Sabra (meaning “Born in Israel”) was a brand of the Israeli automobile manufacturer Autocars Company Limited. Autocars was closely aligned with several small British automakers, most notably the Reliant Motor Company, who provided unassembled vehicles to Autocars to then assemble them in Israel under the Sabra marque and sold them under the Sussita nameplate. Production began in 1959, but the first Sabra Sussita was imported to the United States in 1961 for the 1962 model year.
Available body styles for the Sabra Sussita included a sedan, a two-door station wagon, and a two-door panel truck. The signature feature of Sabras, like their parent Reliants, is the fiberglass bodywork. All variants of the Sabra Sussita were boxy in design, lacking in any significant trim except for a single side spear. Interiors were similarly spartan, with dashboards featuring a few switches and only a basic speedometer/odometer that also housed water temp and fuel gauges, as well as a couple of lights for oil pressure and generator operation. Options included a radio, heater, and whitewall tires.
The Sussita used an inline four-cylinder overhead valve pushrod engine derived from the British Ford Anglia. Displacement was 61 cubic inches (1.0-liter) and the engine developed 39 hp. All Sabras came with a four-speed manual transmission with floor-mounted shifting.
Collectors with eccentric enough tastes to be in search of a Sussita will have to be very patient. Only a few were ever imported, and they quickly developed a poor reputation for quality. The good news is that Reliant and Autocars continued to make similar cars until 1981, variously using Ford and Triumph engines and drivetrains. As with all orphan brands, it’s best to consider completeness and condition as paramount rather than insisting on a specific year or model. Parts availability for the engine and drivetrain should be good, but for any features specific to the Sabra it will be extremely difficult.