The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by banjeaux bob, Dec 3, 2011.
If you're on Facebook,search for Carros Classicos deCuba .
I'd like to see some pics from one (or several) Cuban wrecking yards. (or 'junk' yards, I don't think 'shredding' is a main Corporative Interest there)
Is it possible to export cars from there to here yet? Fidel had an iron fist on exports for years!
i dont think Cuba has restrictions its the US goverment, when i was there i didnt see any junkyards, i think if a car can be made to drive its on the road, there are many threads on Cuban cars.
Castro declared teh cars as national treasures , never to leave the island. That could have changed but I do not think so.
heres the latest on Cuban cars, it does say at the end they can be exported with the goverments ok, but there are very few cars there you couldn't buy better in the US for $500
There's an excellent documentary on this topic...I just can't think of the name of it.
One of the things I took away from the documentary was that the vast majority of the surviving cars have been hacked, modified, patched together, etc over and over again. So, a 55 Chevy might be completely bondo'd and running a Russian diesel engine or some crazy thing.
My wifes uncle lives in Havanna and drives a 58 Chev 4-door.His previous car was a 54 Chev powered by a Landcruiser Straight six.
Repair parts are hard to come by so you have to use whatever you can.
I can remember my Mother In-law bringing him wheel bearings during a visit to the island.
When he got the 58 my wife sent him a Petronix ignition module because points and condensors were hard to get.
I believe the documentary is called "Yank Tanks"
I sold a AAR Cuda to a guy in Ariz. He sent a 18 wheeler to pick it up. The driver was cuban. He couldn't say enough about my car. He said in Cuba people are waiting for Castro to die. The driver told me his relatives collect cars in Cuba and store them wiped down in cosmoline. Waiting for the day Castro gives up the ghost, to sell them overseas. The driver said Castro won't let the cars out of the country as if they are some sort on nat'l treasure.
yes there is a killer documentary on net flicks called "yank tanks" here's the trailer:
theres a crazy part in the documentary where a cuban guy is making brake linings,full on scooping asbestos fibers out of a bag with no protection,i just went thur asbestos training for my demo job so it caught my attention
I've seen these cars up close, back in 2004.... they are ROUGH!! I don't think there will be a big export of vintage tin.
Us Canadians have been vacationing in CUBA for years, all their cars are beat, and retrofitted to death. It's cheaper to pull a car out of a field and rebuild it.
when i was there i did see some really nice restored chevy's, one 56 4 door was totally stock, SBC, outside and inside was as nice as any you would see at a show around here, privately owned, i have a friend who is dating a guy who lives in Cuba and is thinking about buying property and moveing there, i'll be able to go vist and stay there.
I hope they never leave Cuba..they are part of it`s culture now.I hope to visit before Fidel turns his toes up.
I remember reading an article on this in time magazine some year back. 57 chevy taxi with a fork lift diesel motor in it. They had to make their own tools often too.
THe Yanky Tank video is in the Fort Worth Texas library system. You can interlibrary loan request it at no cost. It's a great video.
They got the vid on Netflix too
This again?? It seems like every 6 months someone starts a thread about all the "mint" old cars in Cuba.
They aren't mint. Just like in the U.S., most of them are 4-doors and most of them are beat to death. Sure, there are a few that are real knockouts, but I can drive within 5 miles of where I am sitting and find something just as nice.
There are no junkyards in Cuba: everything that can be used gets used.
Now, having said all of that, there was this one black and gray '56 Dodge or Desoto (can't remember which) that was sitting on an 8-lug heavy truck chassis and running a diesel motor that I'd like to own just because it looked and sounded like something Mad Max would drive to the Quick-e-mart on a Saturday night. It literally sounded like a tank motor (and it might have been).
The amazing thing about Cuba is not all the old cars, but just that they are still being used every day as transportation. But when you look closely most of them are about the same as a decent field car in terms of what they need, and even the ones that look good are worn out like you would not believe.
I have had the opportunity to see cuban classics up close and personal. Some of them are as sweet as can be and others are real cobbled up, more of them cobbled than the other way.
And you'll see more nice old American cars at a typical Saturday night cruise-in in any decent-sized town than in most Cuban cities.
But I have no doubt that if/when Cuba opens up there will be goofballs paying huge dollars for those cars. If I lived in south Florida I'd be forging Cuban papers for cars and selling them on the down-low and making a fortune off of gullible collectors. A quick coat of brushed-on house paint and some plastic hub caps and no one would be the wiser!
I apologize if I misunderstood your purpose for starting the thread. As I said, there are some beautiful old cars in Cuba. And there are some beautiful old cars in Missouri. And Ohio. And Minnesota.
I just don't quite get the fascination with the ones in Cuba, except I know that there are a LOT of myths about them. I spoke to a guy here in the U.S. a few years ago who said he "knew" that all the cars there are mint. This was the head of a national car club here in the U.S.! I tried explaining that I saw some of the nicest cars in Havana and although some were rust-free, very few were "mint."
I even fell for it a little. I was all dazzled by a genuinely mint 1956 Dodge 4-door. Then I went to a local cruise-in here in Joplin and saw a 1937 Chevy that was 100% original and almost exactly as nice, and a couple early 1950s 4-doors that were every bit as nice or nicer and I wondered why the hell I was so excited about the damn Dodge in the first place.
The people in Cuba who love their old cars are wonderful. Some of their cars are wonderful. And I was literally stopped dead in the middle of a sentence when I walked out of the airport in Havana and saw an entire parking lot filled with nothing but 1940s and 1950s American cars.
But the idea that Cuba is this time vault filled with mint antique cars is just a myth. People tend to forget that those cars have been in constant use since they were new.
Case in point: My '53 Chevy came from a farmer's loafing shed here in Missouri with around 50,000 miles on it. 100% original, but needed totally redone. Here that was an $800 car. Take that same car, put it in Cuba, and list it on eBay and someone would have bid thousands of dollars for the exact same automobile. I just don't get it.
Okay, I just noticed that you are in Alaska. I realize now that you probably don't have as many nice old cars laying around as a lot of us do. And I know I get itchy about the Cuban car thing, mainly because I heard so much before I went and was let down, and then had to keep hearing it over and over after I got back the first time.
Sorry about that, Bob. Didn't mean to be a jerk.
I personally think the cars should stay in Cuba. Not because of the state that many are in but because those people have earned the right to keep them in my own humble opinion.
Well maybe the ones that have been turned into boats and floated across should get to stay here but those should be in a museum.
maybe with the way things are changing Cubans will be able to buy the old field car and have then shipped to Cuba, via Mexico or Canada, they allready can buy any repo part you or i can buy, if they have the money.
I spoke to a lot of old car owners while I was there, and the main thing I wanted to know was if they really liked them or it was all they could get. Some of them really loved their car but others dreamed of owning a late-model Mustang or a new Peugeot or anything newer and more reliable. The guy with the Dodge I mentioned had his name etched into the rear window about a half inch deep. That guy clearly has no intention of ever selling. Some of the others had inherited their car from fathers or grandfathers. They probably wouldn't sell, either. I hope not.
Were you in Havana? Did you see that red '57 or '58 Plymouth with the plexiglass windshield that was one of the local taxis? I had to see it about three times before I figured out what looked so odd: they eliminated the wraparound and just filled it in. Thickest windshield post I ever saw.
I took parts with me both times I went, mostly points and condensers and rotors. Wished I could have taken bigger stuff, maybe a few carbs. Having ridden in several I think they need shocks more than anything!
Yank tanks vid sucks!
What is really interesting is the ingenuity that has kept these cars on the road for all these years. The salt environment has been less than kind. Don't have a part make it. Don't have an adapter, make it. Necessity is the mother of invention and the mark of a true hotrodder.
I've heard, but can't prove it, that the people cannot sell the old cars. The family keeps them and hands them down. I've seen many pics of really nice cars with nice paint work and maybe the chrome a bit dull. Those with money or close ties to the government can get parts or buy newer cars from Mexico or Canada. Seen a pic of a 64 Olds in a street scene and seen on the news some time ago an 80s Grand Marquis limo in a parade. I love that old Porsche shown, probably has a Lada engine in it...uh just kidding.
That Porsche is probably owned by a foreigner who works in Cuba. That or the spoiled son of a government official.
The last time I was there around 10 years ago there was a contractor in Havana who brought his late-model Mustang with him. The Cuban official I spoke to thought he was an American, which was possible, but he could also have been Canadian.
Even then, though, there were brand-new Mercedes and Peugeot all over the place. The people can't afford them, but the Cuban government had bought hundreds of them to use as cabs for tourists and transportation for themselves. El Presidente, man of the people, tooled around in a chauffeured Mercedes limo.
Fantastic people. Lousy government. So-so cars.
I rode in a Plymouth fin car when I was there. I flew in had 3 days and two nights in a hotel in Havana ( 4 star by Cuban standards). I was with an ex-pat we did the club scene the first night there. Spent most of the rest of the trip off the beaten path.
Then toured the city the last day of the trip before we jumped the plane back to Mexico.
My experience with Cubans and their cars was that they were pretty proud to own one. It is a pretty huge status symbol, even if it was just scabbed together. One old fella that we were talking to had an old caddy. all pimped out. He took us around in it for awhile.
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