Riding Revolutionary Rustbuckets – cruising in Cuba’s 1950s American cars

Story offer: words & pictures

Location: Cuba

Subject: cruising Cuba in the island’s lovingly kept 1950s American cars

Title: Riding Revolutionary Rustbuckets – cruising in Cuba’s 1950s American cars

On February 7, 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the US banned almost all trade with Cuba. At a stroke, no US cars or parts could be imported, and Cuba’s garages and car owners had to fend for themselves in servicing the big American autos which comprised the nation’s car stock. Exactly half a century later, that embargo is still in place and much of that monstrous fleet of 1950s cars is still on the roads. Cuba heaves with automobile relics of a bygone age and another place, 1950s America. Enormous gas guzzlers shake, rattle and roll through the largely empty streets. Too impoverished to buy Japanese or European cars, Cuba’s motorists keep their wheeled monsters going by any means available, improvising the spare parts, slapping paint over the rust. Lovingly kept antiques cruise the island’s highways and byways. Take a ride into the past -- some of the most gorgeous relics wait for hire outside the grand hotels in the two major cities, at Havana's Hotel Inglaterra and Santiago de Cuba's Hotel Casagrande. Great pictures.

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