Cuban Classic Wheels

Always wanted to do a piece on the vintage cuban cars. They striked me as living dinosaurs, kept together with makeshift parts, human ingenuity, inventiveness and sheer hard work. Once started I realized that all forms of transportation in Cuba were odd and half miracles. The rest was easy — pick music that would describe pride, uniqueness and identity and marry it to the great shared photographs of cuban forms of transportation from my Flickr colleagues. From then on the images just danced (with a little bit of prodding) to the contagious rythm of cuban salsa (with a small touch of rap).

Elements used in this production:

Photography all @ Flickr:

  • ZedZap – Nicholas Kenrick
  • Corto Maltese – Jens Unrau
  • elmambotaxi
  • Ggallice – Geoff Gallice
  • Hugo
  • StoptheRoc

Art, Post, HDR: Leo Bar

Cuban classic cars – Cars are the most valuable luxury items in Cuba. However, the skills and resources necessary to maintain a car are the main challenge. through ingenuity, discipline and sheer magic Cubans have managed over the years, to keep their vintage american cars humming and in good shape. Cubans cherish their car and its clean-running engine, as much as French or Italians prize their top wines.

Up until the revolution in 1960, Cuba was the largest importer of american cars, the big gas hogs, with lots of shiny chrome, big heavy metal monsters that today we call them “classics”. The american cars have lasted all threse the years, and still run well today. Most owners operate their cars as taxicabs, taking tourists around and making around $50 a day in a country where the average worker makes $20 a month.

The Camel – “The Camel” is a very large people mover that can carry lots of passengers. The name comes from the two “humps” that are on front and back. They are built from 18-wheeler semis, previously used to haul earth-moving equipment. These trucks will usually pack people very tightly.

In addition, Cuban inventiveness and sense of humor combine to solve problems and do it with a smile. The coconut taxi, or the “coco-taxi”, is a odd two-seater mostly used to do quick trips around the city. One can also see the bici-taxi, a typical cycloped, human-powered one or two seater used for tourism and getting around the old town of Habana.

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