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Escape to Havana for a 1950s time capsule of sleek lines, shiny chrome, tail fins and good times in CLASSIC AMERICAN CARS OF CUBA. In Cuba today, one in eight cars is a pre-1960s American brand Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Chrysler, Packard and other classic models – and just as in 1950s America, these cars are at the center of everyday life – courtships, marriages, careers, family outings. CLASSIC AMERICAN CARS OF CUBA celebrates the timeless traditions of hot cars and cool music; the joys of cruising; the camaraderie of fathers and sons tinkering under the hood; the promise of romance. Revved up by a soundtrack of classic car songs, this program makes a passion for cars contagious.
The classic American cars in use on the streets of Cuba have exceeded their Detroit manufacturers’ intended design life by four, five, six, even seven times. In a country where the embargo makes U.S.-made parts nearly impossible to obtain, Cuban mechanics must improvise every tool and hand-make every part, and sheer skill and ingenuity keep the fleet running. The cars are cherished and cared for like an old friend as they pass from generation to generation. From Pinar del Rio to Santiago de Cuba, young men cruise with a spectacle to match the showgirls who perform at Havana’s famous night-spots. And on the street corners, the age-old American debate continues which is the better car, Ford or Chevy?
CLASSIC AMERICAN CARS OF CUBA follows a procession of these classic American cars as they wind their way from Havana to Trinidad in a celebration of cars that is a mass of horns, music, laughter and love. As the camera lovingly caresses the details of the cars – the throbbing V-8 engines, the shiny ornate chrome, the stylish interiors, even the original 1950s factory air it taps a universal nostalgia for vintage American autos that appeals everyone from the weekend mechanic to the aficionado who can tell the difference between a’53 and ‘55 Cadillac on engine sounds alone, from the rebel and the hot rod racer to the family man. For American classic car enthusiasts, the Cuban car time-warp represents the Holy Grail, and with ongoing travel restrictions, this program offers viewers the only way to get there.
Produced by WLIW New York. Executive Producer: Roy Hammond; Producer/Director: Leo Eaton. Special thanks to: Automobile Club of Havana, Cuba; Antique Automobile Club of America; TailLight Diplomacy, Rick Shnitzler, and John Dowlin.
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