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Friday, June 5, 2015


The green flash you see here is a early 50s Chevrolet zipping along Havana’s iconic Malecon roadway.   It may have a Russian diesel engine with North Korean tires and running on Venezuelan gasoline.  Photography by Gary Payne
Editor’s note: On a daily basis from June 1 thru June 30, 2015 Pillar to Post online magazine is featuring articles, photos and insights resulting from a recent group tour, an adventure we dubbed: the April 23 Brigade’s Tour of Cuba 2015.  


Those vintage American cars rolling along the streets of Cuba may have old car collectors world wide rubbing their hands in expectation of the day when free trade will exist between Cuba and the US.  But, many car experts in the media recently are saying that the beauty of 50s Detroit wheels may be only skin deep as the original engines are long gone and have been replaced by diesel engines from Japan and Russia.  Any collector going down to buy an old 1952 Chevy may open the hood and find a couple of miles of bailing wire, said an English speaking cabbie in Havana.  And that’s not saying a thing about brakes and all the other parts that make old cars run.

Also, any Cuban wealthy enough to own a vintage car will probably want to hold on to it as most likely it is an economic engine first.  Tourists wanting to ride old Dodges, Plymouths, Fords or Chevrolets pay handsomely for the time warp experience.  Why give up a cash car.

What may happen sooner than later will be a lively trade in parts.  Load up your suitcase with Chevy carburetors; head for Havana and be the Bill Gates of the Cuban highways.

Outstanding Oldsmobile makes a style statement 
  in Fusterland, West Havana.   Photo by Phyllis Shess

Vintage cars and happy tourists parade near 
Havana’s iconic Hotel Nacional. Photography by Bruce Henderson

Here we are at the Intersection of 2015 and 1950.
                                                            Photo by Phyllis Shess

Blue Buick shares the road with a horse drawn carriage in Old Havana.
                                                                                                                 Gary Payne photo

Rainy day in Havana forces this vintage Ford convertible taxi to put its top on as it just delivered riders to the famed Sloppy Joe’s bar in Old Havana.  More on Sloppy Joe’s later this month in Pillar to Post.                     Photo by Michael Shess

Just a couple of years apart.    Photography by Bruce Henderson

Plymouth Belvedere parked in Old Havana

Sometimes Cuban car owners have to choose: paint the house or paint the car.  It’s the same paint. Gary Payne photo                     

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