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Quintessential Havana -- driving through Cerro on the tail of an old Chevy

The way that they keep these old cars running is truly amazing. In one case, we saw a beautiful mid-50s Mercury undergoing an engine transplant. The new power source was an underpowered 4-cylinder engine from a Russian Volga from the late Soviet period.

Just about the most beautiful car we saw. In Pinar del Rio, there's a very definite outlaw element cruising the streets in extra large vintage 30s and 40s American behemoths with smoked glass and enough room in the back seat to house a family of six.

And what about that hood ornament? You could search junk yards from Portland, Maine to Tijuana and never find anything quite so expressive. Cuban hood ornaments are like fingerprints and snowflakes -- no two are ever quite the same.

57 Chevy - Eddie only had a license to drive locals, but he was willing to risk a heavy fine to drive a couple of gringos and earn $20. We hired him and his finely preserved 57 Chevy (original six-cylinder engine) for a two-hour cruise around town. And he had a pretty good instinct for what we would find interesting, from the entrails of Cerro to "New Vedado", where the party functionaries reside in near suburban luxury in hillside houses expropriated from the last of the mobsters.

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