Curbsidelandia Classics: Weird Mutant Car Creations in Cuba

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?