Sabra Text

 

Sabra Emblem

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16/08 Sabras expected in Schaffen 


Common page

The Sabra is a cactus (Opuntia) that grows in the Mediterranean area (originating from Mexico in fact).
 "Sabra" is also the name of honour adopted by Jews born in Israel, meaning:
"I can survive in difficult circumstances, I produce nice flowers and sweet fruits and watch out dealing with me,  you might get pricked".
Sabra is also the name of a Palestinian refugee camp, sadly we encounter "Sabra" most frequently in discussions about what happened there..
You might want to visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabra to get a view of all the meanings of the word "Sabra".

But the Sabra is also...

With much regards to Mr Yohay Shinar

This bright red Sabra, with Itzhak Shubinski (Autocars' owner and CEO) at the wheel, is most probably NOT an Israeli-built one...As it now appears, first ever Sabra to have been registered in Israel did so as late as on January 1962.

This picture, taken in July 1961 at the latest, may actually show UK Sabra #4 (Chassis 200004), a red Sabra sold to Posseidon UK (a maritime company owned by Shubinski) and shipped ex-Two Gates on April 6, 1961. As it was never registered in Israel, it was probably re-exported to Europe, or the U.S., once its PR days were over.

The passenger should be Yehiel Kimmelman, editor of Barehev: a car magazine (Thanks Ronen)

Sabra ST4701 Sabra S200207

And - in 2006 - the S200207: last Tamworth Sabra alive and kicking 

Note:On the whole site we tried to lay a tiny red rim round "click-to-enlarge"-pictures.

Sabras were made in two basic versions in Tamworth (UK) as in HaÔfa (IL).

the Soft Top: ST

the Hard Top: HT, the hard top probably came later

Sabra ST4701

Sabra S200100

The first Haifa and Tamworth cars were all LHD roadsters (ST-HT) with 1703cc Ford Consul engine and had:

Sabra MKI Rear Wheel Arch

Sabra MKI Rear

lens

Sabra MKI Engine

Square rear wheel arches, steel wheels with a disk with "S" in the centre and an unlockable fuel-cap- large hole above the fuel cap. Alfa Romeo-tail-light-lenses and separate reflectors besides them, a narrow spot for the numberplate. A single Zenith downdraught carburettor giving 72 b.h.p. Haifa-cars had frame-numbers like "47xx".

There's other differences: the first (Haifa-made?) Sabras had a one-leaver hood-opening system.  Wire-wheels were an option as was the "Alexander"-kit with 2 SU's and stronger valve-springs ??? to provide more power, first cars had a cooling-system with expansion-tank......  .
Tamworth cars all had a VIN-number like S200xxx while Haifa cars had different VIN numbers ST47xx or HT47xx according to the model.

The "differences"-page gives more details.

Mid 62 the first GT's were made in Tamworth, with a slightly modified rear.

Sabra GT

From august 63 the Haifa roadsters adopted the rear of the (new) GT to make a new model: the MKII with: 

Sabra MKII Rear Wheel Arch

Sabra MKII Rear

lens

Sabra MKII Engine

Round rear wheel arches, wire-wheels and a lockable fuel-cap, smaller "hole" round the filler-cap. Austin A40-rear-light-lenses, reflectors incorporated, a wider spot for the numberplate. 2 SU's but not the "Alexander"-kit, so probably not the extra valve-springs but giving 90 b.h.p. framenumbers like "ST-HT-GT-48xx".

The mould of the body and the hood must also have been changed because the front wheel arches in the MKII models have a flare round the edges of the front-wheel, both on body as on hood..

Tamworth stayed with the square rear wheel arches (for -[almost all]- the roadsters that is) but eventually made some 50 RHD-cars named "Sabre", mostly with a modified (short) nose.  Frame-numbers carried on S200150..... The choice of that name: "Sabre" - close to "Sabra" certainly has had his influence on the names of later Tamworth cars.

Sabra Meeting 2002 Luxemburg

Left and right pictures of meetings in Luxemburg and Reims showing different types of one family.

Sabra Meeting 2001 Reims

Sabra S200153

Sabre-4 : S200153
Malcolm & Val Marchbank

 

Later Tamworth made the Sabre-6, based on the short-nose Sabre,  first with modified rear suspension later also with Triumph front-suspension and giving the car finally the power for real competition with a 2553 Ford Zephyr engine giving 109 b.h.p.
Emile Robyns' S300130 thanks Emile
Sabre-6 Racing            
  On Utube: Mark Jordon's Sabre Six

Six minutes film on Circuits du Remparts Angouleme 2006

 

SABRA   ASSEMBLY   STATISTICS

Autocars Haifa IL made Sabras

With regards to Yohay Shinar, who compiled these data (and more).

 
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
Total

IL

5
6
5
5
0
0
0
0
21

US

0
25
9
7
 
 
 
  
41

B

 
 
 
12
12
6
34
4
68
F
 
 
9
 
 
 
1
  
10
I
 
 
4
 
 
 
 
  
4
N
 
 
 
 
 
 
5
  
5
CH
 
 
6
14
?
?
2
  
22
GB
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
CDN
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tot
5
31
33
38
12
6
42
4
171

Reliant -Tamworth UK made Sabras-Sabres

Regards to Geoff Cooper who preserved these data (and more) from oblivia.

1961
1962
1963
?
Total
4
1
 
 
5
70
22
11
 
103
 
 
13
 
13
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
0
 
 
 
 
0
 
 
 
0
2
39
4
7
52
16
10
4
 
30
1
2
 
 
3
93   
74   
34   
7   
208   
Total 26 144 81 10 4 5 24 52 30 3 379    
minus 45 (RHD) so Sabres:  + 2 show-chassis, equals to:   Sabras:  332   

THE ORIGIN OF THE SABRA AND SOME QUESTION MARKS ABOUT IT

(thanks to the books of Don Pither, The Scimitar and its forebears, Court publishing ; Reliants Sportscars,Sutton publishing.

The Sabra was an idea of Mr Shubinsky of AUTOCARS LTD in Haifa, Israel, who made the necessary contacts during a visit to the Racing Car Show in 1960.  
A combination of an Ashley polyester body and a Les Ballamy chassis resulted 9 months later in a SABRA prototype on the New-York Motor Show of 1961.  Export to the US was clearly the aim (import of $$).

The factory in Haifa was not ready for production, and here the ? ? start.  A first series of SABRAs was built in Tamworth, in Reliant’s plant, as can be seen on several published pictures. Evidently Autocars had agreed that the first 100 Sabras would be made in Tamworth (most of them for export to the USA).
It's not clear at all why production in Haifa didn't get going. Autocars made some 450 Carmels a month so they had the capacity...
An annual production of thirty-odd cars wasn't going to deliver much $$ to Israel (did they give priority to the local market where Utility Vehicles like the Carmel were wanted?) anyway it's strange that Haifa kept producing the underpowered 4-cylinder Sabra (until 1968)and never switched to the 6-cylinder which would have outrun or at the least matched most USA-sportscars.

Guess we'll never find out why 81 cars were imported into Belgium
An unrivaled total of survivors in this little country, so letís keep this funny little car on the road and nurse it well. For extra information look on the framenumbers-page on Scimweb (see Favorites) or on the "History" - page on this site. 

Jacques Vandevelde


  Belgian Sabras - Statistics

Data of the Belgian National Institute for Statistics: 
Sabras known (having a numberplate) per province. Down under (green background)... new cars registered that year.

Province Totals << 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1973 1978 1983 1988 1993 1998 2002 2005
Antwerpen       16     7 2 1 1 2 4 5 5
Brabant       30     13 3 4 5 4 4 5 5
Henegouwen       4     3         1    
Luik       0     1       1 0    
Limburg       1               1    
Luxemburg       1             1 1    
Namen       1     3 1 1 1 1 2 1 2
O-Vlaanderen       3     4       1 1 2 2
W-Vlaanderen       3     3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1
BelgiŽ Total 12     59     34 8 7 8 11 15 14 15
New cars/year   7 32 8 - 1 - - - - - - - -

One of the prettiest Sabras I know is Henk's:Sabra ST4884

What about Jacques's?Sabra ST4847

But there's more:
The first Sabra-meeting in Belgium,  september 9, 2000, organised by the RSSOC (see Interesses) with  
Tony (near the  Sabre-6) and Jaki Heath...     with his "full-option"-Sabra  Jacques Vandevelde                       at the right Jef Neefs

Sabra Meeting 2000

Watch where the drivers positioned themselves...... who's from the continent?

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