Thursday, July 31, 2014

  I know, I promised no more motorcycles for a bit. But at least it's not a Harley!
  I've come across a number of these Cushman scooters in Varadero. Must have been a dealer there, back in the 1940s and '50s.

Cushman Corp. of Nebraska produced heavy-duty scooters like this from 1936 until 1965.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The quintessential old Harley

Mid-50s Harley has no saddle bags or other adornments to obscure its classic silhouette. 
    Here's that Harley-Davidson from the last post, sans band members. It wasn't the oldest or rarest Harley at the meet, but it was my favourite – a 1955 or '56 (they're pretty much identical), finished in honest black and carrying, to my mind, just the right amount of chrome.
   With 74-cubic-inch panhead engine, it could be a standard FL model, but given its Cuban heritage – plus the purple auxiliary headlamps – I'm guessing it's the police-issue FLE that was tuned for traffic control duties. The hand shifter for the gearbox is another clue: a majority of civilian buyers were opting for Harley's new foot shifter in the mid-50s, but police and military customers remained loyal to the hand control.
   This is the last of my Harlista shots – at least for now. Time to turn back to cars and trucks. Maybe some buses, too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

   Their name translates to "all mixed up," but members of To'Mezclao certainly seemed sure of themselves at the Harlistas gathering in Varadero. The popular group is known for a blend of styles, from cumbia to hip-hop to reggaeton. See a video here of To'Mezclao performing live in Havana.

Reason to smile: A handsome Harley from 1955 or '56.