Wednesday, July 1, 2015
|The 1992-1998 Subaru Vivio remains popular in Cuba.|
Subaru built the Vivio from 1992 to 1998, primarily for its home market and Europe. A good number of Vivios, however, found their way to Cuba, where they continue to command strong prices on sites such as cubisima.com.
The Vivio came in three- and five-door models with front- or all-wheel-drive and a 660-cc four-cylinder engine rated at 54 horsepower (a 64-h.p. turbo version was available in Japan). That's not much power, but apparently quite sufficient to propel a car with a listed weight – sans spoiler, no doubt – of just 645 kilograms.
|Vivio came in five-door, above, and three-door models.|
Thursday, June 25, 2015
|Havana mystery-mobile – a Mercury, maybe?|
Some type of amalgamation? Yes, I eventually learned, but one that came that way as a DeSoto Diplomat, an export model that was mainly a Plymouth with a front-end treatment from Chrysler's pricier DeSoto line.
This one is a '55. It may be missing a few trim pieces, but hey – it still has all its teeth.
Governor de Soto, your taxi is here
Saturday, June 20, 2015
|Export-model DeSoto is based on a Plymouth – with an added bit of Dodge.|
But de Soto's name lives on in Cuba. His image, too, if the stylized conquistador in the logo of the Chrysler DeSoto (sometimes De Soto) bears any likeness to the Spanish explorer.
|Both DeSoto and Plymouth emblems were applied at the factory.|
Most of Cuba's DeSotos are of the export variety, like this 1948 sedan from the government's Gran Car fleet of tourist-pleasing taxis. It bears both DeSoto and Plymouth badges – it came that way – but even without them, its Plymouth heritage shows through in the blocky fenders and other conservative lines.
|Gran Car taxi fleet ferries visitors in eye-catching classics.|
The export DeSoto was also sold in Australia, Europe, Mexico and South America, though few will remain in those markets. On the island once governed by its namesake, however, it still rules the roads.
Hemmings: Made for export – 1947 De Soto
Allpar: The DeSoto Diplomat