Monday, January 30, 2012

Quince Buicks de Cuba

They're called Yank Tanks by the locals, giant American cars that were imported into Cuba during the waning hours of the Batista regime of the 1950's- and Buick was an especially popular make a that time.  Castro's rise to power in 1959 marked the end of private car ownership, but those who already owned cars were allowed to keep them. The total cessation of trade with the United States made replacement parts all but impossible.

Nonetheless American cars of the fifties are everywhere in Cuba. Brightly colored, in a wide range of conditions, kept on the road with a mixture of Cuban ingenuity and Russian parts. Many of them work as Taxis and are preferred by the tourists over the newer, duller cabs, none of which are privately owned.

A scholar I know describes them as "Frankenstein Cars."- sewn together out of discarded parts. I prefer Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" as a theme. But either way, they are a very colorful part of Cuba today.

So just for fun, here are fifteen colorful examples of Fifties Buicks on the streets of Cuba today- "Quince Buicks de Cuba", if you will:
A 1957 Buick  speeds along a Cuban highway

A 1952 Buick rolls along ahead of a modern Taxi. 

A rare 1958 Opel, sold by Buick dealers.

This 1950 Buick Super is brightly painted.

A 1953 Buick Special Sedan appears intact.

Another 1953 Buick Special Sedan

A 1951 Buick on a rural highway

A 1958 Buick Special Sedan

This 1951 Buick is lovingly maintained

A 1958 Buick Special lost in thought

A 1956 Buick Century in a seaside setting

A colorful 1955 Special

A 1951 Buick in daily service as a Taxi

A 1959 Buick with the Sports Roof alongside the boardwalk in Havana

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