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Cuba's Cool Rides

I LOVE cars. Yep! I’m a Chevy girl who married a Ford man and now we’re divorced—I should have known. I mean, serious—a Ford man? What was I thinking? That’s like a Democrat and a Republican—it didn’t work out for Maria and Arnie either. But I digress. Do the people of Cuba love cars like I do?

Book Review: Cuba’s Car Culture, Celebrating the Island’s Automotive Love Affair

Authors: Tom Cotter and Bill Warne

Is a new love affair brewing—between Cuba and America—routed in a mutual love of cars? From this book’s title, Cuba’s Car Culture, Celebrating the Island’s Automotive Love Affair, I thought this must be the case. But, actually, it’s more the story of a long and often difficult marriage that has endured due to necessity and the sheer will to survive. After 50 years, the union is celebrated and on-lookers, in this case, the newly allowed tourists to Cuba, likely have no idea how difficult the journey has been, or if any love still exists. Especially if you plan to visit Cuba, just 90 miles away from the US, take time to read this book before you go—learn about the classic cars you will see and experience while in a country where time has nearly stood still since 1960.

“The importation of new cars slowed dramatically after the January 1, 1959 Revolution. Castro imposed a nearly 200 percent tax on luxury items, which included cars. Meaning a $2,000 vehicle now cost almost $6,000 to buy. … US President Dwight D. Eisenhower imposed a ban on all exports to Cuba on October 19, 1960, a policy that has been in place ever since.” [p.147]

This coffee-table book is a perfect gift for those who love international auto racing and vintage cars made before 1960. The often poignant, yet beautiful photography is enough reason to own this book, but it also offers a nostalgic view of past-generation automobiles and an important glimpse under, and into Cuba’s hood. Full of Cuban automotive and car racing history, you will find it to be a heartfelt and enlightening look into the recent history of the people of this colorful Caribbean Island.

Chevy vs. Ford

"We noticed as we drove throughout the city and the country that 1955, 1956 and 1957 Chevys were more common than any other vintage car brand. Was it our Imagination? No. … The abundance of ‘Tri-Five’ Chevys in the 1950’s is still reflected today at nearly every intersection.” [p.157] Just sayin’

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