price. Autocars ha changed the Sussita’s name to "Sabra" (meaning a native of Israel, but also the name of a genus of cactus). Exports began with a shipment of 35 cars in June, but the Sabra soon flopped in the North American markets due to its relatively poor build quality.

Sussita Pick Up

Meanwhile, back in Israel, Autocars set about broadening its range of models. The Carmel appeared in 1961, boasting a 1200cc MkI Ford Cortina engine clothed in Reliant-designed bodywork that owed much to the style of the contemporary Reliant Regal. The new Sussita range was redesigned and now sported the Carmel styling and 1200 Cortina engine and was called the Sussita 12.

Autocars Co Ltd struggled on in the later part of the 1960’s as a British Leyland subsidiary before going into receivership and being bought in 1974. Their last full year of production was 1980.

  Sussita Estate Sussita Van Sussita Pick Up
Production 1959 - 1961:
** Built
1959 - 1961:
** Built
1959 - 1961:
** Built
Bodystyle Four-seater, two door Van Pick Up
Engine 997cc Ford 105E 997cc Ford 105E 997cc Ford 105E
Engine position Front Front Front
Driven wheels Rear Rear Rear

The number of Sussita models produced is unknown at present

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