The Zibar-M (M stands
for Military, Zibar... well it sounds fierce!) You see in these pictures are
the first full production batch of the Zibar light reconnaissance vehicle
from Israel's IDO off-road industries. They are departing these days for
un-disclosed customers somewhere around the globe, displaying an impressive
array of sensors and electronics atop a 20 foot pneumatic telescoping
mast. The sensor suite is not what interests us motor-heads, nor the
customer - the platform is.
It is the latest in a
series of Zibar designs. 4X4, tube frame, solid axle buggies Israeli
racer/fabricator Ido Cohen started making more than decade ago for
dominating rock-racing events (the brutal Israeli version), instilling fear
in the competition's modified Jeeps. Cohen has since concentrated on
refining the design, and found a ready market for extremely high mobility,
fast land transport. Zibars are used by elite forces of the IDF for desert
pursuit of smugglers across Israel's southern border; and now they are
called to duty elsewhere.
The vehicles are
assembled of the finest hardware the American after-market has to offer. GM
crate 383 cid V8 engines, 4L80E transmission, Atlas II transfer cases and
Dynatrac 60 axles. Original suspension and tubular space frame chassis
designed by Cohen support the observation mast, hydraulic leveling jacks and
a crew of 4 soldiers.
Cohen's small team of
mechanics and fabricators pride themselves on speed not only off-road but in
meeting customer requirements in incredibly short schedules. The version
seen here took less than six months to mature to a fully mil-spec, tested
and proven product.
Israel has not an
automotive industrial infrastructure; in fact it has no automotive industry
to speak of except a small Jeep assembly plant (read
about the Storm Mk.2 Jeep). It is small entrepreneurs of which Cohen is
the best known who strive to create such an industry despite huge
bureaucratic obstacles. The military market is what pays the bills - but
Cohen dreams of offering civilian off-road racers and recreational drivers
his agile, economic and reliable Zibar cars.