American Classic Cars in Havana

The American Classic cars that line the streets of Havana have to be seen to be believed. Done up and dolled up they are used to whisk tourists around the sights of the city, while the rather less polished have become the traditional taxi. And there are plenty of surprises in store. In Vinales a taxi driver stopped three times on the way to our hotel to pick up extra passengers who squashed in beside us, and in Cienfuegos another driver started his taxi with a machete. Yes, really. A machete. (That had to go into Last Dance in Havana of course… My copyeditor queried it, but how could I take it out?) It is not unusual to see a broken down car being fixed in the middle of a main road (see this pic taken on the Malecon, the main seafront promenade in Havana). And everyone will join in…

American Classic Cars may have the spare parts of a Russian car (thanks to the embargo, US spare parts have been mostly unobtainable) and they may have black plastic on the side windows and a very loud home made sound system. They may be plastered with family pictures and the leather seats may be ripped and torn. But thanks to Cuban ingenuity (‘necessity is the mother of invention’ is a phrase that must have been coined for the Cuban community) the glamour of the Classic American car lives on in Cuba.

Research can be such fun sometimes…

© Rosanna Ley
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