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Cuban treasures

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Country Gent, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Country Gent
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 562

    Country Gent

    I have heard and seen in the past about the amount of 40s, 50s, and 60s vehicles in Cuba. Well, I just caught a short newsclip on the local Fox channel about Cuban doctors now being able to travel without red tape. In the background here was a gearheads dream. Putting aside the pushcarts, I could not believe the amount of these past era vehicles going down the road and parked along the curb as everyday drivers. Like a time machine in reverse. I'm sure that if we ever opened up trade with Cuba, there would be alot of instant wealthy Cubans, as the hoarders with big U.S. dollars would be loading shipping containers.
  2. .....Don't be too hasty. As indicated in other threads on here, some by folks who have been there in person, many of these cars, though survivors they are, have been heavily modified and patched together with whatever parts were available. e.g. '55 Chevy Sedan with Russian Diesel engine and the list goes on and on. Their value may not be what one might expect.:)
  3. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 5,000

    from CO & WA

    Cuban's also have great expectations with regards to the value of their cars.
    Locally the value is way out of proportion with any USA market price would expect to pay.
    There are also some very astute Cuban's with means that would be quickly into any wheeling and dealing.
    However, there are some good examples of cars including restored cars which still exist and are probably owned by folks on the right side of Cuban society.
    Access to replacement parts seems to be the problem.
    Hence most everything is modified to make do with what is available.
    Like the previous poster said you see diesel engine hardly compatible fitted to vehicles that just had to have a power plant to keep running.
    I saw many examples of this plus one guy had fitted a truck steering column and box to his early 50's Chevy sedan employing a system of levers to make the conversion work.
    Not pretty and probably not that practical, but I guess it kept him mobile and was OK for local drives.
    I am sure the price of gas over there right now must be real high especially in the local currency.

    I have attached a few pic's of some reasonable cars, I did not think to take pic's of the real junk.
    Rust out is a big problem there due to the humidity and sea location.

    Attached Files:

  4. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,400


    Those Cuban guys love those old American cars, many are family heirlooms and they're willing to do a lot more than we are to keep them on the road daily. I doubt you'd find too many Cuban guys willing to part with something they've kept in the family and in continuous use for 60+ years.

    Not to mention how patched up and worn out they are. We've got plenty of beat up 4 door 50's cars here already available.

    Still, damn cool that they still use them and keep them roadworthy by any means possible.
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  5. DeadGuy2
    Joined: Nov 30, 2012
    Posts: 117


    A Canadian friend of mine went there a couple of years ago. He actually took some old spark plugs to give as tips.

    He said they loved him because they just don't have access to parts. He said if he was smarter he could've paid for his trip with less than a carry on bag of parts.

  6. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,478


    cubans have access to parts just most do not have the money, the whole world trades with cuba just not the US, the same china parts we buy they can buy as well, i went into a parts store that had mostly newer car parts, no one spoke english so i couldn't ask questions, there are lot of threads on here, when i was there i did see tons and tons of bundo buggies, but i did see some cars as nice as any i have seen anywhere, mostly 4 door cars.
  7. Heo2
    Joined: Aug 9, 2011
    Posts: 661


    Yes i love to get me a rusted out fourdoor
    with a polish 26 hp 3 cyl boat diesel rumanian
    trucktrans and home made wheelcylinder
    gaskets from a tractor tire
    You cant find sush rare cars any other place
    on eart im gona hoard them all and pay insanely
    for them
  8. Sweepspear
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 292


    This is one I particularly liked. A '59 Buick.
    If I recall correctly, the coast guard scuttled it after intervening.

    Attached Files:

  9. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,398


    This has made me realize that I've never seen a Cuban HAMBer . . . are there any? Too bad, if not.
  10. xracer40
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 304


    There is a DVD called "Yank Tanks" that is about the old cars in Cuba.
    It shows some of the things they do to make parts for old cars. One guy
    even mixes up his own asbestos brew for religning brake shoes.
    It's avaliable from Netflix, probably other places too.
  11. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,283


    I have read that any used car goes for a lot of money, likely because of limited supply and regulations (and lack of money..). People have to hang on to their cars because they cannot get a new one if they sell it.

    I think the US still has the larges and cheapest supply of vintage US cars.
  12. There are a couple. One even did a '49-'52 Chevy four door build. He did all the body work and painted it red.
  13. nifty
    Joined: Jan 7, 2007
    Posts: 477

    from UK

    Lucky enough to have spent my 4Oth birthday on holiday in Cuba, extremely cool place, great cars, the best rum and cigars and friendly locals
  14. nifty
    Joined: Jan 7, 2007
    Posts: 477

    from UK

    I did get to speak to a couple of Cuban car guys who showed be videos of 57 Chevys doing illegal street racing, believe me not all their cars are running diesel motors.
    They do love their vintage tin and in Havana especially everywhere you look you'll see 40's or 50's cars, Studes, Buicks, lots of Chevy's and Fords as you can imagine, the odd late Merc and Olds.
    We did get a 2 hour cruise in a '57 Fairlane convertible, diesel engine that was drowned out by the worst compilation CD that included Tito, The Bangles, Madonna, Michael Jackson etc. Shame as the live Cuban music in the bars is brilliant.
  15. lahti35
    Joined: May 23, 2004
    Posts: 137


    Polished steel for chrome, bath mat head gaskets, and recycled recycled recycled parts... those Cuban motorheads have some mad talent!
  16. In the late 80s I spent six weeks in Ankara, Turkey, and saw hundreds of old American cars. Mid-fifties Chevy is the popular choice for taxis.
  17. My understanding is that if a person were to actually sell a car there, it could not be replaced with another. THAT is why people hang on to cars there seemingly forever, not necessarily because of a romantic attachment to them. You can find Russian and other newer eastern European cars there, as well, but the prices for any car exceed what the vast majority of Cubans can afford. So, that's why a car or truck literally stays in the family for years and years.

    The fact they keep them on the road like they do, speaks volumes to their ingenuity and resourcefulness. I wouldn't mind finding an old Cuban treasure like that to bring to the States, and NOT restore it; but show it as-is.

    Fuel right now is relatively cheap in Cuba, due to Castro's buddy-buddy relationship with fellow dictator Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who took over the USSR's former job of keeping Cuba in oil and fuel.
  18. fiftyv8
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 5,000

    from CO & WA

    That is a question I asked several years back on here.
    At that time there were none accounted for although if memory serves me correctly there was one guy from FL with Cuban links who provided some information for us to savour...

    When I was there in 2007, I just took rides in every make and model of the 1950's I could get a ride in, as a lot of these vehicles run as a sort of community taxis cab arrangement where they drive a dedicated route and pickup and drop off passengers at predetermined stops along the way, more like a bus really as you have upto 8 people riding in a 4 door sedan at times.
    One Cadillac I rode in had a truck I beam axle and parallel springs fittted up front...
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  19. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,968


    My understanding is that those old american cars are National Treasures and can't be exported.
  20. Beau
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,883


  21. grabrr
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 129


    I love how Cuba seems to be the great land of mystery to Americans. Us Canadians have been going to Cuba for years, and from what I've seen most of those cars are so patched together, they wouldn't be worth the trouble to buy on and ship it back.
  22. GregCon
    Joined: Jun 18, 2012
    Posts: 689

    from Houston

    I'll make you a deal. If Cuba ever gets opened up to the States, we'll build a bridge - no, a tunnel under the Atlantic - so each and every one of them can make it directly to Canada without ever touching US soil.
  23. Beau
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,883


    I think Canada is hoarding more Hot Rods that the Cuba.
  24. roddin-shack
    Joined: Apr 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,414


    We like to think so, however the European Countries are stealing our THUNDER.
    But back to Cuba, I have been there several times and would not want any of those TURDS that they drive, we have better 4 door sedans etc. laying around in the prairie fields of Canada. :eek:
  25. Then who will cook your food and clean your pool?
  26. patina steve
    Joined: Oct 3, 2006
    Posts: 229

    patina steve

    There are no HAMBer's in Cuba because they don't have computers and the government doesn't allow them access to the internet.

    Besides they are just trying to get by and live, let along be able to afford or have the means to hot rod a car. Dispite all this they are wonderful and very happy people.

    Attached Files:

  27. Sauli
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 499


    Is there internet access in Cuba?

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