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Showing posts from December, 2010

Happy Holiday

Here's a group of cheerful motorists, and why wouldn't they be? Their royal ride is a Super 88 Holiday hardtop model of the 1958 Oldsmobile, a car renowned as the "King of Chrome." Michael Roy photographed car and occupants near Havana.

More Isetta photos

An Isetta in Cuba: Ready for another 50 years

The last time I visited "Maynardo," I brought along schematics of BMW  Isetta innards, photos of various Isetta colour schemes, detailed lists of model changes and production numbers — anything I could find that might help him repair his German microcar.
But Maynardo, it turned out, was already familiar with every nut, bolt and lock washer on his 1950s Bubble Window Isetta 300. And the car that had looked so rough just months earlier now stood fully rehabbed with two-tone paint, chrome luggage rack and fresh knobby tires. No longer did starting it require blowing into the gas tank and touching together two wires; with a turn of the ignition key, the engine fired immediately and settled into a smooth idle.
Readers who saw my earlier photos have noted that this Isetta's single-cylinder engine did not look like the original BMW unit, and Maynardo confirmed that it is a Russian powerplant of some sort. Output is unknown, but probably more than the original's 13 horsepower.…

KrAZ: The King Kong of trucks

Imagine entering one of these babies in a Monster Truck event. Look out, Grave Digger and Bigfoot — the KrAZ is going to eat you!
Falling somewhere between an American Mack transport and a Russian battleship, the KrAZ comes from a factory that was built in Kremenchug, Ukraine, after the Second World War to produce bridges and farming equipment and, from 1959, heavy-duty trucks. Very heavy-duty.
I saw this KrAZ, a flatbed converted into a bus, plowing through Matanzas. Heard it, too. It looks like a KrAZ-257, from a series built from the mid-1960s well into the 1980s. Sister models included a tractor trailer (KrAZ-258), dump truck (KrAZ-256) and six-wheel-drive flatbed (KrAZ-255) built for military use and other off-road applications.
According to the SovAvto Catalog, the 257 weighs in, unloaded, at 11,500 kilograms, or more than 12 tons. Cargo capacity is 10,000 kg or 22,000 pounds. It has a dual-range five-speed transmission and 14.9-litre diesel V-8 engine rated at 215 horsepower in ea…