Cuba

Havana’s Vintage Cars: So Much More than Postcard Fodder

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Cruising down the Passeo de Marti. My favorite spot for panning shots like this one.

I had to mull this post over.

I asked myself: was a photo-essay showcasing the sexy (and perhaps not so sexy) vintage cars that I saw in Havana too cliché?

My conclusion: Probably. But what the hell.

Vintage_car_sportnoy-1-3I’m not a car person. As far as I am concerned, they’re just a mode of transportation; a means to an end. Yet on my recent trip to Cuba I found myself drawn to the colorful silhouettes and sensual curves that were zooming around Havana at lightning speed. (I’m not kidding, lightning. They drive crazy there.)

I realized that besides the fact that they are wonderfully photogenic, the cars represented far more than an iconic promo for holidays in Havana, they are a metaphor for the Cuban people.  Colorful, though worn by hardship. Resilient, over many years. Vibrant, in heart and spirit.

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Central Havana before sunrise

Cuba’s fleet of classics are a source of pride and accomplishment (the average Cuban could dance circles around our auto mechanics) and a symbol of resourcefulness. Everyday, I saw men tinkering with their wheels on side streets and along the avenues, modifying spare parts that weren’t meant for cars, yet making them work. The island is populated by a sea of McGyver’s working miracles with bits of steel, rubber and wire.

So cliché be damned. They’re worth a salute.

I bring you Havana’s vintage cars!

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Stopping for a light near the capital building.

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I found this bouquet of flowers on the corner. Sad. But the car is awesome, don’t you think?

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A little worse for wear, but just looking at this car you know it must have been stunning in its day.

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I love the wooden hood ornament. Just gorgeous.

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A peek inside the interior.

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Another vantage point.

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View from the roof of the Parqué Central hotel.

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I saw a lot of this walking around town. Parts of people jutting out from their cars as they worked on them.

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How cool is this baby? It was parked in what looked to be a bombed out lot.

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A green machine in Old Havana.

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One of the main drags in Central Havana.

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This guy has  a lot of work ahead of him.

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This guy just couldn’t get his car started, so….

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He asked another guy with a truck to pull it with a rope (see it on the lower left of this image) and then he revved the engine.

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A glimpse of the inner workings…

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The guy offered to show me is vieja (old) engine. I have no idea what I was looking at. LOL

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I loved this hood ornament.. snazzy!

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A park in Central Havana where a lot of taxi drivers hang out in the a.m., their cars all lined up in a row.

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Even obscured by the rain and a bus window, this car still looks hot.

 

Which car is your favorite?

 

~Taken while an invited guest of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshop: Seeing Cuba: Discovering the Culture and People of Cuba

To see more pics and read about my adventure in Cuba, click here.

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