It is said that necessity is the mother of invention but in shortages might be mother of these hodge podge automotive creations. Cuban craftsman are able to sew together disparate vehicles to create something entirely new and the results of often odd, occasionally inspiring but always interesting. Determining the origins of each can be a bit of a game as well. The one above has been suggested as starting life as Isuzu Trooper for example.
The base for car for this one is a little less obvious from this angle with a generic and homemade grill out front. This is actually sort of a two-for with the Jeep but not a Jeep next to it. That is actually a Toyota Bandeirante with Jeep grill pasted on the front which seemed to be reasonably common in Cuba. I guess the Cuban did not get the memo that Land Cruisers are generally more valuable than the same year Jeep everywhere else.
The interior is actually quite smart looking with a tri-tone color scheme. The wheel is sourced from a Subaru and the dashboard from a Seventies Lada.
The rear shows off the distinctive roof line of the 1958 to 1959 Rambler American but the bottom half does not seem to be an exact match for that. The trunk, hood and doors do not really line up with the Rambler so are we looking at something that has had a Rambler roof grafted on?
The smoking gun so to speak is probably a different alignment of the rear window is between a stock Rambler and this. So what is the bottom half? I am not sure so I look to you readers in the comment section for any ideas.
Here is another interesting one. Any guesses? The answer is below.
It is a much modified Skoda Octavia with some extra re-working of both the front and rear end.
Here is what a stock example would look like.
This one makes its donor a lot more visible as a Nissan Sentra B13 with a faux classic car front end on it. Perhaps it was a victim of a front end collision at some point as I cannot imagine it fools too many people.
A few are hard to even start to identify their components like this beast of a bus. I suspect some Russian truck is underneath all that custom bodywork. Feel free to take a stab at guessing its origins.
Custom trucks with a Fifties American sedan providing the cab are reasonably common. This one is one of the more extreme examples.
This brown example has suicide style doors or at least the door handle locations indicate that. It gives off Dodge vibes to me but I am not sure what the actual donors are.
Here is another crew cab but sitting closer to the ground.
The owner has helpfully labelled it as a Rambler but I would say it is a Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) Rambler station wagon cut down into a truck. These were produced from 1962 through 1971 in Córdoba, Argentina.
Unfortunately I did not get a better shot of this one but it is claiming to be a Ford both by windshield banner and the badge on the hood.
There were a number of customized Polski Fiat 126p around including this one. While perhaps not a true mutant its donor engine/axle is obviously much wider than stock and likely out of front wheel drive car. It is probably quite a performance machine, at least, in a straight line.
The front sports an oversized bumper from something else.
The origins of this Kaiser Manhattan are a little more clear due to the distinctive roof line but what a nose job on it!
Let’s end on something a little amazing, a Gazedes. Yes, it is a GAZ 24 doing its best upmarket Mercedes impression. The square lines make a credible impression but rear window vent gives it away as a much more exotic (to me) GAZ. Which was your favorite or most horrifying mutant?
These are splendid; I never get tired of seeing these Cuban mutants. They are a testament to human ingenuity and creativity.
A lot of these look like AI “mutants”. No wonder I like them so much too. It’s refreshing and stimulating to have the eye and mind be challenged after the shapes and details of cars have been imprinted so deeply. It really makes you look, instead of just saying “oh yeah, another Rambler” or such.
It’s reminiscent of all those very expensive Japanese kits to change the front face of an suv or a current car , here a Nissan Cube . But congratulations to the low-cost creativity of these Cuban . shttps://www.blow-net.co.jp/products-cars
The first one pictured might have been the inspiration for the Dodge Nitro. Or vice-versa.
I love these ! .
I can imagine the m ore curvaceous ones being used in movies as random automobiles .
Some of these are very well finished indeed .
These are great!
I like that Kaiser!
If Motortrend TV is running out of ideas, bring some of these guys to America, set them loose in a junkyard and say build us a car.
Well, Desi Arnaz was famous for saying AI AI AI!
What happened to all the “custom” cars we drooled over from the ’50s – ’60s?
The Isuzu trooper in the lead photo looks like something Mitsuoka would have made. The bright blue pickup after the bus looks more like a jumbo sized Morris Minor than anything else.
The only place I can think of with more weird cobbled together stuff is probably Myanmar (Burma) and for similar reasons of poverty and few imports.
It does have a strong Mitsuoka vibe to it.
The blue truck could have its cab widened.
The “Ford” with the screen banner callout is surely a Lada with a new job, perhaps a collision repair
Definitely could be.
Such a different attitude from the U.S.:
USA: Sorry, that part you need is NLA. They don’t make them anymore; if you’re desperate you may find a NOS part on Ebay.
Cuba: You need a part you can’t get? No prob, we’ll make one for you!
Just had to share that Fiat 126p with some friends! That beastie looks like fun. Wonder how squirrely it is?
I bet very!
Here is another wild 126p
The blue “Ford” looks to be a Lada or some other Fiat 124-derived model from the cowl back.
The Sentra gives me the impression of being rebuilt on a separate chassis, maybe from a small truck.