I want to keep this completely car related please. With this new decision I have to wonder if those amazing 40's and 50's era car will become available to us now. Watching the news last night it looked as if I was going back in time. The small clips that were shown I didn't see any modern cars at all!
Some one with the bucks will go down and buy all that can move under their own power then import them to Florida, question is do the people who own those cars know what they have? If they do they won't be cheap if they don't they may regret it when they find out how much they went for in the free market. One thing for sure ownership should be well documented.
It's great fun to look at street pictures from Cuba with all the US 50's cars still rolling around daily. It's not so fun looking at close up pictures, 54+ years of daily use without access to OEM spare parts takes its toll..
Most of them are full of dents and has had a russian diesel under the hood - not always because of worn out original engines, more because of the limited supply of and price of fuel.
The resourcefulness of the cubans is fantastic keeping them running with small means for so long
It'll be sad to see them vanish from the streets, but I don't think many of them are worth the trouble to export - there are still many good cars from the era in low rust areas of USA that has been parked for decades and may have less wear and tear on them.
There was a parallel in Uruguay - economy and regulations forced the inhabitants there to use their pre depression era US cars up into the 80's. The cars were likely heavily modified and abused, but I think maybe some were bought and imported to the USA? 1920's cars are easier than 50's cars to repair without access to special tooling for plastic parts etc, anybody with experience from Uruguayan imports?
(Message edited by Roger K on December 18, 2014)
Probably not many original parts left on them; Much like the Model T.
Those old cars aren't as common as you might think. A lot of that stuff is set up to make a nice shot.
I visited there about ten years ago and only saw a handful of 40s and 50s cars.
There were a lot of fairly new eastern European cars.
Being a Canadian I am permitted to travel to Cuba, and have done so on many many occasions. The cars have been heavily modified for the most part, with things such as Toyota diesel drivetrains and suspension. Unless it was something incredibly rare, it would not be worth the trouble. But good luck prying them from the peoples hands. These cars are typically family heirlooms, and like Andrew wrote, they really are not as prevalent as one is led to believe. Most vehicles in Cuba are now newer eastern european or asian.
Roger, there are quite a few right hand drive Model A's in Spain. I am told these come from Uruguay. I don't know why they are RHD but that's what the owners have told me.
The only thing that still seems to be huge is American motorcycles. There is a huge group of H-D owners with 40s to 50s biked that are as original as possible. With a network that keeps them up and running with as much original or close to stock fabbed parts as possible.
There is a small documentary or article out there I think it was in cycle world...
As a side note, importing vehicles has become a fresh hell as of late.
Well the fact the cars have held up this long says alot for what this country used to could produce.I doubt a 86 Taurus or Cavalier would be around for 55 years and still roll.
The Uruguay thing is a mystery to me. That's one of the LHD countries.
Does anyone remember that old Chevy stake bed truck that a smart Cuban transformed into a pontoon boat with an engine driven propeller? The navy had to sink it with machine guns after they rescued numerous refugees when the engine and/or propeller broke?
I visited Havana several years ago---previous comments are "right-on"--saw lots of those 50s cars--not one worth exporting or restoring. No model Ts but a few Model As---Paul
"Uruguay adopted left-hand traffic in 1918, but as in some other countries in South America, this was changed to right-hand traffic on 2 September 1945"
Though RHD cars is not always a sign - Sweden had left hand traffic from 1734 to 1967, but very few RHD cars were sold here during the LHD era, they were never popular here for some odd reason?
RP hasn't been on here for a couple of weeks, maybe he's been busy with other interests?
I know someone who visited there several years ago (he's a car guy) and he said nothing he saw was salvageable. Look at how difficult it is to restore and maintain cars here were we have the resources. Now imagine trying to perform the same task under their conditions.
No doubt cars will eventually be exported and I think the "Cuba find" will be sold as the novelty it is -- marking a window of human history where necessity meant driving a '54 Chevy held together with pop rivets, duct tape, and powered by a Russian diesel.
That Cuba decision could not have been that bad, even the Pope blessed it.
Back to the 50s and 60s cars, I had a trip to Columbia in the late 1990's and I saw a lot of them on the road. Most look fairly well maintained and most had good upholstery.
I did not see any Model T or A Fords.
The diesel engines reminded me when our ship stopped in Grease (Athens) back in the late 50's. It was supprising to see later American cars with transplanted diesel engines. Most were taxis. I can only imagine diesel fuel was much cheaper than gas. Also cars without engines were likely to have much less import tax.
I feel even if the cars are not worth the time and effort to restore there is still a treasure trove of usable fenders, glass and chrome and possibly some dash items.. Some these items here are becoming non existent.
You guys can have the rusty cars, I'll take a few crates of Cuban Cigars.
Considering the rapid deterioration of a car in warm, humid Florida, it's hard to imagine anything at all remaining of a car that's lived in Cuba for 60 years.
Dick, That's why I'd pass on the cars and go for the cigars.
Interesting that all the stills and videos I have seen of Havana on several channels in the last 24 hours show no modern cars, just old American cars. The networks must be using file footage.
Not Cuba, but Finland. While there in 1996 I saw many 50's cars all in good running condition. The fuel prices are so high there that although they have good highways, very few people use the cars. They take trains or buses for long trips and public transportation in the cities. Sometimes they will rent a car for a vacation. People live in the country if they are farmers or wood cutters, but it is not like here where people work in the city but commute to the suburbs by automobile. Anyway, I saw a lot of good cars with low miles from the 50's while there. Of course, that was 18 years ago, so maybe it is different now.
There's no need to go to Cuba to get a crappy, worn out 1940s or 50s car.
Your local Craigslist is full of them:
Methinks I am going to have to invest in some cigars. i have a feeling the good ones are going to get much more expensive really fast!!!!!
I read an article in a copy of MI or PS or some such magazine when I was a kid, that said GM used to send the previous year car panel forming machines and so a 1956 Chebby in South America would have actually been a 1955 in the US. Interesting thought.
I wonder how many T's might be down there. There must be some.
I know a guy who has made a lot of money shipping big cars to Finland. They like convertibles.
What's wrong with cars held together with bits of other cars? My cars fit that description and i still like mine.
As far as the Cuban pre 60's cars go there are still plenty around here in the States as Erik J points out in his craigslist post. And the most will be in better shape too.
I don't smoke so I dont get a buzz about Cuban cigars either.
Bloomberg tv just had a blurb: 60,000 pre-1962 cars in Cuba. Many are used as taxis. US automakers won't see boom in sales there, as average (predominant?) wage is less than $25/mo.
US wheat will replace EU wheat in Cuba, a large import there.
I didn't take the time to read all the above posts, but they still use American made steam locomotives on railways. I wish I that the money to buy one if they convert to diesel.
Meant to type, "I wish I had the money to buy one".
More than a little work to restore some of these treasures — or even to find a few re-useable parts — although I'd be happy to own the orange one, which we spied in a Havana restaurant.
I was there last year. The older cars with the yellow plates are privately owned and dirt cheap to licence and apparently cars with other coloured plates are government owned and expensive to run or something like that. I can't remember exactly. Some kind of grandfathering scheme. This means that that those with the yellow plates are not going to give them up easily or anytime soon.
As difficult as it is to deal with registration and title transfer stuff here in the States, can you imagine how much grief DMV would give you trying to register a Cuban car? I am sure they would find any one of a thousand reasons to question the authenticity of the ownership transfer and paperwork.
Did you take those pics ?
Great job ....
JIm — yes, about four or five years ago when we all went to Cuba for our son's destination wedding.
Here is a '55 Chevy (of sorts) for sale in Cuba: http://www.revolico.com/autos/carros/chevrolet-55-descapotable-mecanica-original-bueno-de-lata-y-reci-10339962.html
On their rough equivalent of Craigslist: http://www.revolico.com/autos/carros/
For the price of 12,000 Cuban Convertible Pesos, which convert at 1:1 with the US$.
And the Google-translated description from the advert:
Ofertazo !!! 18 wheels and tires as new, tocaísimas. All their headbands nickel and defenses too. Ok plate change, inspection October / 2014. Became convertible, it is NOT the original. Painting Monocapa White / Pink, a beauty.
Currently you are changing the hoops that leaked oil, the engine is mounted but open up and down to change the rings, so the price.
Erik, send this 1 on down my way from your link!