This Desoto has four wheel disc brakes and is the nicest Detroit iron I found...
(Some of the best stories in TTAC are told by the Best & Brightest, our readers. Many a TTAC career (mine included) started with a comment, then the odd story, and before you know it … Today’s story is from Ted Grant a.k.a. Maybelater. He sent in some pictures from a trip to Cuba. Maybelater is Canadian, he’s allowed to.
When asked for a few words, Ted said he’s not a writer. Then, he wrote the email that follows.
If you have a good story to tell, in words, pictures, or both, send it to me. It will be pro bono, but who knows, it could be the start of a glorious writing career. – BS)
I just returned from holidays in Cuba and snapped some shots of some vehicles in and around Santa Lucia. Most of the pre 1959 Detroit iron is heavily reworked and tired, but the fact that they are still in use is a testament to the original design engineers and the Cuban nationals’ ingenuity with limited resources. Our tour guide told us that even the ugliest POS vehicle that still runs commands big money and is a luxury for the locals. Some older cars have been handed down in families, but the majority of car owners have rich relatives in foreign countries that help them with the purchase. A typical 50’s Detroit ride runs 10 to 15 thousand so they are indeed a real luxury. (Read More…)
Aren’t we all for freedom and democracy? Sure we are. But everything in moderation. And this is really getting too far: Cuba plans to lift a ban on the buying and selling of cars registered after the 1959 Revolution, Reuters reports. (Read More…)
After Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, we are back in the Americas this weekend, but we’ll go off at sea into the Caribbean islands to visit embargoed Cuba. Yes, I know you were waiting with trepidation to know which cars our Cuban friends are most fond of… (Read More…)
Under current Cuban law, only cars built before the 1959 revolution can be legally bought and sold. This has kept Cuba’s pre-revolution American cars running, creating the island nation’s unique automotive landscape. But now, reports NPR, proposed liberalizations of Cuba’s property laws might threaten Cuba’s fleet of classic American cars. Though reforms could bring much-needed investment to Cuba, they would also mean an end to the laws that have kept Cuba’s streets looking like a time capsule from the late 1950s. But luckily Cubans have come to feel deeply attached to their classic American cars, vowing to keep them running as symbols of Cuba’s history.
As for Cuba’s classic cars, mechanic Jorge Prats says he thinks they’ll be around for at least another 50 years.
“These cars are a part of our national identity now, like rice and beans, or roast pork,” Prats says as he shows off his two-toned, bright red-and-white 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air coupe. “We take care of these old American cars as if they were another member of the family.”
The car industry is looking with envy and trepidation at the biggest bottom fisher in their market: AutoZone. Last week, AutoZone posted a 20 percent jump in quarterly earnings. And don’t look at their chart. You’d wish you would have bought AutoZone instead of the auto. But it’s not the financial results that has the industry worried. Everybody who knows the industry knows that the money is in fixing cars. The average expense per car for repair and maintenance is $1,200 per year, and if you multiply that with the 250 million cars and trucks on the street in the U.S., you’ve got yourself a nice $300 billion business. No, the industry is worried about why AutoZone suddenly is doing so well: America is in love with more mature models. (Read More…)
Welcome to Havana, Oregon. Back in the eighties, living in tony Los Gatos, I used to gaze longingly at photos of old American cars and trucks still hard at work in Cuba. But within days of moving to Eugene in 1993, I came across this very truck, hauling its daily cargo of recycled cardboard. And it planted a seed in me, to document the old vehicles still earning their keep, which finally came to fruition with Curbside Classics. Although we’ve strayed from the strict interpretation of that mission a few times along the way, no other vehicle more perfectly embodies the original ethos than this 1956 F-350. (Read More…)