Former “Car Talk” co-host Ray Magliozzi, whose brother and longtime co-host Tom Magliozzi died in 2014, recently visited Cuba and found that Cubans are still “car crazy” — and still driving American cars from before the Cuban revolution in 1959.
Magliozzi offered his impressions of the trip in an interview with The New York Times. “The 1957 Chevy taxi we rode in was beautifully maintained. But it was not original by any means,” Magliozzi noted. “A lot of cars had Hyundai diesel engines. They’ve taken out the original engines and transmissions and transplanted a Hyundai drivetrain. These are simple and durable and relatively new.”
Magliozzi noted that one of the best places to car watch was the front entrance to Havana’s Hotel Nacional de Cuba, where an endless parade of taxi cabs is like a vintage car show. “I sat one day for an hour or two and just watched,” he said. “It’s a nostalgia trip for me. It’s cool seeing cars from my youth. In the ’50s you knew every car that came out. The looks changed so much year to year. Cars then were so easy to spot. I was able to do that at the Nacional.”
Here’s a clip from a few years ago spotlighting classic American cars in Cuba …