VaCCation Outtakes: Tri Fives and More in Varadero Cuba

Greetings, fellow curbivores. Today let’s take a trip to Varadero Cuba with Mrs DougD and I.

We were there the 3rd week of November 2023.  After a busy summer with work, I needed to burn some vacation days by the end of the year, so when my sister suggested this we said “sure!”


Here at the lobby of the resort, we see our first tri-five Chevrolet, this one a 1955 with a diesel engine.  Varadero is a peninsula with a toll for entry, so the classics we saw were almost all dedicated tourist taxis, not beaters driven by regular Cubans.

To be honest, I had no intention of taking car photos, my plan was to swim, drink and work on my range of motion from recent hand surgery.  But when this pair showed up on the lawn I couldn’t resist.  Nice 55 convertible here, the paint was a bit mismatched and it was a little Bondo heavy in spots, but quite presentable.

Nice interior despite my usual glared shot.

The 56 Bel Air sedan seemed to be in a little better condition.  The paint and chrome were very good, as can be seen in the lead photo.

Unlike 10 years ago when we last visited Cuba, many of the old cars sported chrome 5 spoke rims.  These ones are REV branded (a Holley brand!) with FULLRUN 70 series tires.

We walked off the resort property one afternoon to visit a nearby cave with bats.  Parked out front was this 1953 Chevy sedan.  Upgrades included the same chrome wheels, LED headlights and fuzzy dice.  On the main road, we saw several heavily loaded 1950s Dodge trucks, but didn’t get a shot in time.

We did get a quick shot of this sedan, looks like a late 50’s Ford Consul to me.

To continue the European theme, what started out as a Citroen H van has mated with several boat trailers resulting in this interesting object.  It’s used as a breakfast buffet in the morning and a bar in the evening, I sampled their wares in both cases.

I was surprised to see this VW beetle, particularly since it’s obviously a later model.  I wonder how it slipped into Cuba?  There is no mystery about how the Moskvitch (2140?) slipped in.  The guests at our resort were about 70 percent Canadians, but there was a sizeable Russian contingent this year.

Waiting for the bus back to the airport, I noticed these three modern cars, a Chinese Dongfeng Aeolus, Audi A7 and Toyota Prado.  I found myself wondering who the person associated with the Audi was, but decided it was probably best not to find out.

After a week of wonderful hot sunny weather, we flew back to cold gray dreary Toronto.  Cuban tourism is a complicated issue to consider, but one thing I’m sure of is that I’m grateful to have the opportunity to experience the place and the fabulous old cars.