HAVANA, Dec. 4th Finding an ‘original’ car within Cuban shores is not a task for the faint hearted. Having lived with Fidel Castro’s communist-led ban on imports of both foreign cars and car parts post-1959, one of the inevitable effects has been a deep-freeze of Cuba’s car scene. However, after almost six decades, the cars are far from original.
Lumbering great American classics have been gutted of their V8 power plants in place of diesel engines; most usually from Ladas. Given the country’s median income – less than $22 per day – vehicles are far from common in the first place. With an island boasting 11 million inhabitants, there’s only 60,000 cars between them, and what is there has been butchered to keep running on a shoestring.
As such, holding a concours event in Cuba would seem something of an oxymoron. Yet, that’s exactly what Amigos De Fangio has planned with this month’s inaugural Classic Car Contest, the first contemporary concours-type event to be held for the Cuban people.