Cuba conjures up a number of images in most people’s heads. To some, it’s images of the Mariels coming to Miami in the early 1980s. To others, the word “Cuba” summons up daydreams of tropical beaches. To car guys and gear heads, however, the merest whisper of the goings on in Cuba will inspire talk of Cuba’s classic car scene. Seemingly frozen in time due to trade embargoes, Cuba’s roads are full of well-maintained American iron from the 1950s, along with a few oddball Russian and Italian cars thrown into the mix for good measure. To a classic car nut, it’s a paradise- and, earlier this month, CNN’s Patrick Oppmann was there. Filing drag races.
Cuba’s drag races aren’t like the ones we enjoy in the US, Europe, and Japan, however. There are no big sponsors. There is no prize money. Trackside gambling, even, is heavily discouraged.
These Cuban racing enthusiasts simply race for the love of racing. At each event, there is some new homespun innovation brought on by the necessities of racing and the crippling parts shortage that American politicians thought would cripple the tiny island nation decades ago. Those politicians, apparently, haven’t read my Insteading article on Cuba’s DIY Tech economy.
Take a few minutes and watch this great CNN video, below, and see if you can see the same love of machinery that we do. As you do so, keep in mind that these cars are, in most cases, nearly 60 years old and running strong– something to think about the next time you start trying to justify that “need” for a new car. Enjoy!
Source | Photos: CNN.