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Thursday, 06 August 2015 09:00

New TV show about Cuba's classic cars

I remember that I had a entrepreneur friend, Roberto Arévalo,  who in the 1970s purchased vintage cars in Argentina and then sold them in the United States for a big profit. He would have probably tried to do the same thing in Cuba if it had not been for the embargo. Cars from the 1940s and 1950s,  still make up a significant form of transportation in Cuba. With the recent improvement of relations between the U.S. and  Cuba, there is a fascinating is new a television series about the country's old cars.

"Cuban Chrome is a groundbreaking new docu-series that explores the fascinating time warp that characterizes Cuban car culture. This is the first American television series to be produced entirely on location in Cuba and will be simulcast in English on Discovery Channel and in Spanish on Discovery en Español."

"After the 1959 Cuban Revolution and the subsequent United States embargo, it has been illegal to import American cars to the island nation -- as a result, Cuba's vintage American vehicles are frozen in time. For Cubans, these cars are not just a means of transportation, but a way of life. Cuban Chrome will give viewers an intimate look into this rarely seen country as they meet the men and women who put everything on the line to keep these classic cars running."

"Today, thousands of classic American cars can be found in Cuba, each of them with a unique story to tell. This show takes viewers on a ride through Cuban culture and into the world of A Lo Cubano Car Club, a passionate group of car enthusiasts, restorers, mechanics and apprentices who work together to restore classic cars and maintain the ones they already own (and depend upon) though the odds are stacked against them."

"With unprecedented access granted by the Cuban and United States governments, Cuban Chrome chronicles the adventures of A Lo Cubano Car Club as they go to extreme measures to preserve their treasured cars and pass them down from generation to generation. Through the club's innovative car restorations and repairs, the series explores the challenges and joys of life in Cuba, presenting an authentic look into their culture of passion, grit, determination and ingenuity."

At the beginning of this article I mentioned a friend who used to buy and sell old cars, Contrary to popular belief, car collectors will not be descending on Cuba to buy up the thousands of antique American cars still on the road in the Caribbean nation. The intrinsic value in collector cars is in the originality of its parts, especially original body, panels, engines, and transmissions. It doesn't take long for an expert to see that there's little that's original left in the American cars on the roads of Cuba, except the body.

One car aficionado from the U.S. remarked, "When I visited Cuba, I jumped in a 1956 Cadillac, and it looked really good. The guy turned the key and it had a Peugeot diesel engine. The expert likened the Cadillac to a "Galapagos Island" of cars. "Because they've been cut off for so long, they've morphed into their own species. It's not a Cadillac. It's something else."

On our Discover Cuba Tours you will see a lot of the old cars and even have a chance to ride in a couple of them.
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