Thursday, January 6, 2011

The sweetest '55 in Cuba

   Maybe it's because we share a birth year, but I've always thought of the 1955 Chevrolet as the first car of the modern automotive era. Certainly, it merits landmark status for the eager small-block V-8 it introduced; descendants of that engine can be found all over, including under the hood of my 2009 pickup.
    But to me, it's the balance of the 55's proportions -- the roundness of its profile and the squareness of its stance -- that sets it apart. Look at it, and you see more of the cars that arrived later than those that came before.
For collectors, the '55 Chevy to have is the two-door Nomad station wagon, of which just 8,386 were built. But for my money (and I'd need a lot of it to buy one), the Bel Air convertible is nicer yet. Chevrolet made 41,292 of the ragtops, and you know every one was a smile-producer.
   Like this example parked at Juan Gualberto G√≥mez Airport. From bright grille to period-perfect Continental kit for the spare tire, this was a show-quality car. Notably, it remains in private ownership, unlike many of Cuba's best classic convertibles that now bear blue government plates and ferry tourists around Vedado.
   If there's a sweeter '55 on the island, I'd like to see it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written piece.

Anonymous said...

Ralphee at CUBANCLASSICS mentioned there might be a clandestine workshop in Cuba that specializes in restoring '55 to '57 Chevys.Could this be one of their examples?

Caristas said...

Good question! Add some better tires and wheels and realign that wonky side glass, and this car would be as nice as any you'd see crossing the block at Barrett-Jackson. It certainly could be a product of Ralphee's Secret Chevy Workshop. Thanks to both of you for your comments.