The Cuban car thing. Which avenue shall we take: the technical, wherein we masturbate over VIN numbers at the exclusion of the drivers; the high-priced longread, where a novelist from Brooklyn talks about himself in the passenger seat of a Packard; the pedant who reminds us of the bullshit that required Cubans to keep these deathtraps running instead of just buying a Toyota?
ISIS has a fleet of Toyotas, but Jose from Havana had to keep his Hudson running. The rule about importing automobiles was just lifted a few years ago, and not fully; I may have overstated my case: you can now buy a Toyota, but it’ll cost you $40,000.
Before that, all the cars on the island were pre-embargo American cars, which means 1960, and a constant refrain of this blog has and always will be: the past was worse. Everything about it. There was no Golden Age, there’s just nostalgia and fantasy covering up a whole lot of lynchings and shit flowing through the streets.
Yes, these cars are sculptural and sublime and other “s” words, but they don’t have seatbelts or air conditioners. There aren’t even a lot of them: the estimate is around 60,000 privately owned cars in the country.
Fuck Castro. And his little brother, Frank Stallone.