CC Taxi Ride: 1956 Chevrolets and Fords in Varadero, Cuba

If in Cuba one has to take a ride in some American cars. We managed to take ride in a pair of 1956 Chevrolets and for a comparison a 1956 Ford. This shaped up to be a classic Chevrolet versus Ford battle. Which one did we like better? Read on.

After arriving at the airport in Varadero we attempted to take a classic car to our first casa stay but were unsuccessful. There must be some kind of monopoly on who can pick up tourists as only the modern taxis like the Emgrand EC7 were on offer. Varadero is definitely a tourist town so once there we had ample opportunity to select our first vintage ride along the main street. My son had only ever been in one old American car, my 1961 Pontiac Laurentian, which is actually somewhat Canadian so we wanted something that screamed classic Americana.

We got the attention of this driver and our first sample of a classic American came in the form of this 1956 Chevrolet convertible in a bright pink.

He zipped around to pick us up.

In this short video you can see the driver operating the column shift transmission. I am not sure what engine is powering it but it is definitely not a Chevrolet six or eight.

There is definitely something enjoyable about going for a cruise in a convertible but with the mid-day sun I could understand why our driver had chosen a hat with ample coverage.

Given the tourist concentration of Varadero there were many others out enjoying a classic ride as well. Most come into town from the surrounding resorts. The next day we were off to Havana which had a totally different vibe.


Oddly our next classic American ride happened again when we were back in Varadero. Flights from Canada directly to Havana are much more expensive so we had another day in Varadero before flying home. One activity we had planned was scooter rentals which was much better suited to the laid back Varadero streets over the hustle and bustle of Havana. The rental place was at the edge of town which called for another taxi.

We attempted to get a Ford, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, or Dodge for a little variety but hailing a taxi can be a fickle thing depending on the time of day. After about half an hour of being unable to hail a new to us old car we settled on a 1956 tin top Chevrolet.

This was in better shape overall than the earlier convertible but with an automatic transmission this time.


Another short driving video.

This was apparently the only exterior shot I took of it. I guess we were too excited for our scooter adventure.

At the end of our vacation we needed a ride to the airport so we sought out to find an interesting car to take us there. We were looking for something British or German but, again in the hot mid day interesting taxis were hard to find. We eventually found this classic 1956 Ford at the last minute before having to settle for a modern Chinese car.

The Ford was a column shifted manual transmission car like our first 1956 Chevrolet. While the interior is certainly was not totally stock I would call it a reasonably faithful to the concept of the original given the limited resources available in Cuba.

Another driving video but this time on the highway.

As we got close to the airport it was a little bittersweet as our vacation was coming to the end. Reflecting back on our taxi rides I could not help compare the Ford versus the Chevrolet. While none of them were close to stock but I found that I preferred the Ford by a wide margin, at least as a passenger. I asked my son his opinion and he agreed that the Ford had the edge but neither of us could express why exactly. Old cars do not have to be rationale so I am sticking by our win for team Ford on this one.

That is a wrap for the classic American taxis in Cuba. There are a couple more taxi rides to share that are not American or European. I will have some more Cuba automotive content coming as it is amazing place to spot hundreds of working classics as well as some truly surprising finds. Just do not expect them to stock.

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