Dinosaur Island: MotorTrend Checks out the Cuban Classic Car Scene [Video]
At the risk of earning ourselves a promotion to the rank of major buzzkill, no company on earth will ever produce cars like those made by U.S. automakers in the 1950s. Yes, that’s probably a good thing, given all the exponential advancements that have been made to automobiles in the areas of safety, efficiency, cleanliness and performance since then, but there was a whole lot right with American cars of that decade, too. The splashy, aerospace-inspired styling, liberal use of chrome and stainless steel trim and vivid colors inside and out all conspired to make the cars made by our country easily recognizable, a sharp contrast to today’s timid, beige (in both the figurative and literal senses) domestic transportation appliances. It’s a shame, nay, a travesty that the only place left in this country to see befinned Ike Era rides is parked at car shows with a car hop tray (replete with plastic burger, fries and milkshake) on the driver’s door window sill and a toddler-shaped mannequin perched face-first against the front bumper.
However, there is a place where seeing such cars out in the wild is a routine occurrence:Cuba! Yes, it’s a royal pain in the poo-chute for us gringos to go there (legally, anyway), butMotorTrendeditorsArthur St. AntoineandCarlos Lagomanaged to use their car scribe charms to get the okay from D.C. And what they found when they got there is wall-to-wall awesome: Loads of old steel from the likes ofPontiac,ChevroletandFordbeing kept on the road by their clever and resourceful owners, fantastic architecture in varying states of preservation (or decay), and enough adult beverages and freshly-rolled Cuban stogies to constitute what Charlie Sheen calls “breakfast.” Could someone please remind us why our government hasn’t reconsidered its unfriending of this communist country while, at the same time, it’s doing the diplomatic and economic equivalents of sharing food pictures and cat videos with another?