Sunday, November 22, 2015

More images from the 'Jurassic Park for car lovers'

Ford meets Chevy in a scene from photographer Piotr Degler's Cuba collection.
   PIOTR DEGLER was the talk of the automotive Internet last year for his photos of a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe rotting beneath a banana tree near Havana.
   But the neglected-beyond-repair Mercedes was far from the only subject for the car photographer from Spain and Italy. Degler, who like so many others had concluded that he should not delay if he wanted to see the island before it forever changes, spent a month travelling in what he calls "a kind of Jurassic Park for every classic car lover."   In Cuba's cities and small towns and countryside he took some 25,000 images, from which he selected just 12 – the Gullwing among them – for the 2015 edition of his premier Degler Calender.
   Now the photographer is preparing to show more than 200 other pictures from that visit in a hardcover book called Carros de Cuba. The project is being funded through a Kickstarter campaign that has already raised €13,800 (CDN $19,600) toward a goal of €30,000 (CDN $42,600).

March 2016 is expected publication date after fundraising target is met.
   In the images he takes for car magazines, manufacturers and other clients, Degler achieves a studio quality, even when the subject was shot under sun and clouds, not lights and reflectors.
   His photos from Cuba are, as he says, more of a documentary style, without manipulation of the scene beforehand or extensive editing later. "The picture," he says, "shows respectfully the reality as it is."
   Yet a preview of images for Carros de Cuba reveals the same, studio-like purity of color and pattern, arrayed in deceptively simple compositions that somehow convey complex stories, always built around cars. We see the country that is simultaneously languid and vibrant, ruined and resilient.
   Those who look on these and the book's other photos – still just 200 or so, culled from so many thousands – will be glad Degler set out to capture that reality as it is.

Parked: A 1956 or '57 Jaguar Mark 1 with added headlamps.

Photos © Piotr Degler. Used by permission.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Angle parking only

Two-wheeled horse carts at rest on a quiet afternoon (i.e., pretty much any afternoon) in Aguacate, an agriculture centre 80 kilometres west of Havana.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Date the Beetles

Turn signals atop the fenders probably identify this Matanzas gold Bug as a pre-1975 model.
   VOLKSWAGEN Beetles, as mentioned, are plentiful in Cuba (as they are in many countries). I'm thinking the Beetles, or VW Type 1s, I've come across on the island are all from the 1970s, but as to their specific years, or place of origin, I can't be sure. Any experts care to weigh in?

Look past the smart graphics, and this VW is a puzzler. Most of the body appears to be from the 1965-and-later series, but the doors have the thicker posts of earlier Beetles. Perhaps the doors came from Brazil, where the older body style was retained through at least 1973.

Decklid vent pattern allows us to narrow the year of this Beetle to '70 or '71.

At least for Beetles sold in Europe and North America, the signal lamps moved to the front bumper in 1975.

Another puzzler, with turn signals in the bumper AND on the fenders. And here again, the doors appear to be lifted from a different body series.