The only Porsche 911 in Cuba, Part III

    David and I walk to the backyard, where we're joined by the woman I met earlier and her husband, a compact, quiet man named Armando. If  Armando is surprised by my interest in his project, he doesn't show it. A curious young neighbour comes over, adding to the party as Armando pulls open the garage doors to reveal the car within.
    Seen for more than a moment, it's clear this Porsche never came off the Zuffenhausen assembly line. The wheelbase is too short for a 911, and the body proportions are wrong. This is especially revealed in the roof that falls back sharply from the windshield post. On a true 911, the roof slopes only gradually over the front seats.
    Armando is making this Porsche.
    Yet were I unfamiliar with the 911, I might never guess this car was not factory-built. The body needs more filling and sanding, but its line are ruler-straight, and its many curves beautifully executed. Armando proudly invites me to inspect the rear bumper fascia. I expect it to be plastic, but no, this complex piece is formed from metal.
    Under his bodywork is a donor rear-engine chassis, or perhaps parts of more than one chassis. Armando opens the louvered back deck lid. There's no engine yet, but the rear spring towers I see tell me this is no Volkswagen. But what is it? A Polski Fiat 126p? Plenty of those in Cuba.
    Armando is happy to show his car but less happy answering questions. Did he pattern it on photos from magazines? Yes. Is he a big fan of Porsches? I realize he's unfamiliar with the name. "He thinks it's a BMW," David confides.
    I take some more photos and offer a final "bueno!" to Armando, who smiles. It's time to bring my scooter back to the depot.
    By now Armando's car is probably on the road, perhaps zipping along the Via Blanca or flashing down a narrow street in Havana. And I can imagine a visitor seeing it for a moment and exclaiming  "A Porsche! A Porsche 911!"

A future Miss Cuba and her ride.


Ralphee said…
Your article leaves me stunned: who in the western world would build it's own Porsche from scratch, without any blueprints or original parts? And, on top of that, being convinced that he's building a BMW? Kudos to the determination and virtue of these cuban master craftsmen...

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