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A Nigel Idea - Cuba's Old "Ex-American" Cars The sheer volume of pre 1960's American cars still running everyday (often all day) across Cuba is quite staggering. Though, actually, they stopped being "American" made some decades ago. Much of their original parts were refabricated and replaced by Cuban engineers quite a while back, and is very much an everyday ongoing process. So! How long before circumstances change and the incentives to keep the old cars alive is lost? Or can they go on forever?
The cultural and economic value of the old Ex-American cars to Cuba, is in my opinion, astronomical. Their loss would be a "total tourism catastrophe". But the process of their demise may just be round the corner. Cuban's, given a choice want modern more reliable (boring?) cars. And they may have that choice very soon. Now mostly the old cars are operated as private taxis for the Cuban people. Tourist taxis are modern cars. My idea to save the old cars is reverse this condition, or at least start the process of incentivising old car owners to give rides to tourists and so have more money to keep their cars in even better shape, and even revitalise dormant stock. All old car drivers are given a digital camera to take location photos of their clients/tourists with the car. The memory card's photos are submitted (for which drivers/owners get a small fixed fee) every week to a car owners club/office and an international amateur panel (always changing) of judges (eg tourists at Hotel Nacional) gives significant cash prizes for the best photos. The photos are then uploaded to websites for tourism promotion etc.

Also there should be an annual Classic Car Owners Weekend on the Havana Malecon with prizes for best maintained cars in several categories. All car exhibitors are paid expenses.

etc etc

Posted by: nigelhunt

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