Community Comment

Life in Cuba

AP Photo/Javier Galeano

A woman leans against an old car, used as a taxi, in Havana, Friday. Cuba's government has begun the distribution of permits to legalize old cars, currently used as black-market taxis. (The Spokesman-Review)
AP Photo/Javier Galeano A woman leans against an old car, used as a taxi, in Havana, Friday. Cuba's government has begun the distribution of permits to legalize old cars, currently used as black-market taxis. (The Spokesman-Review)

Good morning, Netizens...

When I first stumbled across this AP picture, I had a momentary historical lapse, as if my eyes do not deceive me, this is a 1952 Chevrolet. In the USA this beast would have long since either become an entry at a classic car show or maybe exiled to the scrap yard, but in Havana, Cuba, they use them as bootleg taxis.

A sweet little 235 cubic inch 6-cycliner (perhaps a 216, as some Chevies varied back then), a Spicer 3-speed manual transmission and few other options, this model was one of my first cars, and although I came to loathe the 216 engine because of its design, I came to trust the 235's hardiness and ease of maintenance. Although it didn't have quite enough poop to climb over the Rocky Mountains at 70 MPH (More like 50 MPH was its top speed climbing over the bigger passes) it reliably delivered good fuel economy with long life for my generation.

Some models later on even came equipped with overdrive, which gave it even longer life, better fuel economy and quieter running at freeway speeds.

The best part is with just a modicum of study, I rebuilt my first car, which is how I learned the trick of using the 235, instead of the 216, since the latter had babbeted rods and main bearings. That was a genuine pain to rebuild.

Ah, the memories of the open road!

Dave




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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.







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